© Mr Keith Forrest
CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, BLAKE PLACE (north side)
BRIDGWATER, SEDGEMOOR, SOMERSET
Mr Keith Forrest
26 January 2003
16 December 1974
Date of last amendment:
16 December 1974
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ST3037 BLAKE PLACE, Eastover
736-1/6/9 (North side)
16/12/74 Church of St John the Baptist
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
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
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
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-: