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Gallery: Churches of Kent
by Peter Kessler, 14 December 2012
Canterbury Part 13: Churches of Hersden to
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
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.
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
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 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.