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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler & Arthur Percival, 27 June 2010

 

 

Swale Part 6: Churches of Goodnestone, Graveney & Oare

St Bartholomew's Church

St Bartholomew's Church is in Goodnestone-next-Faversham, part of the parish of Goodnestone and Graveney. It is a trim and tiny Norman country church, alone on its small knoll above Goodnestone Court, whose owning family it served, along with the estate workers. The Normans built its nave and chancel in around 1100 and later builders added more windows. The porch was rebuilt in 1837 after an earth tremor, and a rustic tiled and timbered bell-cote crowns the nave.

St Bartholomew's Church

Inside, part of the roof loft staircase, two piscinae and a tomb which may have been used as an Easter Sepulchre, survive from medieval times. There is a miniature nineteenth century font, Willement glass in the east window and two sixteenth century brass inscriptions to a couple who departed 'in the fayth of Christe'. Victorian restoration work was restrained, probably in acceptance of the fact that not much needed doing to the structurally sound building.

All Saints Church

All Saints Church is in the village of Graveney, situated on the edge of the wide and flat marshes which overlook The Swale estuary, three kilometres (two miles) east of Faversham. In AD 811, King Coenwulf of Mercia, who had also made a successful take over bid for the kingdom of Kent, sold the manor of Graveney to Wulfred, archbishop of Canterbury, for the use of Christ Church, Canterbury. Domesday Book records the manor as being tenanted by the de Gravene family.

All Saints Church

The date of construction is not known, but the style is twelfth century. Box pews were installed in 1823 but they were bulky and uncomfortable. By 1925 there were moves to replace them with chairs, but the cost was high, so the pews remain. A hand-coloured photograph of around 1895 shows a tree that has not survived, but unlike most churches in the area, this one was not heavily restored by the Victorians, and has changed little, inside or out, for around 200 years.

St Peter's Church Oare

St Peter's Church Oare lies on the eastern side of Church Road, not far north of The Street. The area is on a sharp ridge which overlooks Oare Creek as the water heads southwards to Faversham. The parish was a chapelry of Stalisfield, an up-country and rather remote parish. Its Norman flint church was built in the twelfth century, and was added to in the thirteenth century. The chancel was extended eastwards in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century.

St Peter's Church Oare

Some time afterwards the old east window was taken out and replaced by a larger one in the Perpendicular style. In the 1860s, the Victorian architect Joseph Clarke added a number of unusual features including some fine stained glass produced by the artist F C Eden. The bell cote, which existed in 1803, was probably replaced by the present semi-tower at the same time. Further restoration work on the Grade I listed building started in April 2003.

Five photos and text on this page contributed by Arthur Percival.

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