After a doctorate at Oxford University on microsample preparation for radiocarbon dating, John joined the UK Research Councils where he held a range of posts before retiring in 2013. Whilst with the Research Councils John undertook a part time BA in archaeology at Bristol University. His dissertation looked at the relationship between the Domesday population of a parish and the size of the nave of its parish church for surviving Norman churches in Wiltshire. Using a statistical approach he was able to show a highly significant correlation between population and nave area. A summary of this research is given in an article in Volume 14 of Church Archaeology.
Since the dissertation he has extended this research to other counties and has found that the same correlation exists in all the counties that he has so far been able to study. This research has also led to him joining the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland (CRSBI) where he is Fieldwork Coordinator. He is also extending his statistical approach to other aspects of Norman church architecture.