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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 14 December 2012

 

 

Canterbury Part 13: Churches of Hersden to Chislet

Maypole Wesleyan Church

Maypole Wesleyan Church is on the eastern side of Maypole Road, seventy-five metres (yards) or so south of the lower junction with Maypole Lane at the Prince of Wales pub. Maypole is part of the parish of Hoath which, at the 1851 census, had a Wesleyan 'church' in an outbuilding belonging to Richard Larkin, blacksmith. In 1860 the village's Methodists opened a dedicated chapel at Maypole. It was still open in 1894, but closed afterwards and is now a private residence.

Holy Cross Church

Holy Cross Church, Hoath, lies on the northern side of Church Road, a hundred metres west of the junction with Marley Lane. The church was probably built during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272). Until then, the inhabitants of Hoath had to walk to St Mary's (Old) Church Reculver, around six kilometres (four miles) away. Although they had a new church, they were not permitted to carry out burials until 1303, and they only gained their own resident priest in 1310.

Holy Cross Church

The tower contains three bells, one dated to 1500 and the other two to 1696. Robert Hunt, vicar of Reculver and Hoath in 1594, had been born in the village around 1570. He emigrated to the James River colony in Virginia in 1607, where he celebrated the first Anglican Communion in the new colonies, laying the basis for the Episcopalian church in the later United States. Today, the churchyard at Hoath is closed for burials but is open for the internment of ashes.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin Chislet

The Church of St Mary the Virgin Chislet stands inside a wide churchyard on the eastern side of Church Lane, just north of the s-bend into Sandpit Hill and about two hundred metres (yards) south of Chitty Lane. This large rural parish which overlooks the Wantsum gained the nave and tower of its huge church soon after the Norman conquest. Built of coursed rubble with Caen stone dressings, its tower once had a brached shingled spire, but only the stump remains.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin Chislet

The building gained a chancel and aisles in the thirteenth century and a font in the fourteenth. At the west end of the north aisle was a priest's chamber at first floor level, but only the windows and the brackets that supported the floor survive. It is the only church still in use in Kent that has a central tower which is not a crossing point for side transepts. Today the nave serves as a community hall while the north aisle is a storage area. Worship is carried out in the chancel.

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