St John’s is one of the unknown treasures of Yorkshire, as old, if not older than nearby Laughton, the church stands on the site of at least one Celtic well, which had its festival day at Midsummer.
All Saints Laughton en le Morthen was originally the mother church to a large area, an indication of its importance in Anglo Saxon times. In the Domesday Book, the village name is Lastone, but the Saxon name was Law town.
The original Saxon church was a simple rectangular structure, built around 937AD, that was destroyed in 1069-1070. The church was rebuilt by the Normans in 1190 and the north aisle was added but it was destroyed again 1322. The third and present church was built around 1377.
The church is famous for its Saxon doorway, which is best seen from outside. It is often described as the most spectacular piece of Saxon architecture in South Yorkshire. The tower and spire which soars to 185 feet is one of the most beautiful of any village church in the country and can be seen for miles around. Visitors can climb the tower (but this must be prearranged and accompanied) and is not for the fainthearted. The views are well worth the climb!
The church contains many interesting things to see. The octagonal font is late 14th century and has grotesque faces with tongues sticking out. One of the nave pillars has Green Men carvings and there is the lower part of a medieval rood screen. There are also traces of Norman windows remaining. In the Lady Chapel a wooden table stands on a stone slab which is an original prereformation altar. It was buried under the south aisle, where it was rediscovered at the end of the 19th century.
The windows contain some lovely stained glass, and there are a number of interesting monuments.
A very warm welcome awaits visitors. The village is delightful, with many period houses dating back in part to 1400. The Church School, opposite the church, was built in the reign of Elizabeth I.