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© Mr Keith Forrest

IoE Number: 373825
Photographer: Mr Keith Forrest
Date Photographed: 26 January 2003
Date listed: 16 December 1974
Date of last amendment: 16 December 1974
Grade II*

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BRIDGWATERST3037BLAKE PLACE, Eastover736-1/6/9(North side)

BRIDGWATER ST3037 BLAKE PLACE, Eastover 736-1/6/9 (North side) 16/12/74 Church of St John the Baptist II* Church. 1843. By John Brown, surveyor of Norwich Cathedral. Ashlar with slate roofs. 6 bays to the nave which is without aisles, a narrow 3-bay chancel and hexagonal vestry to north-east. Early English style. Buttresses are set-back, off-set and gabled; surrounding the building are plinths to the base and at cill level, a corbel table and casement moulding to a string course below the parapet which has pitched coping. Lancet windows have pointed arches in chamfered stepped architraves under hoodmoulds with ornamental stops. The east end is gabled with a cross as a finial over a 3-light window with narrow casement moulding to the outer edge and engaged colonettes with round caps; the central light is stilted. To the north of the chancel a hexagonal vestry with a pyramidal roof and similar but smaller features to the church. The planked door to the north-east has elaborate strap hinges. The tower to the west is in 4 stages, built, according to Pevsner, to support a spire. Massive set-back buttresses occupy much of the wall space. It has a plain base, a single-light window above the cill plinth, a pointed-arched corbel table under a string course at the base of the third stage which has a colonnade of 7 engaged colonettes. Paired belfry arches to all sides have cinquefoil heads, 2 colonettes to each side and 3 to the centres. Above them another corbel table supports octagonal spirelets to the corners; they have pyramidal roofs and colonettes to an encircling arcade. The west door is narrow between the buttresses, double doors with one mock ornamental strap hinge to imply that it is one door, the pointed arch over it has 3 colonettes and casement moulding in which is one row of dog-tooth moulding. The single-storey south porch is tall, reaching to the corbel table of the main block; gabled similar to the east end, a wide door with ornamental hinges has a smaller door cut into it. INTERIOR: 2 trusses of the hammer-beam roof in the chancel have angel stops, 2 carrying crosses and carrying crowns; in the chancel, the chamfered rafters and the boarding behind are painted. The stained glass east window with 3 lights, by Douglas Forsyth of 1916. The painted and gilded reredos below has 7 gables with trefoils over pointed arches supported by engaged colonettes with gilded foliate capitals. The sedilia to the right is of similar design, painted white; high up to the left is a similar frame to 3 memorial plaques. The richly-patterned polychromatic tiled floor has 3 full-width stone steps up to the choir and 2 black marble steps to the altar. The organ is corbelled out to the front left of the chancel, to right of it a window with small pierced tracery with a pointed-arched door below. The 5-bay nave has a dark-stained hammer-beam roof supported on large polygonal corbels, the windows have original richly-coloured geometric-patterned stain glass in chamfered architraves, hoodmoulds with foliate stops and round capitals to engaged colonettes. The full-height south porch has painted chamfered rafters under a painted planked ceiling. Over the west door leading to the base of the tower, is a double hoodmould, both with foliate stops, over a shallow pointed arch, the planked door has elaborately scrolled hinges. The hexagonal pulpit to the left has pointed arches to each facet with foliate stops to hood moulds over trefoil-headed recesses; the corners have concave moulding with bosses to the base; it was painted and gilded in 1954. The font, to the front right of the nave, is octagonal; supported on 8 short columns beneath a wreath of gilded leaves, corbelled out to a trefoil-arcaded top; the cover is a plain oak shallow cone. The upper part of the west end of the nave has a 1991 church room enclosed within it. This church is an early example of Brown's more Ecclesiologically correct work and was built in a poor and rapidly expanding area of the town at a cost of »10,000 under the patronage of the Rev J M Capes. The new parish of St John the Baptist was created in 1846. An early and competent example of a church embodying the principles of the Oxford Movement, complete with much of its original stained glass. (The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: South and West Somerset: London: 1958-: 96; Kelly's Directory: London: 1910-: 138; Colvin H: A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1660-1840: London: 1978-: 145; VCH: Somerset: London: 1992-: 234).

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