St John the Baptist
The restored organ
The church's woodwork is magnificent
The restored interior (part of a previous restoration funded by OHCT)
Installation of Pipe Organ thanks to OHCT grant of £4,000
The church recently received a grant from OHCT towards the installation of a restored, enhanced and recased Walker pipe organ. A record number of villagers attended the debut performance of the organ at a carol service on December 16th. This grant represents the final element of a major (but necessary) restoration of this beautiful 12th century church.
The earlier major £400,000 restoration received funding from OHCT, the Heritage Lottery Fund and 20 other local and national grant providers. This involved repairing and strengthening the walls and timbers, re-roofing the chancel and porch, replacing the external render, removing trees, conserving the 14th century wall paintings, installing new heating and lighting, reordering the seating and flooring, redecorating the interior and restoring the 15th-19th century woodwork. The project featured in the national media, the Heritage Lottery Fund’s review of its Listed Places of Worship grants scheme, a webinar for the Institute of Fundraising and the Taylor Review into how to sustain England’s 16,000 churches and cathedrals.
St John the Baptist Church (Grade II* listed) dates back to the 12th century, and was allegedly founded in response to pagan worship on nearby White Horse Hill. The church is small and without aisles, retaining its 12th century nave and chancel. Unusually, its interior was left largely untouched by the Victorians, and as a result it boasts rare 14th century wall paintings depicting Peter, Paul, Herod and Salomé (with the Baptist’s head on a platter), beautiful medieval stained glass, and exceptional 15th to 17th century woodwork, including fine bench ends, panelling, pulpit and rood screen.