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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler & Arthur Percival, 11 September 2010. Updated 29 August 2012

 

 

Swale Part 10: Churches of Otterden, Newnham & Tonge

Otterden Chapel of St Laurence

Otterden Chapel stands next door to Otterden Place, on the eastern side of the meeting point between Otterden Road and Bunce Court Road. Otterden is now in the parish of 'Stalisfield with Otterden', but before the Dissolution it had a parish of its own, as did neighbouring Burdefield. The now lost church of St Laurence Burdefield consisted of two small isles and a chancel, without a steeple, and stood about fifty yards eastwards from the corner of the later Otterden Place.

Otterden Chapel of St Laurence

Formerly belonging to Davington Nunnery, near Faversham, the old church was probably abandoned at the Dissolution. By the reign of Charles I it was a ruin. In 1753-1754, the owner of Otterden Place constructed the present chapel in red brick with rustic quoins and window-cases. It was built over the foundations of part of the old church, which stood about six metres (twenty feet) more towards the east. The chapel is now normally used for services only in the summer.

Church of St Peter & St Paul, Newnham

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Newnham, sits on the south-west corner of The Street and Warren Street in the centre of the village. The settlement developed in the valley beneath a Briton hill fort. During the reign of Henry I (1110-1135), Hugh de Newenham was lord of the manor and gained his name from the village. He is believed to have built the original manor house, as well as beginning the building of the church (which is seen in these photos from 1999).

Church of St Peter & St Paul, Newnham

Hugh's son, Faulk de Newenham, founded Davington Nunnery nearby in 1153, which held the advowson of the church. The nunnery had failed by the time of the Dissolution. The church itself was built over the course of twenty years in the late thirteenth century. The following century a chapel was added for the family at the manor house, Champion Court. The church fell into decay in the late 1500s, and was unsympathetically restored by the Revered James Bower in the 1860s.

Church of St Giles, Tonge

The Church of St Giles, Tonge, stands on the eastern side of Church Road, a little under three hundred metres (yards) north of the railway line which cuts through the hamlet. Tonge was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1087, although construction of its church was not begun until the 1200s. Additions were made in the fourteenth century, probably including the semi-detached south tower, as this is the period in which most English churches gained a tower.

Church of St Giles, Tonge

The building is mostly flint, with red brick buttresses, chancel and plain tiled roofs. A good deal of Roman tile is in evidence in the building, as well as some curious red-coloured stone in the lower walls. The nave and aisles are contained under a single roof. The church was restored in the early seventeenth century, and again in 1893, when the timber-framed porch was installed. Inside, a seven-sided pulpit was fitted in the seventeenth century with an incised lozenge decoration.

All photos on this page contributed by Arthur Percival.

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