The Church

The Church, consecrated in 1403, is Perpendicular in style.  The original fabric of white sandstone can be seen on the north side, which is the oldest part of the church.  The north transept was added shortly afterwards as a chantry chapel, and the tower (replacing an original bell-cote) may have been built at the same time.  The chancel was extended eastwards and the south aisle added in red sandstone a little later (probably by 1440), since when there have been very few structural alterations.  The east end then abutted another building which existed at the time (hence the rough finish), thus blocking the way for medieval processions, which were not allowed to leave consecrated ground.  A subway was therefore constructed under the chancel, weakening the south east corner, which had to be supported by a substantial buttress in 1745.  The subway (presumably filled in at the same time) is marked by two bricked up archways on either side of the chancel at ground level.  It was opened up in 1912, but nothing of interest was found.  The view of the church from the south is particularly attractive, the mixture of red and white stone giving a pleasing effect.  

The interior was extensively restored in 1860, but retains many early features.  The font (at the west end of the north aisle) is almost certainly original, and two dug-out chests (thought to be over 800 years old) have probably been in the church since it was built.  In front of the chancel steps (under the carpet) is a circular stone, believed to mark the tomb of Walter Cook.  His chantry chapel in the north transept, dedicated as a war memorial in 1921, is now known as the Soldiers' Chapel.  The rood screen dates from about 1480 and is a fine example of medieval craftsmanship.  Just east of the screen are the original piscina and sedilia, which fell into disuse when the chancel was extended.  Another set further east (added when the chancel was enlarged) was left stranded high up on the wall when the sanctuary floor was lowered.  In the rear choir stalls are some medieval carved misericords, which are probably not in their original position.  Modern features of the interior include the pews (1860), the stained glass (19th/20th cent.) and the pulpit (1929).  In the tower are eight bells, last recast in 1979.

Further information can be found in the church and details of services, etc. are on the notice board outside the west door.  The Parish Office and a new church hall, opened in 1995, are approached through an attractive courtyard at the rear of the Guild House.

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Above: the church from the south, 1983

Right: St. John’s Hall, opened in 1995.

Above: the church and Guild House, c. 1870.  Note the lack of trees.  At this point the Guild House was a private house.

Right: the church interior shortly after it was restored in 1860.