I have finally stumbled across something I knew I’d read once before, but had forgotten where I’d seen it, which is the instruction regarding the water in church fonts current in the 16th century Church of England.
In the rubrics of the 1549 baptism service it states that,
The water in the fonte shalbe chaunged every moneth once at the lest ...
Bear in mind that here (as in the 1552 and 1662 services), the norm is that the child should be dipped in the font, not simply have a splash of water poured on his or her head. Add to that, the child is not some robust one-year old, as is often the case today, but an infant born the previous week.
Now I don’t know how things are where you live, but in this part of the world, water that has been standing around for a moneth, or even a fortnighte, is pretty well stagnant.
Perhaps they were made of sterner stuff. But I cannot help hoping that some wise verger chose to change the water not just once a weke, but perhaps when it showed the least sign of turning greene.Please give a full name and location when posting. Comments without this information may be deleted.