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Description: Parish Church of St John the Baptist
Date Listed: 29 January 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 201180
OS Grid Reference: TQ3193665440
OS Grid Coordinates: 531936, 165440
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3727, -0.1059
1005/2/45 CHURCH STREET
Parish Church of St John the Baptist
Parish Church. Large C15 church, built at the expense of the archbishops of Canterbury (whose Old Palace adjoins) severely damaged by fire in 1867 but retaining South porch with parvise, West Tower and nave walls, the remainder rebuilt on the previous foundations by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1870 in Perpendicular style but extended 18 feet eastwards and with new vestry. The tower was restored 1892-3 with extended pinnacles of 1915. Much internal decoration of 1880s and 1890s and tower screen by J Oldrid Scott. Flint with ashlar dressings and slate roof. Six bay nave (originally five) with north and south aisles with chapels, south porch with parvise, west tower, north porch, three bay chancel and south east vestry. Four stage west tower with buttresses, octagonal turret, crenellated parapet and pinnacles heightened in 1915. Nave is also crenellated with clerestorey with three-light arched windows and similar but taller arched windows with transoms to aisles separated by flint and stone buttresses. Similar windows to chancel. South porch is of two storeys with crenellated parapet, simple lancet windows and arched doorcase. Smaller gabled north porch of c1870.
INTERIOR: South porch has Mediaeval rib vaulting with stone corbel heads and spiral staircase to upper floor. Tower has lierne vault and elaborate wooden screen, a First World War memorial by J Oldrid Scott. Brass floor plaque. Nave has arcade piers with four shafts and four hollows with moulded arches. Ceiled roof with tiebeams on braces with traceried spandrels. North side of clerestory retains c1870 green and white glass. C19 pews. Centre of floor retains red and black tiles and metal grilles. C19 stone and wooden octagonal pulpit by Thompson of Peterborough. North aisle has late C15 tomb recess, double piscina and aumbry with piscina basin inserted. Neo-Classical wall tablet to John Singleton Copley R A d. 1815. South aisle has C19 Perpendicular style alabaster font with very tall Flamboyant wooden Gothic cover. Tomb chest to Hugh Warham ( brother of the Archbishop) c1536-8, a canted recess with three ogee headed niches, quatrefoil decoration to chest and carved hatchments above. Tomb of Archbishop Sheldon (builder of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford) c1677 by Jasper Latham, complete except for arch, depicting a semi-reclining figure with emblems of mortality below and large cartouche above. St Nicholas Chapel has tomb to Archbishop Whitgift. Large alabaster wall tomb with recumbant effigy in prayer lying on aconvex gadrooned sarcophagus decorated with strapwork. Arched background with allegorical figures in the spandrels, putti flanking central inscription plate, Composite columns topped by obelisks and three enriched shields. Whitgift was a major local benefactor who founded almshouses of 1596. Chancel arch contains brasses to Gabriel Silvester d.1512 and to William Heron d.1562 and wife. Organ loft has Hill organ with pipes and oak case decorated by J Oldrid Scott. Chancel has carved, painted and gilded barrel-vaulted ceiling with standing angel corbels bearing musical instruments. Elaborate screen of 1895 with iron gates and floor of grey marble and Minton tiles. Very elaborate choir stalls with carved bench ends. Sanctuary has green Minton tiles, carved wooden screen, alabaster reredos with much gilding, east window by Clayton and Bell, triple sedilia with ogee arches and stoup, painting of angels over arched door to vestry and wall of c1885 to north east depicting the "Feeding of the Five Thousand". Vestry has chamfered ceiling, stone four-centred arched fireplace and two wall safes.
["Buildings of England. London : South" pp 208-9.]
Listing NGR: TQ3193265441
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.