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Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Margate

Description: Parish Church of St John the Baptist

Grade: I
Date Listed: 10 April 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 356578

OS Grid Reference: TR3554370400
OS Grid Coordinates: 635543, 170400
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3837, 1.3837

Location: A255, Margate, Kent CT9 1DT

Locality: Margate
Local Authority: Thanet District Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: CT9 1DT

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Listing Text

878/5/64 HIGH STREET
10-APR-51 PARISH CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

I

A complex, multi-phase church. Part of the N aisle and the chancel arcades are mid C12, and the rest of the N aisle and the S aisle were added in the late C12 or early C13. The tower is C13 with a C14 spire. Early C16 NE treasury. Restored in 1875 to designs by Ewan Christian, and there was further work in the C20.

MATERIALS
Mainly knapped flint with some ragstone.

PLAN
Nine bay aisled nave and chancel without structural division, the chancel projects one bay beyond the aisles. NE treasury, NW tower, N and S porches.

EXTERIOR
A long and low church without structural division between nave and chancel, and a very tall tower, all heavily restored externally by Christian in the 1870s. Except for the NE treasury, the roofs are steeply pitched throughout, and there is no clerestory. Most of the tracery was renewed in the C19 by Christian, apparently in original openings. Both the E and W windows are Perpendicular in style. There are two C13 lancets in the S wall of the S chapel. The rest of the S windows are largely C14-style of two cusped lights, with a late C13-style geometric window west of the porch. The S porch was added in the C19 in a plain Gothic style. The N chancel windows are early C16 in style with depressed heads and three cusped lights; the other N windows are a mix of late C13 and C14 styles. The N porch has a gabled roof and two-centred opening. The N door is c.1300. The early C16 NE treasury is faced in coursed ragstone, and has a low-pitched roof with an embattled parapet. The three stage tower has narrow, trefoiled headed openings, heavily renewed, and a broach spire rebuilt by Christian in the C19 with one band of lucarnes high up.

INTERIOR
There is no chancel arch, and the length of the church is emphasised internally by the continuous nave and chancel arcades and by the roofs, which are also continuous throughout the building. The arcades date from the mid C12 to the very early C13, but the piers are not in a chronological progression and may be the result of a rebuilding after a fire or other disaster, such as the collapse of a former crossing tower. The E two bays of the N nave arcade are mid C12. The two-bay N and S chancel arcades and the NW end of the N nave arcade and the opposite bays on the S are late C12. The central bays on each side and the westernmost bay on the S are early C13, as is the entrance to the S tower. The W bay of the nave and S aisle have been enclosed with a glass screen, with a mezzanine above.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES
C13 piscina and sedilia in the chancel. Very good C15 font, polygonal and richly carved with the arms of England and the Cinque Ports on the bowl, and buttresses on the stem. The church was partly refurnished in 1936-8 in High Church fashion. Work of this date includes the screen, rood, pulpit and reredos. All are in a traditional Perpendicular Gothic-style with rich carving. The reredos has a crucifixion flanked by the six canonised archbishops of Canterbury; the pulpit has figures of saints in ogee niches. The altar in the S chapel has riddel posts with carved figures of angels. The church was reordered in the 1980s and has a nave altar on a low platform. Some good C19 and early C20 glass, including a War Memorial window in the N aisle.

Monuments include a large collection of brasses, including skeleton figure for Richard Notfelde, d. 1446. Also some good wall tablets, including Paul Cleybrooke and wife, d.1624, with a real helm on the top, and Sir Thomas Staines, d.1830, with a ship, signed Bacon and Manning, and a large collection of hatchments.

HISTORY
There was probably a church here by the mid C11. The church had reached its present size by c.1200, and its grand scale, considering that it was only a chapel of Minster until 1275, is probably attributable to the prosperity of this area in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The complex construction history of the nave arcades probably suggests rebuilding following a fire or partial collapse. The tower was built at the W end of the N aisle in the C13. The spire is probably C14 in origin. A treasury was added on the NE side of the chancel in the early C16. The church was refurnished in the C18 and had galleries, subsequently removed, to accommodate the town's growing population that date. The church was restored in 1875 to designs by the well known church architect Ewan Christian, and there was further work including refurnishing in the C20.

SOURCES
Buildings of England: North-East and East Kent (1976), 377-9

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The church of St John the Baptist, Margate, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Large, low parish church of the C12 and C13.
* Very long nave arcades of the C12 and C13, C12 chancel arcades.
* C13 tower with C14 spire.
* C16 treasury
* Interesting collection of C14 and C15 brasses.
* Wall tablets of the C16 to the C19.

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.