Monument record NDM 007 - Church of St John the Baptist

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Church of St John the Baptist: Hammerbeam roof, arched braces supporting them are hidden by a boarded coving.


Grid reference Centred TM 0877 5518 (59m by 69m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TM05NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Church of St John the Baptist: Hammerbeam roof, arched braces supporting them are hidden by a boarded coving. The storey posts appear suspended from the top, they are very tall and carry the cambered tiebeams of the low- pitched roof of the church. The upper thirds of the storey-posts are cross- connected from W to E by a timber-built clerestory with windows. The church gives the impression it is in mid air. The exterior is all perpendicular, no tower. Chapel-of-ease until 1907. In 1883, porch put up with miserly spirelet. Original traceried S and chancel S doors. Roof much restored in C19 & C20. Details in (S1)(S2).
In centre of Needham Market surrounded by streets - original cemetery and tower (?) under roads etc? it is a baptist church and has a beamed roof from c.1470, called the finest roof in England
Recorded in gazetteer of significant Industrial Archaeological sites extracted from a 1980 booklet entitled 'Industrial Archaeology in and around Norfolk' and revised as 'Suffolk IA Sites in 1980' in Suffolk Industrial Archaeological Society Newsletter (SIAS Newsletter, 115, Nov 2011) where it is described as:
Church roof. Remarkable 15th C timber enginering: "the culminating achievement of the English carpenter (Cautley) - "a whole church with nave and aisles and clerestory seemingly in the air (Pevsner).
Most remarkable feature of the design is that this is an open roof with no outward thrust on the walls (S3).

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N & Radcliffe E. 1974. The Buildings of England: Suffolk. 372-374.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Cautley H M. 1975. Suffolk Churches. 334.
  • <S3> Serial: Suffolk Industrial Archaeological Society Newsletter. Volume 115, November 2011, plus email from John Jones, March 2012..
  • <S4> Bibliographic reference: Harris, B.L.. 2006. Harris's Guide to Churches and Cathedrals.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

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Record last edited

Mar 4 2015 1:44PM

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