Bedford – St John the Baptist

Bedford - St John the Baptist

The parish church of St John the Baptist, Bedford is situated on the left hand side of the A6 south of the River Great Ouse leaving Bedford in a southerly direction. Built originally as the chapel of the Hospital of St John which was founded nearby in 1160, the architecture has suffered at the hands of Victorian restorers.

Patron Saint: St John the Baptist

Web Site: www.stjohnsandstleonards.org.uk


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Bedford - St John the Baptist. Chancel south side.

The church consists of a long chancel, nave, west tower with a vestry to the north. The chancel is almost 50 feet long by around 21 feet. The nave is unusually shorter and narrower than the chancel being around 49 feet and 16 feet wide. The tower is around 10 feet by 11 feet and around 60 feet high.

The nave is the earliest part of the church to which the chancel was added, probably in C14. The tower was added in C15. It is lit by six lancets, three each side from the time of the restorations.

The chancel is in two stages, the western end having two lancets in a similar style to those in the nave.

The south-eastern window is a modern two trefoiled light window with quatrefoil tracery above. Surrounding the chancel is a string course at varying levels.

Bedford - St John the Baptist. Chancel south-east window.
Bedford - St John the Baptist. East end.

The east window consists of a modern three lancet window set in the original two centred arch.

The vestry to the north is entirely modern.

Bedford - St John the Baptist. Vestry and north side from the north-east.
Bedford - St John the Baptist. Tower.

The embattled tower stands on a panelled base and is divided into three sections by string courses.

There is diagonal buttressing at the west end with angle buttresses at the east of the tower. There is a stair tower in the south-east corner entered from inside.

Bedford - St John the Baptist. West doorway.

The west doorway has been completely restored to form a four-centred arch inside a square head with floral moulding in the spandrel.

Above the door is a C15 window of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in the head.

Bedford - St John the Baptist. West window.

Above is a modern panel containing a carving of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) with another above containing a figure of St John the Baptist.

In the bell chamber there are four two cinquefoiled lights with quatrefoil mouldings above.

Bedford - St John the Baptist. Tower.