Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester

Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester

Coordinates: 51°43′04″N 1°58′04″W / 51.71778°N 1.96778°W / 51.71778; -1.96778

Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester

Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester

Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Broad Church
Dedication St John the Baptist
Parish Cirencester
Diocese Gloucester
Province Canterbury
Vicar(s) Rev'd Canon Leonard Doolan
Curate(s) Rev'd Dr Jan van der Lely
Organist/Director of music Dr Anthony Hammond

The Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester is a parish church in the Church of England in Cirencester.



The church is medieval.[1] It is renowned for its perpendicular porch, fan vaults and merchants' tombs.

The chancel is the oldest part of the church. Construction started around 1115. It was widened in about 1180. The east window dates from around 1300. The original stained glass of the east window has long since disappeared and it is now filled with fifteenth century glass from other parts of the church.

To the north of the chancel is St. Catherine's Chapel which dates from around 1150. It contains a wall painting of St. Christopher carrying the Christ Child, and vaulting given by Abbot John Hakebourne in 1508.

To the north of St. Catherine's Chapel is the Lady Chapel, first built in 1240 and extended in the 15th century.

The Trinity Chapel dates from 1430-1460 and was endowed for a priest of the nearby Abbey to say masses for the souls of Kings and Queens. It contains a squint which enabled the priest to synchronise the celebration of mass with that at the high altar.[2]

The nave was completely rebuilt between 1515 and 1530 and is a remarkable example of late perpendicular gothic architecture.[3]

The tower is fifteenth century and remarkable for the large butresses which shore it up at its junction with the nave.

The great south porch which adjoins the market place was built around 1500 at the expense of Alice Avening.

Parish status

The church is in the combined parish which includes:

  • Holy Trinity Church, Watermoor
  • St. Lawrence, Chesterton

Record of incumbents

  • Thomas Marshall 1558
  • Thomas Perpointe 1562
  • William Aldsworth 1574
  • Thomas Woodlande 1578
  • John Mortimer 1580
  • John Stone 1581
  • Philip Jones 1586
  • Henry Bishop 1587
  • Robert Butler 1592
  • Heymo Leigh 1594
  • Richard Dyer 1610
  • John Burgoyne 1616
  • Alexander Gregory 1632
  • Thomas Carles 1663
  • Jeremiah Gregory 1675
  • Joseph Harrison 1690
  • Samuel Johnson 1753
  • Martin Stafford Smith 1778
  • William Shippen Willes 1789
  • Henry Anthony Pye 1806
  • William Frederick Powell 1839
  • James Ogilvy Miller 1869
  • Henry Rudge Hayward 1881
  • John Stewart Sinclair 1898
  • William Aubrey Robins 1909
  • Lewis Westmacott 1922
  • Ronald Huntley Sutch 1941
  • Rowland Edward Hill 1962
  • John Arthur Lewis 1978
  • Hedley Sidney Ringrose 1988
  • Michael St. John-Channell 1999
  • Leonard Doolan 2008


The church possesses a pipe organ built by Father Willis in 1895 with a case by George Gilbert Scott.[4] It was renovated by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1955[5] and will be rebuilt by Harrison & Harrison in 2009.[6]


  1. ^ The Buildings of England, Gloucestershire Nikolaus Pevsner
  2. ^ Church guide. Free issue.
  3. ^ Cirencester Parish Church. Canon Rowland E. Hill.
  4. ^
  5. ^ National Pipe Organ Register
  6. ^ Harrison & Harrison

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