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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 September 2019

Canterbury Part 17: Churches of Woolage Green to Bishopsbourne

Woolage Green Baptist Chapel, Kent

Woolage Green Baptist Chapel, or 'Woolwich Green', stands on the east side of Woolage Green Road, about thirty metres north of the Wick Lane junction, close to Womenswold. It was possibly founded in 1888, a date included in documents at Angus Library and Archive, Oxford University. The village was heavily wooded until the destruction of Woolwich Wood in the 1960s for farmland. By 29 March 1996 the chapel had become a holiday let called Chapel Cottage.

Barham Methodist Church, Kent

Barham Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is on the western side of Derringstone Hill, about ninety metres south of Derringstone Street. Methodism here began in meetings in a local barn, location unknown, owned by one Henry Bradley. Land for the chapel was acquired in 1835 and the chapel opened in 1836. A gallery was added in 1874 with access via a single steep staircase. A row of lime trees may have been lost in 1914, and by 2009 the chapel had apparently closed.

St John the Baptist, Barham, Kent

St John the Baptist Church, Barham, is on the eastern side of The Street in Barham, with Rectory Lane on its northern flank. A church is mentioned in Domesday Book (1086), and may possibly have existed as early as the ninth century. The current building is fourteenth century, with a south aisle added in the fifteenth, and a north porch and other modifications completed by the Victorians. The base of the tower may contain traces of early Norman work.

St Giles, Kingston, Kent

St Giles Church, Kingston, is on the western side of Church Lane, at the westernmost part of the lane's loop. The church was largely rebuilt in the fourteenth century, but nave and chancel walls are at least twelfth century, and possibly even Saxon in origin. Although extensively re-modelled at the beginning of the twentieth century, the church still clearly shows the design of an early medieval church without side aisles. The pulpit is Elizabethan or Jacobean.

St Mary the Virgin, Bishopsbourne, Kent

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bishopsbourne, is on the northern side of Crows Camp Road, overlooking the junction with The Street in this picturesque village. Details of the church's construction seem hard to come by, but the general form suggest that much of it was erected in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The remains of early fourteenth century wall paintings on the upper arcading of the nave have been restored and made easier to see for visitors.

St Mary the Virgin, Bishopsbourne, Kent

Major restoration work in 1871-2 took place under Sir George Gilbert Scott. The boarded wagon roofs were put in the nave and chancel, nave and aisles were reseated, and he planned to renew the stonework around the windows. The Reverend Richard Hooker was rector here from 1595 until his untimely death in 1600. He played a major part in the development of Anglicanism as the 'middle way' between the two extremes of Protestantism and Catholicism in his work.

Photos on this page kindly contributed by Jelltex, Bill Smith / British Methodist Buildings, Paul Moore, and Peter Edgler, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.

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