This church, at a roundabout where six roads intersect, is a Newbury landmark. It was built of local Berkshire red brick in 1955-57 to replace one completely - and uniquely in the diocese - destroyed by enemy bombs in 1943. I particularly wanted to visit when I read that the stained glass windows were made of fragments of Victorian glass from bombed out churches, including the original St John’s. These windows provide a perfect link to the history of the church as well as being one of my favourite types of decorative stained glass - just look at that startled little face below surrounded by careful borders and gorgeous pieces of pattern.
Other distinctive features inside the building include the tester suspended over the altar (above left) and the flat painted ceilings with lights forming part of the pattern (above right) - what a joy! The side aisles show off brickwork skills in the vaulted arches, with a row of subtle patterned stained glass roundels in the same restricted colour palette (below).
All of the fragment windows are in the east end of the church and high above your head. They are attributed to the church’s architect Stephen Dykes-Bower and the stained glass designer A.E. Buss and were made by the firm of Goddard and Gibbs in Shoreditch. The combination of patterned borders and geometric medallion shapes with the scraps of faces, limbs, inscriptions, buildings and the like is expertly judged. I love the way that order has come from the chaos of the broken fragments, with colours grouped together to make a set of windows that are absolutely perfect for this amazing building.