New life this Easter at St John the Baptist

Published: Thursday, March 17, 2016


Palm Sunday, March 20 2016, will see St John the Baptist, Kingston Lisle, Oxfordshire celebrating the completion of a major repair project. 

The service will be celebrated by the Right Rev Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Oxford, and attended by Ed Vaizey MP, and Alastair Hunter, Trustee of the National Churches Trust, with music from the Kingston Lisle Festival Choir.

In December 2014, the National Churches Trust awarded the church a £20,000 Repair Grant towards its £400,000 project to repair the roof, timbers, and walls, install new heating and lighting systems, improve the seating and flooring, and conserve the 14th century wall paintings.

Described as a Norman gem, this 12th century church is thought to have been built in response to growing pagan worship in the surrounding villages. Its interior survived the widespread alterations of the Victorian era intact, and still contains medieval stained glass, rare 14th century wall paintings of Herod and Salomé, and 15th century woodwork.

A church reborn

Repair work started after the church had undergone a major period of transition. By 2010, the congregation had fallen to single figures, and the church was in severe financial difficulties. Simplified service times, stabilisation of finances thanks to the generosity of a local donor, and the appointment of a new Rector re-energised the congregation. Church music was also refreshed, with the formation of a choir and research into installing a new organ. Attendance is now at its highest level for 30 years.


The work was funded by a combination of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, the National Churches Trust, and 16 other local and national grants. The people of Kingston Lisle have shown great support for the project - proceeds from concerts, quizzes and literary events, as well as a ‘Sponsor A Tile’ project, completed the fundraising needed.

The success of the project, and increased interest in the church, has enabled the parish to commission a new pipe organ, which will be installed in time for Christmas 2016. They hope to raise a further £18,000 through sponsorship of stops and pipes.

Angus Saer, churchwarden of St John’s, thanked the National Churches Trust for playing a crucial role in getting the project off the ground. He said:

“We were absolutely thrilled to have such wonderful support from the National Churches Trust which put us a big step further towards our fundraising target.”

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said:

“We are delighted that our support has made such a difference to St John’s. Our 2016 grants programme will help us to continue this work with many other churches around the UK.”

Support churches like St John the Baptist

The National Churches Trust relies on the generosity of our supporters to fund our work and help rescue churches like St John the Baptist.

Since January 2015, we have helped UK churches and chapels by providing funding to community and repair projects through Partnership and WREN grants totalling £2,158,941.

You can help us to continue saving churches by becoming a Friend, making a donation or leaving a legacy in your will. For more information, click here.

  • St John the Baptist, Kingston Lisle

  • Before the restoration

  • After the restoration

  • St John the Baptist, Kingston Lisle (Gary Southwell)

  • St John the Baptist, Kingston Lisle (Gary Southwell)

  • The opening celebration