A Short History
The church is situated at the northern end of Sevenoaks towards the top of St. John’s Hill. It takes its name from the medieval Hospital of St. John the Baptist which stood further down the hill, near the Bat and Ball crossroads, and was run by Canon Regulars of St. Augustine of Hippo. Nearby stood the Shrine of Our Lady of Greatness which also had its Holy Well.
When, in the early part of the 1800s, a village community began to develop in this area, Thomas Curteis, the Rector of St. Nicholas, made arrangements for the construction of a chapel of ease. The original part of the church, dedicated in 1858, was built of local Kentish ragstone on land donated by the Marquis of Camden. The north aisle and baptistery were added in 1878, when the Church became a parish in its own right. In 1900 a magnificent red brick church was planned but, with World War I looming, only the first stage was completed, adding the present east end and Lady Chapel built in red brick. The adjoining parish room was completed in 1910.
The parish continues to be a thriving area today, with several local shops and businesses still trading. St. John’s School (founded in 1870), in Kennedy Gardens, is the Church School. The parish maintains strong links with other schools in the area.
St. John’s is a church in the Catholic tradition where Mass is celebrated every day. During the incumbency of Fr. Martin Heal the church was refurbished by Lawrence King.