The foundation and construction

The foundation


The foundation stone of the church was laid in October 1861. The church was completed and consecrated in October 1863. The tower and spire were added four years later. The architect Charles Hansom, designer of some fifty Catholic churches in the country and brother of Joseph Aloysius Hansom, the designer of the Hansom Cab, regarded St John's as his best and most rewarding work. The church, on the site of an earlier priory, was built by the Benedictines of Downside Abbey who handed it over to the Clifton Diocese in 1932.


The church is built in the decorated Gothic style with Bath stone used throughout the entire building. The masonry is rustic work in courses. The internal measurements are 140' by 60' increased at the Transept to 73'; the stone tower and spire stand 222' high, being the highest in Bath. The walls are faced on both sides with free stone. The chancel is the same height and width as the nave, and it is terminated by a semi- octagonal apse; on each side of the chancel are chapels which are connected by moulded arches, resting on marble shafts. On the exterior, the aisle roof, unlike the usual plain straight line, is broken up into gables, one rising over each window and over the Lady Chapel, Transept and Baptistry.