The Church Grounds

The church sits on a corner of Holmwood Common, given to the church by Henry, 15th Duke of Norfolk whose family owned the common until 1956 when it became National Trust property. The plot is small, bounded on two sides by the common and on the other two by Inholms Lane.

A piece of land on the south side of the church was used to build the Parish Room and the rest is grassed.

The north side, bounded by Inholms Lane is grassed again but has a fine yew tree and the church flagpole, used on Remembrance Sunday and other similar occasions.

The grounds at the east end are given to the Garden of Remembrance which is divided into two levels, separated by the Memorial Steps. The steps were constructed in the 1990s to provide easy access from one level to the other and also to provide a place where permanent memorials could be located. Memorials are, by law, not permitted in the Garden itself or it would become classified as a churchyard. The steps and the associated walls provide somewhere where flowers may be left and plaques may be fixed.

Just outside the Garden of Remembrance and on National Trust property, is the Parish Millenium yew tree. At the Millenium, every parish in the country was encouraged to plant a yew tree and St John’s has a perfectly true story about it’s tree. The person designated to collect it from the nursery, expecting something of significant size, hired a large van to go and get it. He was surprised and a little embarassed when the nursery attendant proffered him a 3 inch seedling in a small plastic flower pot! However, our yew tree is now very healthy and well protected by a wooden fence and wire netting. Being a very slow growing tree, it will be a few years yet before it can do without it’s protection. The square fence can be clearly seen in the photograph but the tree itself is hiding behind a fence post!

At the west end, there are two trees, which tower over the church spire; a few other trees and a lawn where teas are served on Sunday afternoons during the summer months. On the other side of the boundary fence is one of the main access footpaths onto Holmwood Common and can get very busy with walkers and cyclists . The west end has the main door to church so the lawn and the surrounding area feature on almost all wedding photographs taken at the church.