Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 39482 22155


RUYTON-XI-TOWNS C.P. CHURCH STREET (north SJ 32 SE side) 8/138 Church of St. John the - Baptist 8.10.59 GV I

Chapel-of-ease, now parish church. Mid-C12, mid-C14 north aisle rebuilt in 1845 and early C15 west tower; chancel restored in 1862 and rest of church in 1868 at a cost of £1000. Regularly coursed and dressed red sandstone blocks; slate roofs with coped verges and C19 crosses to gables. Nave; chancel; west tower; north aisle; south porch and north vestry. Tower. In 2 stages with multi-stepped diagonal buttresses, chamfered string course and plinth. Embattled parapet has carved heads to cornice and gargoyles to corners (much weathered). Restored louvred 2-light windows to belfry have mouchettes and sexfoils to heads. 3-light west window with panel tracery. Projecting splayed staircase turret to south-east angle with narrow rectangular slit openings and grotesque head projecting at string course level. Narrow rectangular opening beneath north belfry window. Pyramidal slate cap with C18 brass weathercock to contemporary wooden finial. Earlier roof pitch of nave visible on east face. Nave. Basically C12 with moulded string course. C19 two-light Decorated-style window to left of porch with 4 quatrefoils to square head. Two heavily restored C16 or C17 two-light square-headed windows with cusped tracery to right. Gabled stone porch of 1892 with machine tile roof has pointed outer arch with hoodmould and twin trefoil-headed windows to east and west sides. Buttress at south- west corner forms part of tower and massive stepped buttress to south-east corner is probably early C19. East gable has high chamfered plinth to south and possible outline of former roof pitch. Oval-shaped window with pierced cusped quatrefoil below apex inserted 1676 and restored in C19. Chancel. C12 and extended by one bay to east c.1300 (see straight joint on north side). South side has round-headed priest's doorway similar to that at Church of St. Mary, Knockin (q.v.). Chamfered hoodmould and moulded imposts to outer arch. Recessed segmental-arched tympanum and chamfered inner jambs with broach stops to top; inner moulded imposts. Date 1771 inscribed on eastern outer jamb. Hoodmould continues over 2 narrow recessed and chamfered round-headed windows to east and formerly continued to C12 east wall but is now carried down to east of second window. C19 two-light Decorated-style windows to west of doorway and to early C14 extension. East wall has stepped angle buttresses and pointed C14 window of 3 cusped lights with spheric triangles to head; hoodmould. North side has 2 small C12 windows like those on south linked by continuous hoodmould, in this case continuing to straight joint. Low infilled C14 segmental-pointed arch below and between windows is said to be associated with former anchorite's cell (see below). 3-light tile-hung gabled dormer to centre in roof slope inserted 1903. Mid-C19 north aisle on site of C14 aisle is buttressed in 4 bays and has 2-and 3-light Decorated-style windows with hoodmoulds to centre bays and to east and west walls. Mid-C19 lean-to vestry at junction with nave at east end has lancet to east side and paired trefoil-headed windows under segmental arch to north side. Probably late C18 lean-to at west end of aisle has projecting keystone to segmental arch on north side and rectangular chamfered window to west. Interior. C12 south doorway similar to that of chancel but larger and inner jambs have chamfered edges and broach stops to top more clearly defined. 4-bay nave arcade-of 2 periods: low octagonal pillars with plain moulded capitals and chamfered bases. Double-chamfered pointed arches, western 2 with roll moulding and fillets, eastern 2 plainer, easternmost of irregular segmental-pointed shape. West respond and west capital are early C13, east respond and east capital are early to mid-C14. Curiously the eastern half of the middle capital is Early English and the western half is Decorated. The explanation seems to be that a 2-bay chapel was built at the east end of the nave in early C13: this was taken down in C14 when a full aisle was built, the chapel's capital, arches and 2 responds being reused in the aisle's construction. On the south-west face of the western pillar is a medieval carving of a horned head, said to represent the Devil. Broad cinquefoiled late C15 image niche inserted in eastern respond. To west of western respond is a low C19 segment- al chamfered arch with dogtooth decoration dying into western wall. Pointed chancel arch of 1862 with corbelled responds has rectangular entrance to former rood loft on north side. Tall pointed tower arch is contemporary with tower. Probably early C17 arch-braced collar beam roof in 5 bays to nave has 2 tiers of purlins and cusped windbraces; cusped struts from collars forming cusped quatrefoil and trefoil patterns with cusped principal rafters. Carved wooden corbels probably date from 1845 when roof was repaired but north side has 3 stone corbels from earlier medieval roof, one with the carving of a human head and another with a carved ram's head. Chancel has C19 arch-braced collar beam roof in 3 bays and north aisle has C19 roof similar to that of nave, also retaining 3 stone corbels of a medieval roof (one with a carving of a grotesque human head). Chancel has 2 pointed piscinae in south wall and 2 aumbries to north, all in C12 part. Small square opening on north side with hooks for door opening outwards said to be associated with former anchorite's cell. Two C19 sedilia below east window on south. C12 string course and straight joint marking break with c.1300 extension clearly visible on both sides. Encaustic tiles except for black and white marble floor around altar which has stone reredos of c.1892 by Bodley and Garner; communion rails probably of same date. Reading desk and choir stalls 1903; stone pulpit, font, benches all late C19 or later, although some benches incorporate Jacobean panelling. Oak chest at west end of aisle and more elaborate Jacobean press at east end. C18 chair in sanctuary and Jacobean chair by pulpit. Late C13 stone coffin lid with carving of a foliated cross of quatrefoil design at east end of aisle, found during rebuilding of porch in 1892. Mid-to late C19 and early C20 stained glass throughout. Monuments. Francis Thornes (died 1678) and his wife, Beatrice (died 1664): chancel, north side; stone wall memorial with Tuscan columns flanking brass inscription panel; 2 projecting pieces of entablature above and dome-shaped top with conical finials to left, right and centre; further brass inscription panel beneath. Painted encaustic tile below commemorates George Augustus Selwyn (died 1878), Bishop of Lich- field and first Bishop of New Zealand. Sara Willaston (died 1622): chancel, north side;marble wall memorial. C17 brass memorial in south-east corner of chancel illegible at time of resurvey (December 1986) has brass plate beneath to Hannah Wilde (died 1759). Wall memorial to William Kinaston (died 1748), north side of north aisle. This has C18 hatchments of local families, 3 on north and one on south. Late C18 and early C19 benefactors' boards on south and west walls of vestry and cast-iron plate on west wall of tower commemorating restoration of 1868. Originally a dependent chapelry of Baschurch and founded c.1140, Ruyton became a separate parish in 1230. The tithes were appropriated by Haughmond Abbey in 1331. B.o.E. pp. 237- 8; D.H.S. Cranage, The Churches of Shropshire, Part 9 (1908), pp. 818-25; appendix, p.1005. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. 2nd series, Vol. VIII, pp. 313- 72.

Listing NGR: SJ3948222155


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

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Books and journals
Cranage, DHS , An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire, (1908), 818-825
Cranage, DHS , An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire, (1908), 1005
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, (1958), 237-238
'Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society' in 2nd Series, , Vol. 8, (), 313-372


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

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Date: 05 Sep 1999
Reference: IOE01/01313/16
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Myk Briggs. Source Historic England Archive
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