History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 7 August 2011



Tunbridge Wells Part 4: Churches of Tunbridge Wells

St John's Church

St John's Church occupies a large plot at the south-east corner of St John's Road and Queen's Road. The church was built in 1858 and gained its own parish in 1859, taken from Holy Trinity. In 1896 it underwent alterations and enlargements which saw the original small tower and spire replaced by the current four-tier tower. It is in the Early English style, and is constructed of rag stone, with Bath stone dressings. The architect was Gough of Lancaster Place, London.

Woodbury Park Cemetery Chapel

Woodbury Park Cemetery Chapel and the cemetery itself consists of an attractive and sheltered wooded site behind the bus garage (formerly Salem Chapel) on the southern side of Woodbury Park Road. It was consecrated as Trinity Cemetery in 1849. Virtually full by the 1870s, the cemetery was closed for burials in 1935 and the site began to decay. It has been completely repaired and restored since 2006 by the Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery.

Tunbridge Wells Baptist Church

Tunbridge Wells Baptist Church occupies a plot on the eastern side of Upper Grosvenor Road, opposite Grosvenor Walk. Members of the Baptist congregation formed a new church in 1873, opening the Gothic Baptist Tabernacle on the northern side of nearby Calverley Road in 1883. The building was brightly 're-electrified' in 1928, but was closed in 1938 when the present building was opened. The old tabernacle building was subsequently demolished.

Brethren Meeting Room

The Brethren Meeting Room is on the southern side of Hill Street, off Goods Station Road. This unassuming north-facing red brick building was originally the location for the small Hill Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. This chapel was closed at the Methodist union of 1932, when its membership was amalgamated with that of Camden Road (see below). The Brethren then moved here from Salem Chapel. There is also a York Street Brethren Meeting in the town.

St Barnabas Church

St Barnabas Church stands boldly at the north-east corner of Stanley Road and St Stephen's Court. The foundation stone was laid on 11 May 1887 and the church was built in 1889-1890, replacing St Stephens Mission, which had been opened in 1870. The church gained a parish in 1881 from St James Church (see below). The building is of red brick and stone and was designed by J E R and C P Cutts, architects, of London. The site is now very hemmed in by dwellings.

Albion Road Congregational Church

Albion Road Congregational Church is at the south-west corner of Albion Road, overlooking the junction with Granville Road to the west. The Gothic building was erected in 1873, thanks to the generous help of two gentlemen residents of the town, to serve the then-new district of the town beyond the Camden Road. It accommodated 400 on the ground floor, but it was closed around 1929. The building has since been converted for use as a private residence.

Church of Christ

The Church of Christ sits in a narrow site on the southern side of Commercial Road, approximately thirty metres west of the junction with Camden Road. The yellow brick building was erected in 1877 to serve as the Christians Meeting House. From that date it was occupied by the Disciples of Christ. The church also has a meeting place in Cambrian Road, High Brooms, which is now a north-eastern suburb of Tunbridge Wells.

Calvary Church Camden Centre

Calvary Church Camden Centre, 'The Church in the Market Place', is on the southern side of Victoria Road, opposite the curve of Albert Street to the immediate north. It possibly replaced Camden Road Primitive Methodist Chapel on Camden Road, just metres to the east of the current site. This opened in 1857 (rebuilt in 1878), along with Down Lane Primitive Methodist Church (1874-1884). The latter was sold and the former closed in 1980, prior to demolition.

St James Church Tunbridge Wells

St James Church Tunbridge Wells occupies a wide plot at the north-east corner of St James Road and Sandrock Road, overlooking Stone Street. The church was built in 1860-1862 and gained a parish of its own in the same year, taken from Holy Trinity Church. It was erected to serve the spiritual needs of this increasing neighbourhood, at a cost of 6,000, and was consecrated on 15 May 1862. Of the 1,050 sittings which the church contains, about 400 were free in 1898.

St James Church Tunbridge Wells

The wood and stone used in its construction were presented by Ward & Ward of the Calverley Estate. The design was based on Ewan Christian's Whitehall Place, Westminster, and an additional aisle was added on the northern side in 1883 to accommodate overcrowding. The church is constructed of rough dressed coursed local sandstone with ashlar quoins to openings and buttresses. The roof is a large gabled nave with gabled aisles to the north and south.

In Depth
In Depth


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