Church of the Month

Categories: Church of the Month

The featured church for July 2019 is the church of St John the Evangelist, in Mansfield.

Between 1854 and 1856 St John the Evangelist, Mansfield, was built with funds donated by Henry Gally Knight (1786–1846), who left £6,000 to the church in his will. The parishioners raised an additional £1,000 and the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Lincoln on 6 January 1855.

The architect, H. I. Stevens, designed the church in the Early Decorated style, with a nave, chancel, two side aisles, and an 80 foot embattled tower with a 100 foot spire. It was built by Charles Lindley of Mansfield in 1855-6.

The building consists of chancel, nave with clerestory and north and south aisles, north and south porches, vestry to the north-east, and west tower is ‘surmounted by a recessed and slender broad-spire’ and has a ‘south-west staircase, emphasised externally, and surmounted by a small stone spirelet’. It is all of one build with the exception of the north porch which was added in 1906.

According to an architectural historian ‘the style chosen by Stevens was a mixture of late Early English and Decorated elements where a lavish show of tracery and stone carving could be used.’

The carved oak High Altar and communion rails form a memorial to the parishioners who died in the First World War and was designed and made by Messrs. Jones and Willis, of Birmingham.

The traceried panelled square font is made from Mansfield stone and was presented by Messers. Lindley and Son of Mansfield, who built the church.

There are ten stained glass windows. The east window (1870) by Ward and Hughes depicts scenes from the life of Our Lord and is in memory of Henry Gally Knight. Others are by William Holland of Warwick and Pope & Parr of Nottingham and date from the 1850s to the early 1960s.

Pevsner (1979) describes it as ‘an expensive-looking church’ and thought the detail good, ‘especially the broad flowing tracery’ of the east window.

Further information on the church is available from the Southwell and Nottingham Church History Project website.