|Holy water stoup. A bowl, often set
in the wall, found at each entrance to a Catholic church.
It is filled with holy water, enabling those entering the
church to make the sign of the cross as a way of
affirming their baptism. Not
to be confused with piscinas,
which have drains.
All medieval churches had holy water stoups, but they were either destroyed or filled in at the Reformation. Some have since been uncovered; fine examples can be seen at Blundeston and Bures, and another lovely one is at Offton. A few have been pressed back into service by enthusiastic Anglo-catholics, as at Ipswich St Mary Elms and Ufford. Some apparently medieval stoups are, in fact, old mortars, as at Hollesley.