St John's Church, Glastonbury

Dave Godden

Maidstone, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

St John’s Church, Glastonbury, Somerset

The church is built of Doulting stone, Street stone, and the local Tor burr. There has been quite a bit of refacing done at various times, particularly on the south side. The magnificent tower rises to a height of 134½ feet (about 41 metres), and is the second tallest parish church tower in Somerset.

Tower West Face – click for enlargementIt is said to have been built by Abbot Selwood in 1475, and this is likely as it is much more richly adorned than the rest of the church. It has three stages; the lower one adorned with niches in some of which the figures of saints remain. The second stage has twin two light panelling, and the bell stage has two four light bell openings. Above this is the crown with projecting shafts and pinnacles. The whole of this crown was rebuilt in 1822 by Pinch of Bath to the original design whilst further small pinnacles were added in 1858 and 1901. The whole of the tower is encased in Doulting ashlar, which reflects the light, and the tower is seen at its best from a distance with the sun shining upon it.

The west doorway is large, flanked with niches and angels above, and in the spandrels are the lamb and flag and the eagle, symbols of St John the Baptist and of St John the Evangelist. The date 1901 on a shield of the angel above the door, commemorates a critical restoration carried out at that time. The tower was found to be in imminent danger of collapse owing to subsidence of its foundations. The north east corner was underpinned with a mass of tiles to a depth of twenty feet where they rested upon rock. In 1975 a new phase of restoration work began with the cleaning and renewing of the west face. Early in 1980 the Crown was restored and all its pinnacles replaced. The design of this tower is not a typical Somerset one, but more similar to those built in Gloucestershire at the time.

5 exposure HDR from single RAW file shot on a Canon EOS1000D and processed in PS8.

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