Church of St John Baptist and attached railings and gates


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Church of St John Baptist, Market Place, Cirencester, GL7 2NX


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Statutory Address:
Church of St John Baptist, Market Place, Cirencester, GL7 2NX

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cotswold (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


SP0202 578-1/4/253

CIRENCESTER MARKET PLACE (north side) Church of St John Baptist and attached railings and gates

(Formerly listed as Church of St John the Baptist and attached railings and gates)

(Formerly Listed as: MARKET PLACE (North side) Church of St.John the Baptist) (Formerly Listed as: MARKET PLACE (North side) Church Yard railings and gates to Church Path)

14/06/48 GV I Church. Chancel c1115, enlarged c1180 and 1240 with early C14 and early C15 alterations; St Catherine's Chapel originally C12 north chancel aisle altered and enlarged mid C15 and early/mid C16; Lady Chapel c1240, rebuilt mid C15; Chapel of St John the Baptist originally C12 south chancel aisle altered and enlarged mid C14; Trinity Chapel 1430; aisled nave c1120 and c1240, west end of aisles rebuilt early C14 to accommodate tower buttresses, nave rebuilt except west end of aisles 1515-1530; south porch c1490; west tower early C15. South porch restored 1831-33; complete restoration 1865-67 by Sir George Gilbert Scott including removal of C18 galleries and box pews.

Chancel, Lady Chapel, Chapel of St John the Baptist and west ends of aisle naves coursed squared limestone; St Catherine's Chapel, vestry, Trinity Chapel, nave, south porch and west tower limestone ashlar. Chancel, St Catherine's and St John the Baptist's Chapels have stone slate roofs; Trinity Chapel and nave have lead roofs; roof covering to Lady Chapel, south porch and tower not visible, probably lead. Three bay chancel with St Catherine's Chapel and Lady Chapel to north, Chapel of St John the Baptist and vestry to south; six bay aisled nave with Trinity Chapel to north; three storey south porch; three stage west tower.

Chancel: east gable has offset angle buttresses, five-light lancet window with moulded hood, south wall has two two-light square-headed clerestory windows with cusped lights, one two-light pointed window with geometrical tracery. St Catherine's Chapel: east gable has offset angle buttress to north, four-light window with panel tracery with four-centred arch head and hoodmould, north wall has four three-light clerestory windows with Tudor arch heads. Lady Chapel: east gable has offset angle buttresses to north, five-light window with panel tracery with depressed arch head and hoodmould, embattled parapet with blind tracery and crocketed finials, north wall rebuilt c1820 except east window has four three-light pointed windows with panel tracery, to east renewed, largely blocked and different pattern tracery, moulded string with gargoyles and parapet continued from east wall. Vestry: single-storey with five single-light windows in splayed reveals to east wall, three similar windows to south wall, coped parapet.

Chapel of St John the Baptist: east gable has three-light lancet window with hoodmould, south wall has two two-light pointed windows with geometrical tracery, small door in splayed reveal, embattled parapet. Trinity Chapel: east gable wall has one five-light window with panel tracery with Tudor arch head, plinth with moulded top, north east angle buttress continued above embattled parapet with blind tracery as crocketed finial, north wall has four four-light pointed windows with panel tracery and hoodmoulds, plinth with moulded top and offset buttresses continued above embattled parapet with blind tracery as crocketed finials.

North nave aisle; east gable wall has five-light lancet window in basket arch opening, embattled parapet with blind tracery and north east angle buttress continued as crocketed finial above parapet, north wall has five four-light clerestory windows with panel tracery, four-centred arch heads with hoodmoulds, one similar window to west end three lights high, west wall has one four-light pointed window with panel tracery. North porch: north wall has pointed doorway with moulded stone surround, embattled parapet. South nave aisle: east gable wall has openwork parapet with crocketed finials, south wall has to east of south porch two four-light clerestory windows with panel tracery and four-centred arch heads over two two-light pointed windows with panel tracery and hoodmoulds, one four-light window, three-lights high with panel tracery and four-centred arch head similar to clerestory windows; two similar windows to west of south porch; offset buttresses continued as crocketed finials above openwork parapet; west wall has one five-light pointed window with panel tracery and hoodmould.

Nave: east gable wall has seven-light window with panel tracery and four-centred arch head over chancel arch, openwork parapet with crocketed finials, north and south walls each have six four-light clerestory windows with four-centred arch heads, openwork parapet with crocketed finials has sculptures on string course. South porch: three storeys high, three bays wide and three bays deep has traceried panels covering south, east and west walls, to south three canted oriel windows to first and second floor two- and three-lights wide and three-lights high with four-centred arch heads, ground floor has doorway to centre with four-centred arched head flanked by two small doorways with four-centred arched heads each with some panels above glazed; octagonal stair turrets to north east and northwest each linked to body of porch at first floor by single-bay bridges with three-light window with panel tracery and square head with embattled parapet with pointed arch beneath to east and west doors to porch in four-centred arch openings, to west pair of panelled doors with date and initials 1635 MS IH; offset angle buttresses to all angles of porch and to south front, to south with niches, openwork parapet with crocketed finials.

West tower: three-stage tower has to west wall five-light pointed window with panel tracery over pointed doorway with moulded stone surround with hoodmould with quatrefoils in spandrels; two lower stages of tower formerly concealed by other buildings have blind traceried panels, top stage has similar panels and three-light pointed louvred window with panel tracery to each face; flying buttresses to east angles built into west walls of nave aisles, offset angle buttresses to west, embattled parapet with blind tracery, crocketed finials.

INTERIOR: chancel: east window in mid C13 moulded arch with shafts carrying stiff-leaf capitals, chamfered arches with shafts to late C13 windows to north and south of sanctuary; chancel widened to south c1180 with two bay arcade of which round piers, to west with leaf capital, to east reworked Roman column, survive now with triple chamfered pointed arches, to west infilled by organ; north wall has two bay arcade with double chamfered pointed arches of c1420, mid C14 clerestory windows, two of two lights, one single-light with square heads and cusped lights now partially blocked; chancel arch enlarged to present form mid C14; chancel screen mid C16 below with pierced carving between transom and solid panels beneath has canopy added by Scott, raised 1906 and east side carved. Sanctuary has carved stone reredos by Scott; mid C18 mahogany communion rail.

St Catherine's Chapel; north wall has early C20 round-headed doorway into Lady Chapel, remnant of original church and originally external, three bay pointed arcade with hollow mouldings c1450-60 when Chapel extended east on foundation of Chantry of St Catharine and St Nicholas, wall-paintings of this date of St Christopher to north wall and St Catharine to south wall, early C14 wall paintings to west end of north wall; stone fan-vault dated 1508 donated by Abbot John Hakebourne has bosses with his mitre and initials, royal arms and pomegranate for Catharine of Aragon; late C15 oak screen in contemporary four-centred arch on mid C13 bases and lower shafts; sanctuary has reredos of 1905 carved in Oberammergau and painted by William Butchart, communion rails and pavement by Ninian Comper. Lady Chapel: rebuilt c1450, timber ceiling with carved bosses and corbels; south wall has bracket for former image of St Nicholas; wall paintings to south wall above arcade include Judgement to west; late C15 oak screen in contemporary four-centred arch on mid C13 bases and lower shafts; to west C18 marble font. Chapel of St John the Baptist; now choir vestry, organ reconstructed 1897 in case designed by Scott now fills north west portion of chapel. Trinity Chapel: constructed from1430, east wall has elaborate reredos with canopied niches, four bay south arcade with piers of four shafts and four hollows surmounted by shield-bearing winged angels and with Yorkist badge of falcon and fetterlock at apex of each moulded pointed opening is echoed to north wall; stone-traceried openwork screen with two ogee doorways to south; contemporary timber ceiling.

Nave: rebuilt 1516-30, of six bays with arcade to north and south aisles has tall compound piers with eight shafts with shields borne by demi-angels carrying arms or merchants' marks of contributors to rebuilding, blind traceried panels to east, north and south walls surrounding and below window over chancel arch and below clerestory windows; east wall has to south of chancel arch small round arch now housing Boleyn Cup, perhaps for a recessed altar off a south transept of church of 1120; Garstang Chapel in south east corner of south nave aisle mid C15 chantry chapel enclosed by carved oak screen with original iron closing ring to door; rare C15 stone pulpit of wineglass shape has pierced panels with crocketed canopies and pinnacles over ogee arches with tracery, original colour retouched 1865; Perpendicular font, probably C14, octagonal with panelled sides in second bay from west of north arcade removed from church C18 and restored 1865; pews by Scott copied from one surviving original. South Porch; fan vault and early C17 stone dole-table to entrance, two storeys above rebuilt as single-height room (not inspected) 1831-33.

MONUMENTS: numerous monuments, brasses and wall tablets, wall tablets re-arranged by Scott, monuments include: Lady Chapel, in north east corner large tomb to Humfry Bridges and his wife, 1598 and 1620, with recumbent effigies under canopy with coffered arch with two sons kneeling to either end under separate canopies and six daughters to front by Baldwin of Stroud, to south wall semi-reclining effigy of Sir Thomas Master 1680, other tablets and headstones and C15 and C17 brasses.

St Catherine's Chapel, recumbent stone effigy of layman or merchant in panelled recess to north of sanctuary. St John the Baptist's Chapel, marble kneeling figures of George Monox, 1638, and his wife, on raised tomb with canopy and broken pediment attributed to Thomas Stanton of Holborn. Trinity Chapel, Bathurst family memorials including first Earl and Countess Bathurst, 1776, with busts by Joseph Nollekens, bust of second Earl Bathurst, 1794, six C15 brasses. Garstang Chapel; three busts on entablature to Rebecca Powell, founder of Powell's School, and two husbands, 1718.

STAINED GLASS: Medieval glass largely lost since C18, east window of chancel has medieval glass to lower half of three central lights imported from Siddington, otherwise made up, partly from fragments, in late C18 by Samuel Lysons; medieval fragments in each window of Trinity Chapel; early C16 glass to south window of south nave aisle; C19 glass by Hardman.

Attached railings to right of south porch approximately 2m high, probably C19, have shaped baluster heads, dog bars and matching gate; length of railings and gate attached to south east corner of vestry and bounding churchyard have sharply pointed tops and dog bars.

An exceptional church, the largest parish church in Gloucestershire. The railings and gates to the Church of St. John Baptist were listed 23.7.71.

Listing NGR: SP0231902092


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Croome, W R , The Stained Glass of Cirencester Parish Church, (1985)
Hill, R E , Cirencester Parish Church, (1985)
Verey, D , The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 1 The Cotswolds, (1970), 161-171


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 22 May 2001
Reference: IOE01/04084/35
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Bryan Berkeley. Source Historic England Archive
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