Hmm, that's wierd. You're right, it isn't in there. Odd because it was in my original. Wonder if one of the tools deleted it, or whether I did accidently in a fit of vi spasticness...
My older FC5 systems have this:
# Multiple FontPath entries are allowed (they are concatenated together)
# By default, a font server independent of the X server is
# used to render fonts.
Not sure I should have the font server stuff anymore, and wasn't sure about the fbdevhw, but that worked on previous distros, same hardware.
Soon as my fresh install finishes I'll fix up the config file on the install I was having trouble with and see if that fixes it all. Thanks very much for the suggestion, I am surprised I missed it as many times as I scanned the .conf file - but then that's how it goes I guess.