Until I started this tour of 100 Suffolk Churches I hadn't noticed how many St Mary's and St John's there are
Last week it was St Johns in Felixstowe, this week closer to home and St Johns in Needham Market.
A very small church for the size of the town now, it has no tower, no churchyard and sits surrounded by roads and old houses in the middle of the main street. The Suffolk Churches website HERE says it was just a Chapel of Ease to the adjoining village of Barking until 1901.
It's the roof that you notice as you step into this church. Some have said it's "the best in England". It's certainly pretty amazing. A Unique C15 Angel Roof, a masterpiece of medieval engineering. No iron bolts, straps or nails. Simple morticed and tenon joints secured with wooden pegs. Looking up at the double hammer-beam roof is much like looking down into the hull of a old ship.
Just as there were in Felixstowe last week there are modern Stations of the Cross around the church, this time they are painted by Francis Hoyland in 2000.
The font is interesting
The church was closed for several months last year as repairs and alterations took place. Inside some pews have been replaced by chairs which can be moved and re-arranged to suit whatever is happening. There are several dozen lovely stitched kneelers.
In the porch are two pilgrim figures dating from C16 they represent St James of Compostela
Outside is this interesting arch in a buttress is to enable the Corpus Christi procession to go around the church while staying on consecrated ground ( bit of a tight squeeze for C21 bodies!)
This is the back of the church, you can see how close the roads are, and parked cars squeezed in everywhere.