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Gallery: Churches of Kent
by Peter Kessler, 14 December 2012
Canterbury Part 15: Churches of Shalmsford
Street & Chartham
Shalmsford Street Salvation Army hall
stands alongside a community hall on the north-east corner of
Shalmsford Street and Bolts Hill. Shalmsford Street is a small
hamlet on the western edge of Chartham, and is part of that parish.
It is not known when the hall was built, but the early 1900s seems
an appropriate period. It and the hall next to it appeared disused
in 2012, which is backed-up by a refused planning application in
2008 to demolish both in favour of building flats.
Shalmsford Street Chapel lies in a small
plot on the northern side of Shalmsford Street, approximately forty
metres (yards) east of the junction with Thruxted Lane. The chapel
appears to have been opened by the Primitive Methodists, probably in
the period between 1880-1910, which would be typical for these small
chapels. It later closed as a Methodist chapel and was derelict for
a while before being converted into two self-contained private
residences before 2012.
Chartham Cemetery Chapel is within the cemetery
grounds on the northern side of the Ashford Road, directly north of the
Shalmsford Street/Bolts Hill junction on the map. The cemetery was laid
out by the parish council in 1899 to replace the use of the churchyard at
St Mary the Virgin Chartham (see below). The chapel was erected at the
same time, between 1899-1901. The former cemetery lodge was being privately
leased for a time but has since been sold to a private buyer.
St Mary the Virgin's Church Chartham occupies
a large plot with a churchyard on the south-western corner of Station
Road and Church Lane in the heart of the village. The River Stour runs
through the middle of this late Saxon settlement, which gained its
flint-built church around 1294. Following an attack by Danes, the parish
was in the possession of Christ Church Canterbury until the Dissolution,
and it remained a possession of the see of Canterbury as recently as 1800.
The church has one aisle and a chancel, with a small
transept at the centre of the building. The church underwent some
Victorian renovation, but this has not visible harmed the exterior.
It contains the brass of Sir Robert de Septvans, a crusader knight who
died in 1306, which is considered to be one of the finest in the country.
The west tower, which was constructed in the fifteenth century, is reputed
to contain the oldest ring of five bells in Kent.