From the outside, the church of Saint John the Baptist, Lound, looks like a typical small East Anglian church (1), with a 12th c. round tower and a nave with 14th c. fenestration looking suspiciously restored. Until you cross the threshold, you’d never believe that the locals call it the ‘Golden Church’. The Rev. Booth Lynes (Rector 1908-1917) commissioned Ninian Comper to carry out a restoration at a time when his work at St. Cyprian’s, Clarence Gate, was familiar. You are immediately struck by the screen, a revamped version of the mediaeval one, topped by a new loft and rood group (2), and with an additional altar on the south side, topped with an attractive reredos with paintings of the Virgin Mary, St. Mary Salome and St. Elizabeth (3). These nave altars were common in mediaeval East Anglia, and the famous example at Ranworth had already been restored. A counterbalance at the other end of the nave is provide by a towering gilded and pinnacled cover to the 15th c. font, and by an large organ case at the west end of the nave (4). Facing the main entrance is a large wall painting of Saint Christopher (5), just as there would have been in the 15th c., though the mediaeval one would not have had a background picture of Comper driving his Rolls Royce, not a DH Comet airliner, the latter an addition of 1964. In the background, the High Altar is a Comper special, with riddel posts, hangings and frontal (6). All quite exquisite.


For more, read: – A. Symondson and S. A. Bucknell, Sir Ninian Comper, Spire Books and the Ecclesiological Society, Reading, 2006.