Situated at the top of a hill in the Southgate Green Conservation Area, has a 180 foot spire which forms a prominent landmark visible for miles in North London.
The church of St John the Baptist is located on the top of Clay Hill at the junction of Strayfield Road and Theobald Park Road. It occupies a prominent position in the rural Clay Hill Conservation area, part of ancient woodland used as hunting grounds by King Charles II.
The Victorian building was designed in the Gothic Revival style by James Piers St Aubyn and built in 1857. It is constructed in yellow brick and decorated with banded red and blue bricks inside and out to copy the Venetian style. St John’s was opened for worship on 10th November 1858 and consecrated by the Bishop of London on 31st July 1865. A two manual pipe organ built by A Hunter of London was installed in 1870.
In 1876, a fine detailed terracotta relief reredos depicting the baptism of Jesus by John was installed behind the altar and was restored and hand painted in colour in 1996. Mounted on the wall on either side of the altar are wooden figures of Mary and Joseph. The church is surrounded by spacious and attractive grounds which contain seven large oak trees with preservation orders.
The church is Grade II listed in recognition of the set of stained glass windows manufactured by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, one of the leading firms of Gothic Revival stained glass manufacturers. All the other windows are also stained glass. The building comprises a nave with central aisle, chancel, south porch and a western fleche.
A chime of eight bells operated by a clavier, was installed in the fleche in April 1927 in recognition of the 88 parishioners who fell in the Great War. Funds left over from the bells together with further donations were used to erect the traditional lychgate in 1930.
The parishes of St John the Baptist and St Luke the Evangelist were amalgamated in December 1987, forming a single parish with two parish churches.