Monday, 23 January 2012


St John The Evangelist is described on the village website as "a beautiful and rare Arts and Crafts church", I'm not so sure and think I side with Pevsner; having said that I rather liked it but mainly for the Wyncoll brasses rather than the church itself.

ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST. 1860. Nave, chancel and bellcote. Red brick with a wild admixture of black and yellow brick decoration outside and with bands and trellis inside. It is all very much in the style of ButterīŦeld. The large low pointed window in the chancel almost like a triangle, is also an oddity. - STAINED GLASS. In the chancel Crucifixion etc. by Hardman. Remarkably good. - BRASS to Marie Wyncoll d. 1610 and husband, also five daughters (nave N wall).

St John the Evangelist

Mary Wincoll nee Gaudy 1610 (1.1)

TWINSTEAD. Here is a family from the England of Shakespeare and Raleigh, their portraits engraved on enduring brass. Isake Wyncoll is bareheaded in a long-sleeved cloak, his wife Marie has a richly embroidered dress and a ruff, and below are their five daughters, two in round hats. They are in the nave of a church they would fail to recognise, for it was refashioned 250 years after their day, its companion a giant old cedar in the corner of the churchyard. There are three high chancel arches, a carved chair of about 1700, a panelled chest of the 18th century, and a marble stone to Robert Gray who was rector of the old church for 44 years. His successor Henry Shortland stayed 40 years, and he it was who made the building new.

Simon K -

As I left Great Henny church on its hilltop the rain had already restarted, but the wind was behind me so I headed down hill and along increasingly narrow, winding and hilly lanes, branching off at unlikely angles and increasingly flooded as if forded by non-existent rivers, until I reached Twinstead.

Open. A superlative 19th Century church - everything comes together, and if it was in London or Manchester everyone would talk about it. 'Every bit as ecclesiastical as one could hope for' says the revised Pevsner, despite its modest size and plan.

The architect was someone called Goodyer, and it is the full works of polychromatic brick, EE and Dec windows, seemly furnishings, shadowy chancel for incense-led worship. Remarkably, it was completed just a year after Butterfield's pattern book All Saints Margaret Street in London, which became a touchstone for churches of this kind.

I thought it was gorgeous, with so much attention to detail. It is mindful of its setting, and feels like a rural church, not an urban one. The glass, again by Hardman, is 'remarkably good', as the new Pevsner observes. The church replaced an 18th Century predecessor which in turn had replaced a medieval church, an etching of which hangs at the back of the church - it looked like a small version of nearby Pebmarsh.

There is a rare High Victorian moment in the churchyard, a memorial cross decorated with Minton tiles.


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