Church of St John the Evangelist, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Address: 23 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JD
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Open Tuesdays - Saturdays, 11.00am - 3.00pm
Keyholder information, accessibility and facilities

The oldest church in Leeds

St John’s is the oldest church in Leeds city centre. It was built in 1632-34, a turbulent time in England when very few new churches were constructed. The glory of the church lies in its magnificent Jacobean (Carolian) fittings, particularly the superb carved wooden screen.

Every part of the screen is richly decorated with flowers (including tulips), hearts, twisting vines, and grotesque heads of humans and animals.There is more lovely carving on the wall panels, pews and pulpit. Brightly painted angels play instruments in the roof and look down on wonderful carved pews below.

The church building was entirely funded by wealthy merchant and Royalist John Harrison who also paid for the grammar school and almshouses nearby. Harrison'’s benevolent spirit still pervades the church – he is buried near the altar, and a series of stained-glass windows depicts his good works. One of the windows shows an apocryphal tale in which Harrison presents King Charles, imprisoned in Leeds, with a tankard of gold coins disguised as a draught of ale.

Other monuments around the church commemorate the citizens of Leeds throughout the centuries, and emphasise the importance of the wool industry to the city’'s prosperity.

In the mid-19th century, the parish wanted to demolish the building and rebuild a more convenient modern church. The young architect Norman Shaw led an outcry against this, joined by the eminent architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. Happily, they prevailed and Shaw was responsible for the ensuing restoration, very much in the original style of the building.

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How to find us

To locate this church on a map, click on the 'View on map' link that appears below the address information at the top of the page.

Road directions

In Mark Lane, off New Briggate in central Leeds

Public transport information

Nearest railway station: Leeds (1 mile). Bus route numbers 12/13/13A/770/781.

OS Reference No.

SE 302 338

What’s on & news

What’s on

04/08/14 - 04/08/15 
WWI: Inscriptions and Stories

News

16/07/14 Wendy Leaney impressed the judges with her skillfully sculpted creation made out of homemade lime and elderflower cordial

See more events and news

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Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

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What’s on at this church

The list below provides brief summaries of events coming up at this church. You can find out more about each event by clicking on individual event titles in the summary list.

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Image gallery

Click on images to view larger

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Useful information

Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church and the CCT before you visit?

You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walkround guides we have for this church.

 

 

 

PDF iconYorkshire County Guide (PDF, 4.9mb)

This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches CCT cares for in North, South and West Yorkshire. Printed copies of the county guides are also available at the church.

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Have you visited this church?

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Comments

  1. Frances Huntley (13 Jun 2012, 09:55)

    I have lived in Leeds for many years and often walked through the churchyard of St John's Church but not stopped by to look inside.
    It is stunning and well worth a few minutes of your time!
    The carvings of little statues up in the rafters are wonderful - I couldn't stop looking up! - and the carved pews and alter area are also beautiful.

    I fully intend to visit more of the region's historic churches now. It's great to see them being preserved for future generations in this way.

  2. a.e.hainsworth (12 Mar 2013, 15:50)

    I have visited this church in Leeds. St Johns is beautiful and I am so glad it has bbeen preserved, so future generations can see the craftman shup within its walls.

  3. nancy (03 Jul 2013, 09:53)

    you are right frances huntley

  4. Gayda Jackson (19 Nov 2013, 16:18)

    I live in Toronto now, but am originally from Leeds and return home every summer to visit my sister. I've always been aware of St Johns, but until this year had never really thought about looking inside. It was the author Chris Nickson who suggested I do. What a beautiful little church it is. There's so much to see that I plan on popping in again on my next visit. I found the story of John Harrison very interesting and was shocked to learn that it could so easily have been demolished in the 19th century. Do yourself a favour the next time you are in the area and walk through it's doors.

  5. Ian Beckett (07 Jan 2014, 01:46)

    Hi
    My name is Ian Beckett, I live in Australia and I have been researching the Beckett family of West Yorkshire for years.
    I am seeking to ascertain the burial place of Sir John Beckett 1st Baronet of Leeds who was buried on 23rd September 1826 in the family tomb at St Johns in Leeds.
    I have located a number of churches by the name of St John but as yet I have not located his burial place.
    I hope you may have some records of his burial.
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. I am happy to pay for any reasonable costs involved.
    Regards
    Ian

  6. Sharon Donaldson (09 Feb 2014, 11:23)

    Church of St John the Evangelist Leeds
    Hi I'm researching Roundhay St John's Church, Wetherby Road and have come across an article written by Colin Brigg which claims that an organ was given to your Church in about 1855.
    Do you know if this is correct and do you have any photographs or information about it.
    I live in Leeds and would be able to visit if you have any information that you would be willing to share.
    I am currently working on the Oakwood Church on Springwood road web page history. now that two churches have joined we are trying to put together as much of the history of both churches that we can find.

    Regards

    Sharon Donaldson

  7. Sandra Bull (23 Feb 2014, 18:54)

    I visited this Church last year.

    It is absolutely beautiful and has been restored very well. I would recommend any lover of art or anyone who loves beautiful objects to make the trip to Leeds. There are plenty of things to see and do in Leeds and you will not be disappointed.

    Thankyou to all concerned for enriching me.

  8. J. Blackburn (04 Mar 2014, 22:10)

    Found the church by chance when we visited Leeds. Were amazed by the building with the wonderful carving and stained glass windows.
    We want to bring a U3A group to visit but there is no specific information about access - is it open as indicated or do we need to find a keyholder as the click on button suggests? Is there anyone available to give a short talk as the young man we saw on our visit suggested? How do we get in touch with the local volunteers?

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Church of St John the Evangelist, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Keyholder

If the access information for this church is listed as 'Keyholder nearby', this means that the key is kept by one of our invaluable volunteer 'keyholders', who usually live just a short walk from the church and can give visitors the key; sometimes this is a nearby hotel, pub, library, art gallery or other venue. You will find instructions explaining how to get the key when you arrive at the church.

Disabled access

Wheelchair users may need assistance accessing the church.

Facilities

Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number of them have heating or running water meaning that they can be cold, and very rarely have toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor. We do apologise for any inconvenience the lack of facilities may cause.