Service marks 200th year since Charles Dickens’ baptism

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THE 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ baptism was honoured with a reading over the same font he was blessed in.

A congregation gathered at St Alban’s Church, in Copnor Road, Portsmouth, for an annual service to mark the occasion.

SERVICE St Alban's Church in Copnor Road held a service to commemorate the baptism of Charles Dickens. Father John Mortiboys centre, conducts the service, and inset, the baptism record.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (120780-1)

SERVICE St Alban's Church in Copnor Road held a service to commemorate the baptism of Charles Dickens. Father John Mortiboys centre, conducts the service, and inset, the baptism record. Picture: Paul Jacobs (120780-1)

The church is home to the famous font which was used to baptise Dickens in Portsea Parish Church on March 4, 1812.

Every year fitting passages selected from the Bible and various publications are read at the lectern and around the font.

This year, Father John Mortiboys conducted the ceremony while members of the congregation read out excerpts from Dickens’ The Life of Our Lord.

The readings were performed by members of the Portsmouth-based Dickens Fellowship group.

SERVICE Charles Dickens' baptism record.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (120780-2)

SERVICE Charles Dickens' baptism record. Picture: Paul Jacobs (120780-2)

During the service, they read: ‘Remember – it is Christianity to do good always – even to those who do evil to us.

The font originally stood in Portsea Parish Church in Kingston from 1164 and survived until 1843, and eventually made its way to a new church in Copnor. It was consecrated in 1914 and was dedicated to St Alban.

Dickens was not the only famous figure to be baptised in the font.

Bridge engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel was baptised in the same font on November 1, 1806.