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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 September 2019

Canterbury Part 16: Churches of Bekesbourne to Womenswold

St Peter's Church, Bekesbourne, Kent

St Peter's Church, Bekesbourne, is on the southern side of Old Palace Road, and about a hundred metres west of Chalkpit Hill. It sits on a hill in the centre of the village and is approached through private land on public footpaths and a gravelled track. It is sometimes known as the 'Church in the Garden', with the construction of the present church building beginning in the twelfth century, replacing an earlier church that was mentioned in Domesday Book in 1086.

St Peter's Church, Bekesbourne, Kent

A fine Norman doorway in the nave's north wall and two chancel windows survive from this period. The church was extended to its present length in the 1200s. The east wall's twin lancet windows and the arch between nave and tower are the most notable surviving features of this 'Early English' date. A south transept was added early in the 1700s. The tower is reputed to have collapsed early in the 1800s and was rebuilt in 1841. The church was restored in the 1880s.

St Mary's Church, Patrixbourne, Kent

St Mary's Church, Patrixbourne, is on the northern side of Patrixbourne Road, about sixty metres west of the junction with The Street, Old Palace Road, and Keeper's Hill. A church in 'Bourne' was noted on this site in Domesday Book in 1086, either Norman or late Anglo-Saxon. In the 1200s 'Patrick' was introduced into the name, perhaps thanks to the then owner of the manor. The church is part of the 'Kentish School' of Romanesque architecture, built in the late 1100s.

Adisham Baptist Church, Adisham, Kent

Adisham Baptist Church is on the eastern side of The Street, about two hundred metres north of the Woodlands Road junction. Not far from here, Eythorne Baptist Church originated in the meetings of early sixteenth century Baptists who had crossed to Kent from the low countries to escape persecution. Adisham was one of many of its associated village chapels along with Nonington. In 2017 an application was lodged to convert the chapel building into a private residence.

Holy Innocents Church, Adisham Court, Kent

The Church of the Holy Innocents, Adisham Court, is at the north end of Church Lane, overlooking Pond Hill and the railway line on its eastern flank. The earliest visible part of the fabric is the tower's early or mid-1100s first stage, when the cruciform shape already existed. A enlarged chancel was built in the mid-1200s. The two roofs in the north transept may be 1600s rebuilds of late medieval ones, while the 1869 chancel roof replaced low pitched early 1800s slate.

St Margaret of Antioch Church, Womenswold, Kent

St Margaret of Antioch Church, Womenswold (or Wymynswold - old spelling), is at the north-east corner of The Street and Church Lane junction. A church was here in the twelfth century, probably early Norman, as the dedication was highly popular at the time. The present building dates largely to the 1200s. It is unusual in having no side aisles and a large chancel, where services are usually held on the comfortable chairs that recently replaced Victorian choir stalls.

Photos on this page kindly contributed by Josh A Tilley, Paul 'Vagrantpunk', and Paul Moore, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group, one by Paul Gardner via the Chapels Society, and one copyright © John Salmon, and reused under a cc licence.



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