Serving God and the Community
St John the Baptist


Thinking back on the 1939-1945 war, it is well to record our blessings in the preservation of our Church, for in spite of the fact that the first bomb to fall on Leytonstone fell in our churchyard, afterwards to be followed in our immediate area by as done to flying bombs" and rockets, very little serious damage was done to the Church. During the early years of the war we had a daughter the Church known as "The Tunnel". This was the underground tunnel at Gainsborough Bridge Church where many people took shelter from air raids. Here the Rev. E. Shipman did outstanding work, holding regular Sunday Services, often with Congregations of over a thousand.

St - John's has been seen in an unusual light on many occasions when flood-lighting has illuminated the building by night, giving it a strange beauty of soft lines melting into surrounding darkness. The first of these occasions was when many prominent buildings in London and elsewhere were floodlit to celebrate the centenary of the discovery of electric lighting by Michael Faraday in 1831. The second was during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of King George V in 1935. In 1945, on the ending of the war in Europe, St. John's was again floodlit to celebrate the victory. Since then the church has bought its own floodlighting equipment which is used at Festivals and on special occasions.

We are often congratulated on our fine Peal of bells. Mr. Davis, of "The Pastures", gave a peal of six bells to the church in lieu of the ground he had offered for the building. These bells were cast by the very old-established firm of bell founders, Mears, of Whitechapel, and were named after the ladies of the Cotton and Davis families: -

3rd Agnes

4th Phoebe

5th Sarah

6th Eliza

7th Dorothy Anne.

The Tenor is inscribed- "This bell with five others to form a by peal, was presented to the new chapel of Leytonstone by William Davis, Esq., AD 1833".

In 1936 the Ringing Exercise gave two Treble Bells in memory of a great Ringer, William Pye, who lived in Leytonstone for many years. These bells were cast by Messrs. Gillet & Johnstone of Croydon, and bear the inscriptions:

Treble: "William Pye, 1870-1935. The two trebles of this peal were given by the Ringing Exercise in memory of a great ringer".

2nd: "All these were honoured in their generation; And were the glory of their times!

Another name we may remember here is that of George Dawson, bell-ringer for 54 years. A plaque to his memory can be seen in the church porch.