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Description: Church of St John the Baptist
Date Listed: 14 January 1974
English Heritage Building ID: 144779
OS Grid Reference: SU4870129446
OS Grid Coordinates: 448701, 129446
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0623, -1.3064
869/7/220 ST JOHNS STREET
14-MAY-1974 (West side)
CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST
(Formerly listed as:
ST JOHNS STREET
ST JOHNS CHURCH)
Church, sited in the middle of the site of a C4 Romano-British cemetery. c.1200 arcades; late C13 phase; C14 and later woodwork; late medieval roofs.
MATERIALS: Flint with plain tile roofs and stone dressings, some Norman blocks in the E wall.
PLAN: Nave and chancel with N and S aisles; SW tower; S porch; N doorway; vestry extension of 1853 across W end of nave and N aisle with small extension of 2006.
EXTERIOR: The external walling is archaeologically complex. The E end presents 3 gables to the street with Perpendicular style windows to the chancel and aisles, and a decayed medieval Perpendicular statue niche. The N wall has a medieval chamfered doorway with a C21 porch canopy and blocked round-headed window to the W. Ad hoc N side with brick buttresses; one 3-light Perpendicular style window. The S wall is blind apart from one very large and spectacular late C13 window with an octafoil in the head and 2 pairs of cusped lights below, each with a quatrefoil in the head. The former rood loft stair turret is roofed in stone and has an unusual external doorway from the E. Blocked opening alongside stair turret to W. The S porch, probably late C19, is of knapped flint with a red brick S wall with stone banding and a gabled parapet. Squat unbuttressed 2-stage tower with an embattled parapet. This has a 3-light Perpendicular style W window, a blocked cusped one-light window on the S face and pairs of cusped belfry lights in square-headed frames. Perpendicular style W windows to nave and N aisle, above a flat-roofed vestry now covered in terne-coated stainless steel.
INTERIOR: There is no chancel arch. Richly-moulded 2-centred tower arch. C.1200 3-bay arcades with round piers, volute capitals and slightly pointed arches. Medieval tie-beam and crown-post roof to nave, the common rafter with ashlar pieces and straight braces to the collars. There is one tie beam to the nave, one against the E wall and one apparently marks the sanctuary. The N aisle roof is similar but wider, with 5 tie beams. The S aisle roof is similar with moulded tie beams. Medieval Perpendicular chancel screen with tall vertical lights, a shallow coved cornice and blind tracery applied to the wainscoting. Traces of original paint survive. Similar S aisle screen with plain vertical boards to the wainscot. The N aisle screen has feather-edged vertical boards to the wainscot, pierced with small quatrefoils and crosses, reputed to allow children to see the host elevated. The chancel includes the remains of a medieval piscina and sedilia. Hagioscopes into N and S chapels. The late C13 S side window has a moulded inner arch with slender shafts. C19 reredos in S chapel (moved from chancel) with carved stone figures under ogee arches. The parclose screens dividing chancel from aisles are probably C14, Decorated style, and a real rarity, being associated with integral benches. The screens have openings with substantial ogival cusped arches under a head beam, the arches carried on timber shafts with ring mouldings. The bases of the shafts are attached to the back rail of the benches, which although altered, include the evidence of stall partitions and preserve their shaped ends. The polygonal timber pulpit on later base, is also largely medieval with blind traceried panels with traces of ancient paint. On the N wall, the splays of blocked C13 lancets are decorated with high quality C13 wall paintings, including St Christopher and a devil's head. C19 pews removed in early C21 as part of re-ordering scheme. The blocked N door was opened in 2005 and revealed traces of medieval paintwork on the reveal and jamb. Perpendicular font with octagonal stone bowl with quatrefoils in roundels on an octagonal stem. Large chandelier dated 1791. Stained glass includes medieval fragments in E window. Stone paved floor to chancel with black tiles at the intersections, rustic mosaic floor to sanctuary. C21 Portland Blue stone paved floor to nave.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The church is outstanding for its wealth of medieval features of different dates, and overall impression of an evolved medieval church, complete with roof carpentry to 3 separate roofs, and medieval timber fittings. The C14 parclose screens with integral benches are a rare survival; the C13 wall paintings and late C13 window are of the first quality.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.