St John the Baptist Church, on Clarendon Park Road, is the parish church of Clarendon Park. It is an Anglican Church (Church of England). There is far too much to say about its history in just one post, but I would like to share with you a few pictures and facts about its earliest days.
St John’s was built in 1884-1885 by architects Goddard and Paget of Leicester, funded largely by a gift of £6,000 from Miss Sarah Barlow (more about her some other time). It was built as a chapel of ease in the parish of St Mary Magdalene, Knighton, and only became parish church in its own right in 1917. The parish minute books show how pleased the then vicar and churchwardens were, as it considerably simplified the financial running of the churches.
Joseph Goddard also built Leicester’s clock tower, in 1868. Here is an excellent site about the Goddard empire. St John’s was designed in the Victorian gothic style. I think it is fair to say that it is considerably more imposing on the inside than the outside. The level of detail is astonishing and the overall impression is of grandeur and awe. Here is one of Goddard’s original designs for the railings that used to top the front boundary wall (which you can see in the photo above have been removed…probably as part of the war effort). Luckily the attractive gate still stands. Leicestershire Records Office holds all the original designs, and they are beautiful in themselves.
As for the interior, here is a postcard showing the interior as it was before the addition of a new reredos in memory of Guy Edward Frank Russell, who died in World War I. The screen is still in place – this was taken down within living memory of the current congregation.
St John’s is open 9 – 3pm most days except weekends (services on Sunday are at 8.30am, 9.30am and 11am) and it is well worth a visit even if you are not a practising Christian. There is a lot more to say about St John’s but some other time! In the meantime, check the Index page of this site for several more articles about St John’s. Regards, Elizabeth.