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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 30 August 2009. Updated 13 December 2012

Canterbury Part 5: Churches of Canterbury

St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Canterbury, Kent

St Andrew's Presbyterian Church lay on Wincheap Green, on the corner of Station Road East and Pin Hill, overlooking the Wincheap Roundabout. The Presbyterians broke away from Guildhall Street Congregational Church in 1875, and in 1880-1881 they erected this later Early English style church on the green. The Presbyterians merged with St Andrew's Watling Street (below) in 1973 and the church was demolished to make way for a project which was never begun.

St Mary de Castro Church, Canterbury, Kent

The site of St Mary de Castro Church is thought to be where the White Hart public house now stands, at Worthington Place on Castle Row. The former churchyard behind and to its left is now Mary de Castro public park, which has a brick wall lined with tombstones. The church was demolished in 1486 and its parish merged with St Mildred's, although it was not the earliest victim of parish rationalisation in Canterbury. Little detail survives regarding the church building.

St John the Baptist's Church, Canterbury, Kent

St John the Baptist's Church, also known as St John the Poor due to its slender income, stood at the southern end of St John's Lane, in what is now the western part of Watling Street car park. It was built in 746 by Archbishop Cuthbert, but it declined and in 1349 was united to St Mary de Castro. The remains were used as a malt house and tenements until demolition in 1520. The burial ground was leased in 1538, with the altar stone, paving tiles and steeple timber sold off.

St Margaret's Church, Canterbury, Kent

St Margaret's Church is on the street of the same name. The main building was a fourteenth and fifteenth century rebuild of an earlier Norman church, although the original west door survives. Drastic restoration work was undertaken in 1850, when a stair turret was added to the tower, but the 1942 bombing severely damaged the church. It was adapted as a chapel in 1957, declared redundant in 1990, and converted for the Canterbury Tales visitor attraction.

St Mary Bredman, Canterbury, Kent

St Mary Bredman, on the High Street almost opposite Mercery Lane, was built before 1160. Probably a Norman church, the name 'Bredman' reveals its connection to the bread market which was next to it. Rebuilt in 1828, the church was demolished in 1900 and a small public space created with a Crimean War memorial at its centre. The church's name is now spelt 'Breadman' on the plaque on the wall there. The churchyard lies underneath Nason's department store.

St Andrew (Old Church), Canterbury, Kent

St Andrew (Old Church) stood at The Parade (formerly Middle Row), on the High Street. When the old church was built is unknown, but it was probably Norman, if not Saxon. It had one isle, one chancel, and a west spire steeple. It stood in the middle of the street, with a narrow lane on each side of it for the thoroughfare. The west door was at the crossing between Mercery Lane and St Margaret's Street. By 1679, the town watch used this door as a stand for one of their units.

St Andrew (Old Church), Canterbury, Kent

In 1754, Archbishop Abbott's water conduit, behind the church to the east, opposite Angel (Butchery Lane) was removed. The church itself (at the bottom of this reconstruction) was taken down in 1763 and fully rebuilt in modern red brick, set in a small recess on the west side of the street, with two aisles, chancel, and square tower. Opened in 1773, it finally closed in the 1880s, and was demolished in 1956. The site of the Renaissance-style entrance is now a cash point.

St Mary Bredin (Old) Church, Canterbury, Kent

St Mary Bredin (Old) Church was on the north side of Rose Lane (now under Bhs). The Norman flint church was built by William Fitz-Hamon, William 'the Conqueror's man. It had a turret, spire, and three bells. Known as Little Lady Dungeon Church, from its smallness and proximity to the dungeon, it was rebuilt to a far grander scale in 1867 with a tall spire (added 1881). It was destroyed during the Baedaker raids of 1942, and St Mary Bredin (New) Church replaced it.

St Andrew's United Reformed Church, Canterbury, Kent

St Andrew's United Reformed Church is on the corner of Watling Street and Marlowe Avenue. A Countess of Huntingdon chapel was built on the opposite side of Watling Street in 1863 and vied with Guildhall Street Church for members. As Watling Street Congregational Church, a new building was erected on the site in 1953. St Andrew's Presbyterian Church merged with it in 1972, and the Whitefriars redevelopment saw the old building demolished in favour of this one.

St Edmund of Ridingate, Canterbury, Kent

St Edmund of Ridingate (Rider's Gate) was officially known as St Edmund King & Martyr. It was located on the southern carriageway of the Roman gate (on the left of this photo showing the entrance to Watling Street), close to the city walls. It was another of William Fitz-Hamon's churches, but was closed in 1349 after the Black Death depopulation, one of the earliest to be made redundant. It and the gate were completely removed in 1782, so that no trace survives.

Six photos on this page by P L Kessler, one kindly contributed by Tricia Baxter, and one by The Big Dig. Additional information by Tricia Baxter.



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