The foundation stone of the church of St. John the Evangelist, just 200 yards down the road from St. Andrew‘s, was laid on the 9th April 1859 by Elizabeth, wife of Sidney, 1st Lord Herbert of Lea, as a memorial of George Herbert.
A stylish Victorian church, built in the fashionable 13th Century Gothic manner, St. John‘s became the Parish Church, and is a popular venue for weddings. The architect was T.H.Wyatt.
Of particular note are the fine Reredos and Mural of mosaic and gesto, which was added in 1896.
The chancel carpet is over 100 years old, and was made by the Royal Wilton Carpet Factory.
The handsome brass lectern was presented to the church by Prime Minister Gladstone.
The Font is of stone and marble, and it is understood that part of the old font from St. Andrew‘s was used in the construction. The oak cover was presented by the choir in 1960 to mark the centenary of the building of the church.
Notable carvings are to be found on the pulpit and on the capitals – top of pillars. Those on the capitals are all different and were carved by William Howlitt.
On the West wall is a brass plaque, with an inscription in Latin and (below) in English, recording the dedication of the church in memory of George Herbert.
To God most High
In memory of His Servant
George Herbert A.M.
Of the ancient race of the Earls of Pembroke
A renowned poet – a chaste priest – a good citizen
Formerly Public Orator in the University of Cambridge
and Rector of the Parish
This Church as a monument to so excellent a man
Was erected by subscription
The East window, made by O‘Connor of London in 1860, is now partly obscured by the Reredos: there is an early Kemp window in the North aisle, damaged by vandalism: the South aisle window is in memory of Wellesley Pole Piggot, Rector for 53 years, in whose time the church was built. It shows the three Christian Virtues – ”Faith• gazes heavenward, holding a cross and a bible; ”Hope• leans upon an anchor; and ”Charity• carries one child and leads another.
The organ is a fine instrument, rebuilt from an earlier one in 1925. It had two manuals and 17 stops. It was rebuilt in 1965 by Rushworth and Draper, and again rebuilt in 1996 with the addition of an extra stop, and a completely new electronic action by Alan Goulding. It supports an enthusiastic mixed choir with a repertoire of both traditional and contemporary music, that has been affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music since 1929. – See Art & Music
The fine Reredos and Mural of mosaic and gesto was designed and made by Miss Nellie Warre, daughter of the then Rector. This is probably the same daughter who investigated the burial place of George Herbert.
The frieze is NOT symbolic of the garden of Eden, as is often thought, but rather of the Rectory Garden with its river and Medlar trees.