St John the Evangelist

A place of peace and tranquility.

About this church

In 1858 the Revd Frederick Jeremiah Smith began to build St John the Evangelist in the Tangier area of Taunton. Only the best was good enough for God, so the Revd Smith obtained the services of Sir George Gilbert Scott, one of the most eminent architects of the Victorian age, and a leader of the Victorian Gothic Revival Movement.

The significance of St John's has been recognised by English Heritage, who regraded St John's as a Grade I listed building, one of national importance in the country's heritage; one of only two in Taunton.

In 1863, St John's was dedicated, and at the luncheon afterwards the Revd Smith announced that there would be no 'pew rents' ignoring the class system of the time, and becoming the first Anglican church in Taunton where all pews would be available to all worshippers.

The first glimpse of the church, then as now, from all points, would have been the distinctive sandstone spire. It is the only church in the town centre with a spire. Most of the church remains as its original design except for a few additions by eminent architects such as JD Sedding, choir stalls and Lady Chapel reredos, Henry Wilson, screen, and John Dudley Forsyth, baptistry. 

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • Car park at church
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches


St Peter

The history of the building is entwined with two local noble and gentry families, Portman and Farnham, whose connection can be seen in the many memorable memorials connected with the church.

St Mary the Virgin

The church dates from around 1450 and is built of red sandstone, with a tall, typically Somerset tower and contains a fabulous rood turret housing the spiral stair leading to the top of the rood screen.

Help support ExploreChurches by becoming a Friend of the National Churches Trust