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© Mr Hubert Smith

IoE Number: 436954
Photographer: Mr Hubert Smith
Date Photographed: 16 November 2006
Date listed: 09 December 1955
Date of last amendment: 09 December 1955
Grade I

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NEEDHAM MARKETHIGH STREET (EAST)TM 0855Church of St. John the3/122 Baptist

NEEDHAM MARKET HIGH STREET (EAST) TM 0855 Church of St. John the 3/122 Baptist 9.12.55 GV I Parish church, mainly rebuilt over the period c.1470-c.1500, but retaining some earlier fragments. Until 1901 a chapel of ease, the church is parallel to the High Street and aligned north-west/south-east. Nave, chancel, and south porch with bell-turret; there is no structural division between nave and chancel. Flint rubble with much flushed flint and limestone rubble; freestone dressings. Plaintiled roof; the upper nave roof is flat and leaded. At each bay is a large 3-light C15 window. Between each and at each corner is a flushwork-panelled buttress, those on the south side with a canopied niche whose image stool is supported by an angel. At the upper stage, is part of an inscription which reads in total: "Christ ihs have merci on us". A similar inscription is on a tablet high over the priests doorway. The latter has some reused moulded C13 stonework, but is mainly of late C15; the door bears carved arms including those of William Grey, Bishop of Ely 1458-1478. A mid- C14 window at the north-east corner suggests the survival of C13/C14 fabric at the east end. The fine hammerbeam roof over the nave is technically one of the most outstanding of its type in Suffolk. An illustrated report in Proc. Suff. Inst. Arch., Vol. XVII, Pt.2, 1920, shows that the lower half of the roof had been almost destroyed by a C18 coved ceiling. This was removed and the roof restored with new hammerbeams in 1880. The roof is in 6 bays, with long arch-braced hammerbeams emerging from a very deep C19 coved cornice. At the ends of the beams are tall posts with pendant bosses, linked at mid-height by cambered and arch-braced straining beams,and again at the head by arch- braced camber-beams supporting the flat roof. At one third height the posts are linked with the adjacent truss by slender C19 ties; and again at two- thirds height by heavier beams upon which stand the timber-framed clerestory. In each bay is a trefoil-headed clerestory window. The main beams are embattled and brattished, and the braces have richly-carved spandrels of foliate and floreate form. The use of hammerbeam construction in this way to give a clear span of 30 feet and to support a clerestory is considered by many authorities to be the culmination of C15 carpentry design in Suffolk. The chancel roof was rebuilt with arch-braced collar-beam trusses in 1880. The south doorway has moulded and shafted jambs and a square label over the arched head; a fine pair of moulded framed doors with vinescroll-carved panels. At the north doorway a similar pair of doors existed until c.1900. In the north wall is the roodloft staircase of c.1500; of the rood screen nothing remains. In 1883, the south porch was built on the site of an early C16 porch of red brick which bore the initials T.R. probably for Thomas Raven, clothier. Internal fittings are of late C19/C20

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