Church of St John the Baptist, Inglesham, Wiltshire

Address:
Inglesham, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN6 7RD
How to find us | Access information
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 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.

You can access a free online audio guide to the church here

This church costs £2,200 a year to maintain. Please make a donation towards its upkeep: http://bit.ly/31Vj601

Comment

  • Access information
    From car park at end of the lane, the only access onto the raised churchyard is up 5 steps, then 2 steps down to the south porch, which has q very worn and uneven flagstone floor.
  • Facilities & Hire
    Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number have heating, running water or toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor. 
  • Directions
    1 mile south of Lechlade, off A361
  • Transport
    Nearest railway station: Swindon (8.9 miles)
  • History & Further Information

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

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

    Wiltshire County Guide

    This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches we care for in Wiltshire. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.

    Download a copy of the church guidebook

    You can access a free online audio guide to the church here

  • Community information

    The church suffered a devastating theft of lead roofing in 2017. Within 24 hours of discovering the loss CCT had put a temporary roof covering in place (paid for by CCTs emergency fund) to protect the interior of the church, but unfortunately some water damage to the interior walls had already occurred.

    At a later date the North and South aisle roofs were covered 3 layers of mineral felt at a cost of £8700 thanks to two generous private donations. This roof has a 10 year maximum lifespan.

    The majority of the staining resulting from the leaks from the temporary plastic roof on the internal walls has been removed but some staining over wallpaintings has been left in situ as this could not be removed without removing/ damaging the historic paint beneath.

    The staining on the Anglo Saxon Madonna and child sculpture has been removed.

    We now need to raise £366,000 to replace the roof, remove staining and work with the community to make other improvements to the church. Please contact Local Community Officer Ed Mcgregor on [email protected], if you would like to contribute towards this.

    All our Wiltshire churches are in our West region.

    Useful local links

    This church costs £2,200 a year  to maintain. Please make a donation towards its upkeep: http://bit.ly/31Vj601