St John’s was originally built in 1879 on the edge of the moors or ‘Ranmoor’. A number of steel magnates were building houses in the area and they wanted a church to worship in. The land for the church was given by James W. Harrison and it was paid for by John Newton Mappin. St John’s was built in the early English Gothic style. Originally, it had no pillars and an open timbered roof spanned the whole structure.
After just 8 years on 2nd January 1887, the church was destroyed by fire. Only the tower, the tallest in Sheffield at almost 200 feet, survived thanks to the courageous action of Superintendent Pound.
Funds were quickly raised to rebuild St John’s. Mr E. M. Gibbs of Flockton and Gibbs was commissioned to design the new church and it reopened on 9th September 1888.
St John’s is built of Ancaster stone with deeply undercut mouldings and richly carved capitals, the work of Mr Frank Tory. He also carved the alabaster reredos which depicts the Last Supper with the figures of St Peter and St Paul on either side.
PICTURE LAST SUPPER CARVING
The font was given by the children of the parish after the fire. Around it are carved the ark, a chalice, dove and three fishes. The latter are an emblem of the Holy Trinity.
PICTURE OF FONT
The pulpit was given in 1888 by J. Cowlshaw. It is made of oak and marble with carved figures of the four Evangelists, each carrying an open book bearing their emblems: the face of a man (Matthew), a lion (Mark), an ox (Luke) and an eagle (John).
The brass lectern is one of only two in the country. It was given by Mr and Mrs C. H. Firth of Riverdale in 1892.
St John’s has many spectacular stained glass windows. The rose window at the west end was made by H. Victor Milner in 1914 and depicts Christ in glory. On the north side of the nave another window commemorates Ted and Harry Colver, two brothers from Ranmoor who both died in the First World War.
In 1991 the church was reordered with a central nave alter which is designed to represent the carpenter’s bench and the table of the Last Supper. The woodwork in the chancel and entrance was limed to give a lighter feel to the church.
This year we are celebrating 140 years of worship since the church building reopened after the fire.
Our custodial responsibilities
We are very aware of our responsibilities as the current custodians of this beautiful building and are keen to preserve it for future generations. At the same time it is not ideally adapted to our current patterns of worship and our wider needs. We have therefore been working for some time on plans to build an annexe to the north of the church to incorporate meeting rooms including facilities for our Sunday Schools and youth work, space for food and drink preparation, improved toilet facilities and additional space for the church’s musicians.
The Ranmoor Society - A local history group focusing on Sheffield’s Victorian suburb of Ranmoor and the neighbouring areas of Hangingwater and Nether Green. For further information please visit the website: