The church of St John the Baptist has 12th century origins; a remarkable west doorway and south tympanum survive of this period.  The north aisle was added in the 15th century. In 1814 the church was partly ruinous; substantial works included dismantling the crossing tower and the building of a new tower at the west end of the north aisle. The chancel was enlarged in 1825 and the upper parts of the tower rebuilt in 1863. Other 19th century works included replacement windows.

Very little graffiti is evident in the main body of the church, probably due to the cleaning associated with refurbishments of the past. On a pier of the north aisle there is a triangle and a ladder motif in close association with one other – these are potentially early in date. An arrow on the tower doorway is curious and does not look very old – post-dating the construction of the tower in the early 19th century.  Arrows are not uncommon as apotropaic (protective) marks, but it is not known if they were used in this way at such a late date.

Most of the surviving graffiti is in the  tower, on stone evidently re-used from an earlier context – quite possibly the original tower.

 It is located on the first floor window surrounds and consists of initials and  dates, some of which are now upside down and truncated. The dates include 1689, 1724, 1760 and 1816.

Please note that the graffiti in the tower is not normally accessible to the public for safety reasons.

Bishopsteignton, St John the Baptist