The magnificent church of St John the Evangelist in Staplegrove on the outskirts of Taunton dates back to the 13th century. Taunton Deane Borough Council has designated Staplegrove as a site for an ‘Urban Extension’ to Taunton and outline planning applications to build around 1,600 houses have now been approved. All this will increase the parish population from about 2,400 to some 6,500 over the next ten years. The church had to accommodate these changes and reinvent itself for the 21st century, which is why it has recently undertaken a major restoration programme under the guidance of Richard Codd of Chedburn Dudley Architects.
The key elements of the restoration were: the creation of a large flexible space out of the nave and north aisle; a roof light in the porch creating a more welcoming entrance to the building; LED lighting, improved sound systems and underfloor heating; the redesign of the south transept to create a welcoming meeting space; better use of the chancel by removing the fixed choir pews and enlarging the sanctuary; and installing a pitched glazed roof light in the porch creating a more welcoming entrance to the building.
Treske designed and made the seating using a mix of Treske St Mary chairs, armchairs and benches, as well as Treske St Nicholas folding chairs stored in cupboards that can be brought out to seat around 150 people. The church can now easily create different seating patterns not only for the additional secular uses for the church but also innovative service arrangements including gathering around the font for baptisms.
As part of a wide-ranging modernisation of the interior of the church, which was completely emptied of the old box pews, Treske designed and manufactured 36 oak stacking benches, 24 oak side chairs and 16 oak armchairs, together with a special altar table.
This 12th century church was reordered with the comfortable Treske St Mary's benches, chairs and armchairs.
Major good fortune enables Holy Trinity to undertake a complete reorder, including sanctuary, choir and nave furniture from Treske.