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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 September 2019

Canterbury Part 15: Churches of Wickhambreaux to Bekesbourne

Wickhambreaux Methodist Chapel, Wickhambreaux, Kent

Wickhambreaux Wesleyan Methodist Chapel still occupies a neat slot on the southern side of Wickham Road, midway between the Wickham Lane and Spicer's Place junction, and less than a hundred metres south-west of the chapel itself. This chapel was founded by the Wesleyan Methodists in 1890. In the 1930s it would have lost its 'Wesleyan' tag as the Methodist split was healed, but falling post-war memberships meant it closed in 1975 and is now a private residence.

St John the Evangelist Church, Ickham, Kent

St John the Evangelist Church, Ickham, is on the eastern side of this village, at the top of Ickham Court which connects the church to The Street. A church here is mentioned in Domesday Book in 1086, but the earliest visible remains are from the mid-1100s. Ickham must have been growing rapidly at this time as the nave was greatly enlarged to the west, and given south and north aisles in the late 1100s or very early 1200s. A west tower was also added at the same time.

St John the Evangelist Church, Ickham, Kent

Inside the church at the east end of the nave, the four eastern piers indicate that there were mid-twelfth century round-headed arches here. The arch on the north still survives as does its western impost block with some later renewals, while on the south the arch has been replaced, but the twelfth century piers still have much of their original quoins. This seems to indicate that the east end of the nave is still in part the late-1000s nave, pierced in the mid-1100s for aisles.

St Vincent of Saragossa Church, Littlebourne, Kent

St Vincent of Saragossa Church, Littlebourne, is on the eastern side of Church Road, with an entranceway that is almost exactly opposite Elmleigh Road. First documented in 1086, it originally belonged to St Augustine's Abbey. The eastern three-quarters of the nave are presumed to be early Norman, complete with reused Roman bricks. The south isle was early 1200s. The chancel was added late in the same century while the tower dates to the early or mid-1400s.

Littlebourne United Reformed Church, Littlebourne, Kent

Littlebourne United Reformed Church occupies a narrow slot right up against the western side of Nargate Street, about fifty metres north of the High Street junction. The chapel building was originally founded in 1814 as Littlebourne Congregational Chapel, with space for a hundred and fifty persons. It is shown as such on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914 and in Kelly's Directory of Kent of 1903. Today, as a United Reformed building, it is better known as The Chapel.

Well Chapel, Bekesbourne, Kent

Well Chapel, Bekesbourne, lies on the edge of a field on the southern side of Bekesbourne Lane, very close to Howletts Zoo Park, around 150 metres west of a side lane which crosses the Little Stour. This was Michael Powell's 'Nettle Abbey'. It served the now-lost hamlet of Well, and unlike parish churches such chapels were often abandoned as their congregations diminished or moved. The chapel still stood intact in 1535 when Ickham's parson drew up plans to repair it.

Photos on this page kindly contributed by Keith Guyler / British Methodist Buildings, Adam Swaine, Jelltex, and Paul Moore, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group, and one photo copyright © David Anstiss, and reused under a cc licence.



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