Photograph taken by David Eastley
The church of St John the Evangelist stands in the centre of the town clearly visible for the whole length of the high street. Built in 1863, it was designed by Thomas Talbot Bury of London, a pupil and close friend of Pugin; the style adopted was Decorated Gothic.
Externally the brick structure is decorated with different coloured brick bands. Copings and window surrounds are in Bath stone as are the plinths, coins and arches. The perimeter churchyard wall is also listed as it is of ornate construction with brick pillars supporting the upper wall and weathered capping.
Internally, the walls have many coloured tile decorations around the windows and arches. The fixed pews and woodblock floors give a warmth and orderliness to the nave and choir stalls.
Later in 1889 the north aisle was added and the new vestry located in a neat extension on the north east corner, adjacent to the chancel. In 1887 the spire clock was added to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year.
More recently, in 1989, the parish added the two storey pastoral centre, toilets and a small church hall in the space that was originally the north aisle and vestry. The latter serves to accommodate the interests of the wider community groups, such as parent and toddlers groups, mothers union and drop in facilities for the homeless.
The church is central to the town’s community and it involves the wider community in and as a venue for school groups for carol services
The building is located in the St John’s Conservation Area and is Grade 2* listed. It has a number of beautiful stained glass windows some being designed by Walter Tower in the tradition of the Kempe School.
The pipe organ is of a Binns design and plays an important role in the music tradition of St Johns.
The PCC has, over the past 10 years, carried out significant restoration work to the fabric to ensure that this prominent building will serve many future generations.
The church is considered to be the town’s parish church where civic services are held. The church is central to the town’s community and it involves the wider community in and as a venue for school groups for carol services