Heron’s Ghyll - St John the Evangelist

St John’s House, Heron’s Ghyll, nr Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 4BY

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A good example of a rural church by Frederick Walters, clearly erected at some cost.  Correctly listed at Grade 2.

The list description is economical by current standards.  Mass was celebrated in Heron’s Ghyll from 1866, firstly in a room in the home of the poet Coventry Patmore, Heron’s Ghyll House.  This was bought by the 15th Duke of Norfolk in 1879 for his widowed mother, Minna, Duchess of Norfolk.  In 1880 she paid for the building of the elementary school and priests house, red brick buildings which stand to the south west of the church.  Mass was said in the school until 1884 when a corrugated iron church was erected.  The Duchess died in 1886 and her grandson, James Hope, asked the Duke to retain the house until he came of age.  In 1891 James bought the estate and in 1895 he engaged F A Walters to design a permanent church.  The foundation stone was laid on 9th May 1896 and the church was opened on 22nd September 1897.  The date 1904, given in the list description, is the date of consecration (consecration only takes place when a church is free of debt).  The cost of the church was £4,000.

Above the south porch is a relief carving of the eagle of St John.  The church is compactly but generously planned.  Nave and sanctuary under one continuous roof but with a sanctuary arch internally.  Massive buttresses at each end.  Short but stout tower placed off-centre on the north side; clasping buttresses, corbelled parapet and tiled pyramid roof, with an organ gallery internally.  Lady chapel in the angle between tower and sanctuary.  Gabled south porch and sacristy etc on the south side.  All is built in squared and tooled Bath stone.  Early 13th century Gothic style with heavy tall single lancets, paired at the west end and a triplet, set in deep shafted reveals (internally) at the east end.  Marble high altar and low reredos.  Carved stone communion rails.  Carved stone reredos to the Lady Chapel with pretty octofoil window above with stained glass of Our Lady and child.

Diocese: Arundel and Brighton

Architect: F A Walters

Original Date: 1896

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II