Church of St John the Baptist, Inglesham, Wiltshire

Address:
Inglesham, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN6 7RD
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Opening times:
Open daily
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An ancient painted wonder saved by William Morris

This exquisitely beautiful and fascinating thirteenth-century church stands on a gentle rise of land above waterside meadows near the Thames, only a stone's throw from the Thames, and just off the Ridgeway Path it is a frequent stopping point for walkers.

Pioneering Victorian designer William Morris - who lived at nearby Kelmscott - oversaw St John's restoration in the nineteenth century, ensuring it kept its original medieval identity.

An amazing series of paintings, from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century, cover the walls often with one painted over another, in places seven layers thick. While it is not always easy to puzzle out the subjects, you can see fifteenth-century angels above the chancel arch, an early fourteenth-century doom on the east wall of the north aisle, and several nineteenth-century texts, as well as a thirteenth-century masonry pattern throughout the chancel.

There is an unusual and powerful Saxon stone carving of the Madonna and Child is set in the south wall. The woodwork of the roofs, the fifteenth-century screens and the seventeenth and eighteenth-century pulpit and box pews are all original to the church, and their arrangement is still much as it would have been in Oliver Cromwell's time.

Nearby Lechlade has some lovely places to stop for lunch or a cup of tea.