St. John's Church

Brief history: St. John's Church, near the beach, erected in 1857, is an edifice of cut flints with stone dressings in the Early English style consisting of an apsidal chancel, nave, transepts, organ chamber, north & south porches and a turret over the south porch containing one bell...

The Church was built for beachmen, seafaring men, their wives and families.  Until the early 19th Century simple cottages (really just a row of sheds), stretched north and south from the Jetty & were the homes of beachmen.  Later, they became fishermen's cottages and beer houses.  Pressure for development grew & there was massive migration of beachmen and fishermen to Gt. Yarmouth.  The original 'beachtown' was redeveloped to meet the needs of this new population, and by 1858 St. John's Church and the Sailor's Home (now the East Anglian Maritime Museum) were completed.

The Foundation Stone was laid by the Bishop of Norwich on 6th July 1857, and it was consecrated for worship on 22nd April 1858.

You will find the date inscribed along the bottom of the stained-glass window in the north aisle near the Memorial Chapel.   

The first Minister was Rev'd Frederick William Johnson, but his ministry was cut tragically short when he died suddenly on the 20th December 1859 - just 3 weeks before his 29th birthday - and on the day he was to be married!  His brothers, beachmen, fishermen, and members of the congregation later erected two central stained-glass windows at the west end of the church in his memory.  The windows portray the Nativity of Christ.  In 1907 two more windows were erected to celebrate the 50th Jubilee of St. John's.  The north aisle was added in 1878, and the south aisle and transept in 1884.  The apsidal Sanctuary was raised and repaved in 1939 in memory of John Goode when Rev'd A W Hall Atkin was in charge.
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