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In 1930 the Market Square fountain was renovated, and the globe lamp which had already been replaced by 1900 was replaced once again with four suspended lamps.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

 

Edward VII Marriage Fountain