A Norman church, rebuilt by the Georgians, restored by the Victorians.
The approach along the main road does not prepare the visitor for what Gressingham church holds. First appearances suggest a Georgian and Victorian building, but one look from the south tells us that an older church lies hidden.
The plain west tower of 1734 is quite narrow and not particularly tall. Decoration is restricted to horizontal and vertical bands, and a mullioned west window. The bell openings are small with no elaborations. There are no pinnacles, or any other treatment to ornament the top of the tower, and one wonders whether the ascetic look of the tower was prompted by religious attitude or restricted finances.
The body of the church, as well as the tower, is largely the result of the major rebuilding of 1734. It is plain work, and evidently too much so for the Victorians, for in 1862 extensive restoration was carried out. The Lancaster architect, E.G. Paley, was employed and he remodelled the Georgian windows in the Gothic style that we see today.
Neither the Georgians nor the Victorians appear to have changed the Norman south doorway of three orders. The arches have unusual mouldings – the zigzags of the outer order are placed on rope moulding of the middle order, with the inner order being plain. The capitals are simple chamfered blocks adorned only by a pair of horizontal lines.
Inside the church is a Perpendicular north arcade to the single aisle. East of this is a small chapel entered by Perpendicular arches. It holds a massive Victorian (1867) tomb to George Marton that rather overwhelms its site. The plain pulpit dated 1714, overlooks box pews. Fragments of Saxon sculpture are kept in the church.
Of noteworthy stained glass, are two windows by Morris & Co., described by Pevsner as “late and bad”. However, easily the most interesting and beautiful glass is a window of 1958 depicting St John, with a portrait of the church, by Harcourt Doyle.