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Celebrations for the font used to baptise in reign of Henry VIII

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: June 11, 2014

  • Mayfield Church celebrated the 500-year anniversary of the using the same font. Those who have previously been baptised at the church, gathered to celebrate this milestone. Pictured above are Rev Ray Owen and Bishop Rt Rev Geoff Annas, standing next to the font.

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A CHURCH near Ashbourne has celebrated 500 years of using its font in baptisms.

The thanksgiving service was held at St John the Baptist Church, Mayfield.

It was hosted by the Rev Ray Owen, with the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Rev Geoff Annas, rededicating the font.

Mr Owen said: "It's hard to imagine that our font was first used just five years after King Henry VIII came to the throne and has christened babies, children and adults in Mayfield ever since."

More than 150 people attended the ceremony, which also featured displays of christening gowns throughout the ages.

It was a double celebration as baby Matthew George Cotton was also baptised at the service.

The 11-month-old's parents, Mark and Kelly Cotton, live in Mayfield.

Kelly said: "We were thrilled when the vicar asked us if we wanted to take part in today's special ceremony.

"I have lived here all my life and I was also christened here at this very same church, so it's a real privilege for the family."

Mr Owen said: "It's been an historic occasion for the people of Mayfield.

"We're so pleased to have welcomed so many people here today to share in the celebrations and to enjoy the exhibition of christening robes and photographs.

"Our registers are looked after in Stafford, so to have them on display in church has been fascinating. Many people have come to find their own record of baptism, or those of friends and family.

"We were particularly delighted to welcome the bishop to join our celebrations and for him to rededicate the font."

The church's history can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086, which recorded a priest in Mayfield – or Medevelde, to give it its old name. He was one of just 25 priests in the whole of Staffordshire.

The old Saxon church was replaced with a Norman stone building during the reign of Henry I. It was a simple rectangular construction with no aisles, built under the direction of Tutbury Priory.

The last extension to the church was in 1854, and was masterminded by the Rev Talbot Aden Ley Greaves to provide extra seating.

The church bells were re-hung in 1902, with three new bells added to make the total six, and the tower clock was installed in 1947.

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