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Gallery: Churches of Kent
by Peter Kessler, 23 January 2011
Tonbridge & Malling Part 1: Churches of
Aylesford & Eccles
The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Alyesford,
lies on the northern side of the High Street, opposite Station Road,
overlooking the ford across the River Medway. It is probably at this ford
that Hengist and Horsa are said to have been victorious at the Battle of
∆gelesthrep (Aylesford) in 455, paving the way for the creation of the
Jutish kingdom of Kent. Possibly a Saxon chapel existed here before the
stone Norman church was built, probably in the early twelfth century.
The earliest remaining part of the present building is
the lower part of the Norman tower. The church consists of two similarly
proportioned naves with their chancels, which are separated by fourteenth
century pillars, the naves having more slender fifteenth century pillars.
Restorations were carried out in 1851, and later in 1878 by Henry Arthur
Brassey (1840-1891), who also restored the tower and bells in 1885. All
the stained glass is Victorian. The organ dates from 1865.
The Church in Eccles (Methodist Church) is on
the western side of Bull Lane, just above the junction with Cork Street.
The name of this small village, 'Eccles', derives from the Latin word
'ecclesia', meaning church, suggesting that a post-Roman Christian
community existed in the village after the Roman withdrawal and into the
Jutish-Saxon period in Kent. Eccles church, whose date of construction
is unknown, serves as a sister to the nearby Burham Methodist Church.