Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

St. John the Baptist Church (Thaxted)

St. John the Baptist is the magnificent parish church of the very attractive little town of Thaxted in Essex.

Like that of the neighbouring town of Saffron Walden, the church dominates the town and the surrounding countryside.

Much of St.Johns dates back to the 14th century.

The tower, including the spire with its flying buttresses, rises to 181 feet. The spire was rebuilt in 1814, having been struck by lightning, but this was done in the correct style.

The South porch, unusually, has entrances on all three sides, while above the North porch is a chapel dedicated to John Ball, the radical priest who was one of the organisers of the Peasants' Revolt.

In the South transept is a 14th century Madonna from Germany, and the South aisle has a window dating from about 1450 depicting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Conrad Noel, Vicar in the early 20th century, did a lot to bring back the people to the church, and was responsible for Thaxted becoming famous as a centre for morris dancing.

Gustav Holst was organist at St. Johns. It was here that he wrote most of "The Planets", including the tune used for the hymn "I Vow to Thee, My Country". The title of this tune is "Thaxted".

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