Casework: St John the Baptist, Bodicote, Oxfordshire

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A scheme for the major re-ordering of St John the Baptist was submitted to us in October 2018. The church dates from the 13-15th centuries but was restored by Ploughman and Underwood in the 1840s and retains many interesting features. The historic floor is of particular interest as it contains a number of ledger stones, as are the surviving high-quality pews with poppy head finials.

The proposals were well-developed when they came to us, but without the involvement of the amenity societies up to that point. After visiting the church, we wrote a comprehensive letter of advice strongly objecting to a number of key aspects of the scheme, notably raising and covering the beautiful historic floor to install underfloor heating and create level access. We supported the Victorian Society in their objection to the proposed removal of all the pews and provided advice on the proposals for a servery and WC and works to the vestry and tower. We recently received a simplified scheme, which retains the existing historic floor and all but two of the historic pews. New ramps will ensure the nave is accessible and the existing heating system will be added to and upgraded. The flexible space that the parish needs will be located in the chancel, where the fittings are of less significance. We were delighted that the parish and its architect have taken on board the SPAB’s advice and that the parish will be able to introduce the facilities it needs while at the same time preserving the historic character of the church.

Image credit: JBKS architects

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