Saturday, 6 February 2016

Ilketshall..St John the Baptist

This modest unobtrusive little church is situated on an incline at a T junction of narrow country lanes. It’s unbuttressed tower is C14 with stepped battements and has a squint hole about a third of the way up

There are clues that suggest there was a church here from the C11
The porch was replaced in 1908 and there appears to be a faint scratch dial on one of the jambs of the C14 inner doorway

The first thing I noticed on my entry into St John’s was the plaster peeling from the walls and the faint smell of damp. The interior of the church is quite dark, especially the chancel where the East window is very busy.  Nice Decalogue panels flank this window.

The plastered ceiling of the nave and chancel is of the barrel type. 

There is no chancel arch to divide the church, therefore it shows up the *weeping walls* of the chancel (weeping walls means nothing more than chancel walls which are out of line with the nave - medieval buildings were seldom aligned with mathematical accuracy)

In the chancel is a nice C14 piscina and a plain dropped-sill sedilia.


The chancel was added onto the East end of the nave in the C!3…there is evidence of this on the outside of the North wall, by a line of quoins at the NW corner of the nave, and the remains of a holy water stoup  which shows there used to be an entrance here
The Victorians added a nice roundel window with pensive headstops above

There’s a C15 font with shields and Tudor roses around it’s bowl and lions guarding it’s shaft stands at the West end of the church

The Royal Arms of William 1V, now grubby with age hangs in the nave.

In the tower recess is a tall banner stave in the wall by the door leading up into the tower…There’s also an old pew which now resides here >>

There are some interesting ledger-stones in the church floor. I particularly liked the one for Anne Gooch in the sanctuary dated 1679 with the scull and crossed bones on it and the motto
“Hodi michi, cras tibi” (Today it is I; Tomorrow it will be you)

There is another one of interest by the South door for Thomas Coleman who lived a long and vigorous life, it extols his virtues, ending with “on the 18th July 1695 at the age of 79 under general decays of Nature without a sigh or groan he fell asleep”   On his daughter’s ledger-stone it tells us she led an exemplary life like her father”

There are many tombstone graves in this little village churchyard

The churchyard is now a Wildlife Sanctuary,


  1. Thank you for this - very enjoyable! Could you give the County so I can look it up on Pevsner? [Twitter]

  2. The county is Suffolk. There are four parish churches close together...Ilketshall St Andrew, Ilketshall St John, Ilkestshall St Margaret and Ilketshall St Lawrence.They will all find their way onto this blog eventually...Glad you enjoyed St John's.