top of page

A Brief History of St. John the Evangelist Church





These notes are based on Jo Park’s booklet, which is available for sale in the church.

St John’s church is situated at the top of Lemon Street in Truro, Cornwall, in the south-west of the United Kingdom.

When St John’s was built in 1828 it was a simple rectangular block with a whitewashed interior and balconies on the north and south sides. A new church was needed because Kenwyn Church and St Mary’s (now incorporated into Truro Cathedral) were full. The architect was Philip Sambell of Devonport.

Alterations were made in 1860. The curved apse was built in Italian style. The architect was William Henry Reid of Plymouth.

The Parish was formed in 1865.


In 1884 the church was opened after extensive alterations. The architect was James Arthur Reeve of Exeter. The church was altered beyond recognition. The wooden ornamental ceiling had been constructed and new stained glass windows were installed, including the eagle of St John at the west end. The windows in the north gallery depict David. There are two in the south of Moses and Melchizedek. The theme of the apse is the resurrection. The windows show Jonah and Elijah. The organ and case had been installed.

The alterations envisaged by Reeve were continued in 1892 and on completion meant that the church looked much as it does today. The Reverend Frank Edward Lewis was the Minister from 1892 to 1907. He was responsible for the painting in the apse and the five paintings on wood in the baptistry and was probably the artist. The five paintings in the baptistry illustrate the evangelisation of Britain:

King Ethelbert, baptised 597
St Aidan, Celtic Mission from Iona
St Cybi (Cuby), born Cornwall (he has the face of Dr Mason who was Bishop Benson’s chaplain)
St Gregory
St Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury (he has the face of Truro’s first bishop, Bishop Benson, who became Archbishop).

Lewis also provided the processional cross and the altar.

More recent alterations placed the choir stalls and pulpit in their present position making the chancel area much larger. The painting scheme in shades of yellow was carried out in 1983. The crypt (once the choir vestry) was repainted and carpeted twelve years ago and is used for meetings and for coffee after the 10.30am Sunday service.

The parish of St John’s together with the neighbouring parishes of St George and St Paul is a United Benefice. Father Christopher Epps was installed as Priest in Charge of the parishes at St Paul’s church on 16 September 2003 and is now Vicar.

The United Benefice of St. Paul & St. John & St. George, Truro

bottom of page