Snape Church, Long Scroll

Snape Church in Suffolk sits rather nonchalantly by a busy road and junction. Although in possession of a rood loft staircase, like that at Charsfield (readers can judge for themselves whether or not I climbed it), its real treasure is its font. This finely decorated object contains sculptures of the four signs of the Evangelists, kings and bishops, writhing snakes and other small beasts crawling, as well as seven figures all holding one long scroll. Dating to about 1500, it was probably plastered over by the reformers which saved it from destruction when the more ruthless puritans appeared 100 years later. 

Sadly, the wording on the scroll, if ever it existed, cannot be seen. It may be an allusion to the scroll with seven seals mentioned in Revelation chapter 5. Like the apostle John, I too am rather sad that that scroll could not be read. Unlike Snape’s, however, Christ the Lamb was present to take it and read it. Although its message is not conveyed, the 24 elders about the Lamb fall down to worship Him, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain,

And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

And have made us kings and priests to our God;

And we shall reign on the earth.” (NKJV)


I would be impressed if the pious font-makers of Snape had such knowledge of the scriptures. I do not particularly care for infant baptism, the practice for which this object was made, yet it is supposed to be the point at which children are welcomed into Christ’s kingdom, fulfilling the elders’ glorious song. Whether you are baptised by dipping or dunking, or not at all, there is a scroll in heaven which only Christ may read. I speculate that it is a roll call of the redeemed, a Shorter Lamb’s Book of Life. Whatever your language, nationality or race, Christ can save you. Is your name written up there, on that long list of sinners saved by grace? Or is it conspicuous by its absence, just a blank space, because you were too proud or busy to seek the Saviour?

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelation 3:5