Parish church, 1869 by William Burges, tower added 1874 by WP Manning. War memorial cross, post-WWI.
Reasons for Designation
The Church of St John the Baptist is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a handsome and little-altered church by the major Gothic Revival architect William Burges;
* War memorial: included for its historic interest as a monument to the dead of the two World Wars.
The hamlet of Outwood had no church until the 1860s, when the local landowners John and Mary Lloyd employed William Burges to design the present building. The body of the church was built in 1869, and in the following year a new parish was created out of parts of five neighbouring parishes. The west tower was added in 1876 by the architect WP Manning, possibly based on Burges' own design. The war memorial cross in the churchyard was erected after WWI.
William Burges (1827-81) was a pivotal figure in the Gothic Revival, both in architecture and across a range of decorative arts - principally furniture design, stained glass and metalwork. Born into a prosperous family of builders and engineers, he travelled extensively in Europe and studied the arts of Japan, India, Africa and the Middle East, but his own almost obsessional preference was for the 'muscular' style of early French Gothic: 'I was brought up in the 13th century belief,' he declared, 'and in that belief I intend to die.' Famously eccentric and bohemian, he belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite circle and collaborated with many of its leading artists including Burne-Jones, Rossetti and Millais. His built output was not large, but included some of the masterpieces of High Victorian architecture: Cork Cathedral in Ireland, Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch in Glamorgan, and the churches at Studley Royal and Skelton, North Yorkshire. Among his smaller churches is St Mary, Lowfield Heath, about five miles south-west of Outwood and now within the development surrounding Gatwick Airport.
MATERIALS: The exterior is faced in squared rubble stone of local origin (rendered in the tower) with ashlar dressings, and the interior in fine red brick. The roof is of plain clay tiles.
PLAN: Simple two-cell plan comprising nave and chancel, with west tower, south porch and north-east vestry.
EXTERIOR: The style is an austere early Gothic, with paired cusped lancets in the nave and single lancets with cusped heads in the chancel; three tall trefoil-headed lancets form the east window. Nave and chancel have steep-pitched gables crowned with ornamental wrought-iron crosses. The south porch is ashlar-faced, with a figure of St John in a niche above the archway. The saddle-backed west tower is rendered externally and has lancet belfry-openings and an octagonal stair turret. The lean-to vestry block to the north-east has shoulder-arched door and window surrounds and a massive chimney stack.
INTERIOR: The internal walls are faced in high-quality red brick, with deep unsplayed window reveals above a continuous stone cill. The tower and chancel arches are of unmoulded brick, with simple stone mouldings to the imposts and extrados. The broad nave has a king-post roof with a wagon ceiling. The chancel is plastered and whitewashed internally and has a ribbed keel-vaulted timber ceiling. The floors are of red and black quarry tiles.
FIXTURES AND FITTINGS: The oak pews and choir stalls have simple shaped ends (the front row of choir stalls and the clergy stalls are later additions). The altar rails are also of oak, their unmoulded heavy-sectioned members simply pegged together. At the west end is a massive square stone font resting on a squat octagonal base. The octagonal oak pulpit was given in 1919 in memory of the founders, and the polychrome marble and mosaic reredos is also presumably an early C20 addition.
STAINED GLASS: The three eastern lancets depict the Crucifixion and Resurrection flanked by the Nativity and Entombment. The trefoils above depict the Raising of Lazarus and the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, with the infant Jesus and St John in the centre. The glass was given in 1881 by Captain Arthur Mirehouse in memory of his parents.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: To the right of the porch stands the village war memorial, a plain Celtic cross on a battered plinth, inscribed with the names of those killed in the two World Wars.
This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 5 December 2016.