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St John the Evangelist Church

Original church was destroyed in the war

Jackie Markham

Reporter:

Jackie Markham

Three quarters of a million local bricks were used in the construction of the new church, fifty years ago.

The new ecclesiastical parish of St John the Evangelist was formed in 1859, out of the existing parishes of Newbury and Greenham. A church was built, to a gothic revival design by well-known Tractarian architect William Butterfield, whose other projects include Keble College at Oxford and St Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth, and consecrated in 1860 by the Bishop of Oxford. It was located to the south of Newbury town centre, at the junction of the Winchester and Andover Roads.

On 10 February 1943, during a Second World War air-raid on Newbury, the church took a direct hit from an enemy bomb and was completely destroyed.

The following year, a temporary sectional building was erected on the site, where it served as a church for the next 13 years.

The Queen’s sister the late Princess Margaret laid the foundation stone for a new church on 13 April 1955, and the completed  building, which used three quarters of a million Berkshire red bricks, was consecrated on 13 June 1957 by the Lord Bishop of Oxford.

The stained glass in the windows included fragments of glass from churches bombed in the war, and one of the bells was donated by the builders who had found it in a church in Popham dating from the 1860s, which they had recently demolished.

Substantial re-roofing of the church and building work was undertaken in 2008 and 2009.

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