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The Church

St John's church, BrightwellSt John’s is a small church crowning the north side of the pretty green valley which houses the tiny Mill River and the small collection of dwellings of Brightwell village. It’s a famous scene - the well known painter John Constable sat on the south side of the valley to complete his commission from Rev F H Barnwell in 1815, and his 9x6 inch painting of the church is now in the Tate Gallery.

Dating from the 13th century with a small nave but no chancel, St John’s has its own unique character and atmosphere. Worship here is an intimate community experience, heralded by the ringing of the single bell in the tower.

Like so many churches that have stood for centuries this one, seating a congregation of up to fifty on the narrow pews, has undergone many changes, mostly by way of restoration and improvement. The roof was rebuilt and the tower added in the 1650’s. More recent additions or changes occurred in the mid 20th century with the donation of the altar table and priest’s stall.

Looking at St John's from across the fieldsWithin the last few years the church has had a hearing loop installed and access has been improved to the car park via the entrance to Hall Farm during service times. At last toilet facilities have been provided in a small purpose built “office” in the churchyard alongside the newly constructed path from the car park.

We can assure you that the warm welcome and good fellowship of the church community. There’s no need to rush away afterwards, as refreshments are served to encourage a time of fellowship at the end of each Evensong service.

Outside of service times, parking can be accommodated in a small unmade lay-by opposite the church; the approach can then be made up the steep sloping path and through the wrought iron gate under the arch.

Since 1993 much change has occurred in estate and property ownership in Brightwell, which had remained untouched since before 1939. The congregation’s main mission is now to recreate a community spirit in the village. Happily, through God’s love, this is being achieved with the help of a small but enthusiastic group of parishioners.

Facilities: hearing loop, ramp access, composting toilets in churchyard, parking during the week in lay-by opposite; for services car park accessed via entrance to Brightwell Hall Farm just downhill from the church.