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Moses Fountain

Location: Hythe, Kent, England

The drinking fountain inset to a wall in Red Lion Square was donated in 1886 by Mayor Thomas Judge. It was originally installed next to the Town Hall on Stade Street in the wall of Dr. Fagge’s house which was later converted to a bank. When the bank was rebuilt in 1911 the fountain was relocated to Market Square (renamed Red Lion Square).

The fountain was cast by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th. century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved and winged edges. The top part of the shield, in the form of an ogee arch, contains a sculpture of winged cherubs resting upon clouds. Beneath the cherub is a legend, He Opened The Rock And / The Waters Gushed Out / They Ran In The Dry Places / Like A River / Psalm CV 41.

A recessed round arch contains the drinking well and the name of the sculptors, Wills Brothers Sculpt London. Water was dispersed into the basin via a spigot concealed behind a clam shell decoration situated in the interior of the arch. The foundry’s name is engraved on the edge of the basin, Coalbrookdale Co. Beneath the well is an engraving, Presented / To The Borough Of Hythe / By / Thos Judge Esq / Mayor / 1885.6.

Each side of the arch is decorated with reeds and foliage. On the left side is a robed male figure with long beard standing contrapposto. In his left hand is a rod resting on the cusp of the arch. This is a depiction of Moses striking the rock to release gushing water. On the right of the drinking well is the robed figure of a woman offering a basin of water to a naked child.

A recessed trough at ground level offered overflow water to dogs and small animals.

In 1965 public awareness of water related diseases prompted the removal of the metal cup by the Health Department and the supply of water being withdrawn.

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Glossary:

  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Ogee arch, an arch with a concave apex

 

Caldbeck Memorial Fountain

Location: The Square, Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland

19th century Portlaw claimed to be one of the best laid-out industrial villages in Ireland with wide streets radiating from a central square. In 1887, a drinking fountain was erected in Market Square outside the former Post Office in remembrance of William Robert Caldbeck, a local postmaster, weighing scales operator and shopkeeper, who died on 5th February 1887.

Circa 1887. Source: Facebook/Portlaw Heritage Centre

Circa 1887. Source: Facebook/Portlaw Heritage Centre

Although local information states that the fountain was cast in the Mayfield Foundry this is unlikely, as the structure is a customized design by Walter Macfarlane’s manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. It was probably shipped unassembled and constructed in the local foundry.

The fountain is constructed of font number 18, a wide base in the form of a Greek cross with canted corners. Four lion jambs support four elaborately decorated quatrefoil basins.

2005

2005

The fountain is constructed of font number 18, a wide base in the form of a Greek cross with canted corners. Four lion jambs support four elaborately decorated quatrefoil basins.

The stanchion and central column are decorated with acanthus and floral relief. The circular shaft (design number 32) offers two shields for dedications: Erected / by many friends / in memory of / William Robert Caldbeck /who died / 5th February / 1887, and four consoles from which drinking cups were suspended on chains.

Used with permission, Sean O’Brien. Source: http://www.portlaw.info/

The capital supports a single ringed column with a base of four griffin feet used as a transition piece to allow for the addition of lamp pillar number 6 with lantern number 220. Decorative yoke maintenance arms sit below a round globe originally lit by gas. The finial is a spike.

Used with permission, Sean O’Brien. Source: http://www.portlaw.info/

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship, and griffins represent guardians of priceless possessions.

The original location of the fountain was in the street outside the post office at Market Square. It was housed in a shallow circular recess trimmed with rope detail. The shallow recess served two purposes: to prevent water overflow from soaking the street, and to prevent accidental bumping of the structure by carts, bicycles, etc.

Circa 1887. Used with permission. National Library of Ireland

Circa 1887. Used with permission. National Library of Ireland

In 1990 the fountain was moved to the centre of the Square, renamed Malcolmson Square in 2005, (the Malcolmson family were the founders of Portlaw and the nearby cotton mill at Mayfield.)

National Inventory of Archictural Heritage. Source: http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=WA&regno=22803037

National Inventory of Archictural Heritage. Source: http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/

During restoration the pump mechanisms were found to be intact. The main part of the structure was installed in a circular pond in the Square in September 2009. It is seated on a Greek cross stone plinth to keep the cast iron structure above water level. A replacement lamp using electric light was installed in 2010 to complete the restoration.

Many thanks to Sean O’Brien who gave me valuable assistance.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Greek cross, a cross with arms of equal length
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of a street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

Market Square Fountain

 Location: Northampton, Northamptonshire, England

This is a lost fountain. The only part remaining is an engraved plaque which is retained at the Abington Museum: Presented to / the Mayor and / Corporation / in trust for the inhabitants / by Samuel Isaac / Captn. Commandt. / of the 5th Corps of / Northamptonshire / Rifle Volunteers / 1863.

The fountain was manufactured by the Eagle Foundry of Northampton. There is a historic tale that the owners and brothers, Edward and William Barwell, made two fountains. The second fountain sank during the voyage to Australia.

The fountain was erectedin 1863 at the south-side of the Market Square to commemorate the marriage of Prince Albert to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. It was no ordinary cast-iron fountain, 45 feet high and 19 feet wide with many of the enrichments cast in valuable bronze.

The structure was seated on an octagonal plinth with four steps leading to the base of the fountain which formed a St. Andrew’s cross. A decorative sculptured jamb was located on each corner. Drinking basins were located on the north and south sides and shields bearing inscriptions on the east and west sides. Emblems, masks, and shields containing the Borough’s coat of arms and the crest of Captain Samuel Isaac were visible on the lower parts of the structure.

Four tazzas with water fountains poured water into basins which then fell into masks and finally into the drinking fountain basin. The acroter supported a highly decorative ornamental column with a gilt globe lantern, 4 feet in diameter, surmounted by a Maltese cross.

In 1930 the Market Square fountain was renovated, and the globe lamp which had already been replaced by 1900 was replaced once again with four suspended lamps.

After being a much loved focal point of the Market Place for almost a century, the cast iron fountain was removed in 1962 due to repeated vandalism and the opinion that the structure was unsafe. This opinion was proven false when it took several days, six men, a crane and a blowtorch to remove it.

The stone steps remained and were used by market traders to stack their goods. In due time the steps and the cobbles in the square were also removed leaving no vestige of the fountain ever being there.

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Maltese cross, a cross with four arms of equal length, each arm in a “V” shape, and eight points
  • Mask, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face, or head, of a human being or an animal
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Tazza, A shallow saucer-like dish either mounted on a stem and foot, or on a foot alone.

 

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Image Sources

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nfhs/with/7716180100/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1444977242404160/photos/