On an idyllic, pastoral landscape in Shobdon, the stone exterior of St. John the Evangelist Parish Church is deceptively humble in comparison with the richly decorated finishes and matching furniture and fittings of its dramatic interior. Between 1755 and 1758, Sir John Bateman and his uncle, Richard Bateman, demolished all but the west tower of the twelfth-century Romanesque church on the site to build a rococo Gothic structure largely influenced by Horace Walpole’s “Committee of Taste,” an aesthetic movement. The parish church has remained virtually unchanged since. The lack of conservation resulted in significant challenges. During a restoration campaign in 2003, workers discovered that the large concealed timbers embedded in the damp masonry had rotted, causing the walls to tip over and the beam ends to give way. Emergency supports were installed, but a comprehensive intervention was necessary to mitigate these structural problems.
An integral part of the community is restored
Included on the 2010 World Monuments Watch, the resulting media attention increased public awareness of the state of Shobdon Church and the pressing need for its stabilization and repairs. Along with English Heritage and WMF’s Paul Mellon Endowment for British Heritage, we contributed financial support and technical assistance for urgent repairs, whichbegan in early 2011 with the installation of a new roof. The project finished in time for an unveiling at the annual local food festival in 2012.
Shobdon Church is listed as a Grade I historic structure. It is a significant national architectural and artistic jewel, and an integral part of the community. The Shobdon Church Preservation Trust and local community have been essential advocates in soliciting support and funding.