St John the Baptist, Eastover is a modern church by comparison, was first consecrated for public worship on August 17th 1846, by the Bishop of Bath & Wells (Bishop Bagot)

The Rev J M Capes , M A of Balliol College , Oxford was the gentleman to whom the parishioners are indebted for the church, hearing that the district of Eastover contained 3,000 people he offered to build a church at his own expense, provided a small endowment could be raised by the locals for the support of a minister.

A public meeting was held at the assize-hall (now the Town Hall) by the Mayor and there was a large attendance including the Bishop and Rev Capes.

His lordship introduced Mr Capes who addressed the meeting setting forth his views upon the matter, inviting discussion and concluding by reiterating the offer he had made. He stated that he had been for some time looking for a suitable parish in which to build a church and had been recommended to Eastover by the Rev J H Pinder of Wells.

After a brief discussion the following resolution, proposed by Sir Peregrine Acland and seconded by Mr Ruscombe Poole, was carried:- “That this meeting returns its grateful thanks to the Rev J.M Capes for his munificent and disinterested offer to build a new church in Eastover provided an adequate endowment can be raised by subscription for the minister without the aid of pew rents and pledges itself to use its best exertions to comply with the conditions annexed to the offer.”

Land was later bought and the church erected at a cost of between £5,000 and £6,000 which was at the expense of Mr Capes himself, but on the 23rd June 1845 after its completion he announced his withdrawal from the ministry of the Church of England and his determination to join the Roman Catholic Church.
It was the original intention of Mr Capes to have a spire to the church and such was provided for in the architect’s drawings, but owing to a settlement in the foundations the idea was not carried out. (see sketch )

The pinnacles were added at the expense of the Rev N.H.C. Ruddock in 1887 have however, greatly improved the appearance of the tower. A parsonage and school was also built at the same time.
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