The holy water stoup was created by the artist Stephen Cox (see also entry for Anselm chapel) and installed in 2010 (Image 1). It stands by the first pillar inside the door of the south-west porch, so is the first thing most visitors see on entering the building. It commemorated the life of Canon Ferdie Phillips MC (Image 2) – his military decoration was won fighting with the army in Tunisia in 1943 and he served as honorary canon of Canterbury cathedral from 1966 to 1984, with a special role as cathedral Almoner. The stoup takes the form of a large oval basin stood upon an oval pedestal on a rectangular base. It is carved from the stone Hammamat Breccia (also known as Fouakir Breccia or Green Antique Egyptian Breccia). This is extracted from a remote Egyptian site recognised as the source of the earliest quarried decorative stone in the world – it lies between Luxor and the Red Sea.
What to see:
- a recently added symbol of welcome to the cathedral
- an impressive example of the earliest quarried decorative stone in the world
- the unusual green and gold flecks typical of this stone
- the first stoup to appear in the cathedral since the reformation
Sources: Canterbury Cathedral Chronicle 2011 (article by Stephen Cox); also Canterbury Cathedral press release 28 September 2010 (available through cathedral web site)