Very much the village church and open daily, St John’s strives to be at the heart of the whole rural community it serves.
Sacred Heart church was designed by the architect, Joseph Aluysius Hansom, who was little known at the time, but went on to become a church architect of repute, though best remembered today for the Hansom Cab. The church is connected to the contemporary presbytery via internal doors.
Sacred Heart church is built of white yellow brick with limestone dressings. It is neo gothic in the Old English style and has a small bell turret, although there is no bell. Consisting of a nave, side aisles and full height apsidal chancel, the church is simple and unfussy. The five apse lancet windows with one cusp are of stained glass by Francis Barnett of York in the style of William Wailes, depicting figures of Christ and angels.
There are quatrefoil clerestory windows above the six arch arcading, and two- light windows in the lower walls of the side aisles with a single cusp and no tracery, between buttresses. One of these is fitted with Barnett stained glass depicting St Anne with St Mary the Virgin as a child, and St Elizabeth with St John the Baptist as a boy. There is a choir loft with a narthex beneath, with a modern glazed screen. The carved oak high altar has survived, although detached from its reredos which has been lost. The window to the east end of the south aisle is three lights with tracery including trefoils above with stained glass.
The church is Grade II listed. The side altar has a carved reredos, with a central statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This altar started life in the original chapel at Everingham Hall and is older than the church. The figures in the front face of the altar are believed to depict the Maxwell-Constable family.
There is an Our Lady’s grotto to the west end of the south aisle and a statue of St Margaret Clitherow to the east end of the north aisle. In the north aisle is a board commemorating local Howdenshire martyrs from the 16th and 17th century executed for belonging to the Catholic faith.