St. John the Baptist Church

The Church is located in Ditton Priors near Bridgnorth in Shropshire, England.

It’s very difficult to prove the actual date that the church was built. What is known is that 1175 Hugh de Perrier arranged that he should be buried as a monk in Wenlock Priory and that in return the manor of Ditton priors should, at the death of his widow, belong to the Priory.

It would seem probable that the monks would see to it that a stone church be built as soon as possible, and certainly the present building can be traced back to the late 12th century.  The vicar at the time of the building is recorded as Nicholas de Hampton and as he was not a nominee of the monks of Wenlock he would not have founded the church, and is misleadingly noted in some Victorian writings of the inscription on the left pillar at the main doorway.

The church building in general 

The walls are of Clee hill Dhustone, with sandstone edging around the windows and doorways, as well as the corners. The thick walls of rubble filled as was the practice at that time.

The plan consists of a long chancel with a modern (19th century) vestry, a nave with a four-bay Arcade dividing it from the south Aisle, a western tower with a broached Spire, and a south porch.  The Dhurstone (or Ragstone) is a very dark in colour and is very hard to trim so that all walls of rough finish. When this stone is split it is almost black in colour whereas and unworked piece tends to be affected by lichen and have a greenish tinge.

The church was originally dedicated to St. Mary the virgin but in 1831 was recorded as St.  John the Baptist. The reason for this change is not known.

The chancel 

In the 13th century the church was greatly and last by the addition of a chancel and south I will. Alterations occurred in the 16th century and again in the 19 century.

The east wall has three narrow lancet windows windows which were rebuilt at the Victorian restoration in the late 19 century, as were the two windows in the north wall.

The vestry was also added at this time replacing one which was further east. The outline of a doorway can be seen.

At the east end of the south wall is a window consisting of three lancets under one broad flatten head arch. This is early English (13th century) but later than the chancel.

Another window for the Westin that is an example of a 15th Century window with the three Cinquefoil headed lights under a debased arch. Between these windows is a blocked in priests door, which can be seen best from the outside.

In the south wall at the east end is a 13th century piscina with a projecting bowl. This has a trefoil arch and the upper portion has been adapted as an aumbry. The hinge of the wooden door cuts into the early English roll moulding.

On the north wall is a tablet with a misleading inscription in Latin stating that the church was founded circa 1286 by Nicholas de Hampton.  As has been stated in the introduction, the priest was the vicar in 1186. In scription also mentions the restoration in 1872 by the Reverend James Wilkinson.

On the floor under the choir Keynes on the north side is a cast iron memorial plaque dated 1688 and 1707 and a skull and cross bone  Stone memorial circa 1700.

Open tin the roof is carried on for high collar trusses with a moulded purlin to each slope.  The common rafters are all so stiff and with collars and with curved struts and ashlars, the whole giving a barrel roof affect.

The screen is of perpendicular period (16th century) and is of carved oak. It consists of a series of vertical moulded bars with a horizontal moulded beam at the top, and the lower half, on each side of the doorway, and is panelled from about 4 feet up.  In the head of each of the inner divisions are two circles which  have double foliated cusping inside, and an ogee curve formed under the circles also has foliated cusps.  Between each of the major vertical ribs of the lower half is a minor rib. The horizontal cornice which forms the top of this closed lower part is formed of quarterfoils set in circles, and these form part of a flower motif.

The heads of each of the panels are pierced with small lights. The sections nearest the doorway are 16th century but the others of a late to construction.

Two bench ends near the screen have the same design, the finials at the top being foliated, and they are also 16th century.

Some more images of the Church.

One thought on “St. John the Baptist Church

  1. Pingback: St. John the Baptist – Mini on Tour

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