Stamford, St John's Church
Stamford, St John's Church
The historic church of St John's in Stamford was founded sometime in the 12th century, and may have originally belonged to the Abbey of St Fromond in Normandy. The church was almost completely rebuilt in 1451, so that today it represents an uncluttered example of Perpendicular Gothic style.

This beautiful church is an indication of the wealth of the local wool merchants in the late medieval period. We are fortunate that the church is so complete, for just 10 years after the 1451 rebuilding the town of Stamford was heavily damaged by Lancastrian soldiers during the Wars of the Roses. Luckily the church escaped unscathed.

The pinnacled church tower is easily viewed from Stamford High Street, though the church is a little overwhelmed by surrounding shops.

One of the best features of this spacious church is the carved roof of the nave, featuring a collection of 15th century angel bosses. Each angel is unique and holds a different item in its hands. For example, one angel holds a spear, another is ringing a pair of bells. The roof timbers rest on grotesque and humourous carved stone corbel heads.

Another feature are the beautifully carved wooden benches, designed by Edward Browning for a mid-Victorian restoration in High Church style. Most of the stained glass is Victorian, including windows by the famous London firm of Clayton and Bell.

There are very fine monuments from the Georgian through the Victorian period, and the windows retain some glass panels from the 1451 rebuilding. There is an octagonal 15th century font with a 17th century wooden cover. The oldest memorial is a brass dated 1489. There are four bells, three of which date to the 16th century. The oldest was cast in 1550.

The church is no longer used for regular worship and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It is normally open daily to visitors.