The name og the church tells us it was named after the lepers' patron saint, St. John. Where the church stands today was the site of a small wooden church from abt. 1150. Around the church was a collection of houses, where the lepers - banished from Svendborg - lived. Around the early middle age Sct. Jørgen-house had become so wealthy that a start was made of building a church of stone around the little wooden church. At the end of medieval times the church got its tower at the west end. In the church tower hangs a bell from 1424 with an embedded relief showing St. John killing the dragon.