Lound Church is a ‘round tower church’, commonly found in Norfolk and Suffolk, but rare elsewhere. The tower base in early Norman, but was probably rebuilt and raised to its present height (57′) along with most of the main construction in the C13 and C14. The tower houses the belfry and our three bells.
Sir John Betjeman famously called St. John the Baptist ‘the Golden Church’ because the interior is richly decorated with gold leaf.
It was not always so; this old photo shows an unpretentious Mediaeval interior, with plain Early English windows, a carved C14 screen, carved wooden reredos (actually very beautiful), a Jacobean pulpit, a plain stone font (albeit on a Perpendicular base which shows scars of the Reformation) and Victorian pews.
Two Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows by Henry Holiday, on either side of the Chancel started a transformation. In 1912 the then Rector, Fr. Booth Lynes, commissioned Ninian Comper (later Sir Ninian), a young church architect and designer, to restore to the church what he deemed might have been its Mediaeval glory.
The High Altar was dressed with Spanish silk dorsal hangings. A new, intricately carved and decorated rood screen was erected over the original wooden screen and the Lady Altar given three richly gilded and decorated gesso panels depicting the three Marys.
A gilded steepled cover was installed over the font, raised and lowered by means of an ingenious pulley system from the also highly decorated transom above.
Comper was also responsible for installing the organ, and himself regarded the organ case as his finest work. His work completed around the end of WW1, Comper was asked in 1920 to design the village war memorial, which is outside the church on the south wall.
Other interesting features include the ‘squint’, unusually placed in the west wall; the St. Christopher mural, ‘updated’ in 1913 to include Ninian Comper’s Rolls Royce, and again in 1964 with a British Britannia aircraft; the remains of a Scratch Dial on the buttress east of the Priest’s door. There is a full printed guide, giving a great deal more detailed information, available in the church.