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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 September 2019

Canterbury Part 14: Churches of Chislet, Stodmarsh & Wickhambreaux

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Chislet, Kent

The Church of St Mary the Virgin Chislet stands inside a wide churchyard on the eastern side of Church Lane, just north of the 's'-bend into Sandpit Hill and about two hundred metres south of Chitty Lane. This large rural parish which overlooks the Wantsum gained the nave and tower of its huge church soon after the Norman conquest. Built of coursed rubble with Caen stone dressings, its tower once had a brached shingled spire, but only the stump remains.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Chislet, Kent

The building gained a chancel and aisles in the thirteenth century and a font in the fourteenth. At the west end of the north aisle was a priest's chamber at first floor level, but only the windows and the brackets that supported the floor survive. It is the only church still in use in Kent that has a central tower which is not a crossing point for side transepts. Today the nave serves as a community hall while the north aisle is a storage area. Worship is carried out in the chancel.

Church of St Mary, Stodmarsh, Kent

St Mary's Church, Stodmarsh, is on the north-eastern side of Stodmarsh Road, about thirty metres east of the Lambkin Wall junction. Stodmarsh is within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the diocese of Canterbury. The earliest parts of the church building date to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It was initially part of the possessions of the abbot and convent of St Augustine, until 1243 when it was transferred to St Lawrence's Hospital for poor priests in Canterbury.

Church of St Mary, Stodmarsh, Kent

Elizabeth Tudor gave Stodmarsh to the archdeaconry of Canterbury which has held it ever since. The church is small, while being remarkably long and narrow. It consists of one isle and a chancel, and with a low pointed turret at the west end which contains two bells. The X-shaped brace that supports the bell turret is believed to be unique in Kent. The porch contains notable carvings known as 'Crusaders' Crosses'. The building underwent modernisation around 1880.

Church of St Andrew, Wickhambreaux, Kent

The Church of St Andrew, Wickhambreaux, stands on the western side of Wickham Road, overlooking the junction with The Street. The church has a fairly regionally-typical layout, with chancel, nave, and two lean-to aisles which clasp a western tower. The church was rebuilt in the 1300s, removing all trace of earlier work other than some possibly-reused materials and perhaps the lower part of the tower and lower west aisle walls with their simple two-light windows.

Church of St Andrew, Wickhambreaux, Kent

The great east window was dedicated in 1896 to the memory of Harriet Duer Gallatin by her son, Count James Gallatin of New York. It was there that the design was first exhibited, and where it attracted great attention. The Gallatin family came originally from Savoy (now in Italy - see links), and Harriet Gallatin's husband's grandfather, Albert Gallatin, was born in Geneva in 1761. Today the church stands as a high focal point above the village green.

Two photos on this page by P L Kessler, and four kindly contributed by Jelltex, Steven House, Ian Wood, & Les Butcher, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.