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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 14 December 2012. Updated 3 September 2019

Canterbury Part 20: Churches of Waltham, Shalmsford Street & Chartham

Waltham Wesleyan Chapel

The former Waltham Wesleyan Chapel sits on the western side of Kake Street, about a hundred-and-fifty metres south of the Anvil Green road junction. In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Waltham as part of a parish with Handwell Green in the Bridge district. The manor once belonged to the Knights Templar. The chapel is mentioned, but without a date of founding. Today (2019) it is a private residence called 'The Old Chapel'.

Shalmsford Street Salvation Army

Shalmsford Street Salvation Army hall stands alongside a community hall on the north-east corner of Shalmsford Street and Bolts Hill. Shalmsford Street is a small hamlet on the western edge of Chartham, and is part of that parish. It is not known when the hall was built, but the early 1900s seems an appropriate period. It and the hall next to it appeared disused in 2012, which is backed-up by a refused planning application in 2008 to demolish both in favour of building flats.

Shalmsford Street Primitive Methodist Chapel

Shalmsford Street Primitive Methodist Chapel lies in a small plot on the northern side of Shalmsford Street, approximately forty metres east of the junction with Thruxted Lane. The chapel is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914, giving it a presumably fairly typical date of opening for this type of chapel. It later closed as a Methodist chapel and was derelict for a while before being converted into two self-contained private residences before 2012.

Chartham Cemetery Chapel

Chartham Cemetery Chapel is within the cemetery grounds on the northern side of the Ashford Road, directly north of the Shalmsford Street/Bolts Hill junction on the map. The cemetery was laid out by the parish council in 1899 to replace the use of the churchyard at St Mary the Virgin Chartham (see below). The chapel was erected at the same time, between 1899-1901. The former cemetery lodge was being privately leased for a time but has since been sold to a private buyer.

St Mary the Virgin's Church Chartham

St Mary the Virgin's Church Chartham occupies a large plot with a churchyard on the south-western corner of Station Road and Church Lane in the heart of the village. The River Stour runs through the middle of this late Saxon settlement, which gained its flint-built church around 1294. Following an attack by Danes, the parish was in the possession of Christ Church Canterbury until the Dissolution, and it remained a possession of the see of Canterbury as recently as 1800.

St Mary the Virgin's Church Chartham

The church has one aisle and a chancel, with a small transept at the centre of the building. The church underwent some Victorian renovation, but this has not visible harmed the exterior. It contains the brass of Sir Robert de Septvans, a crusader knight who died in 1306, which is considered to be one of the finest in the country. The west tower, which was constructed in the fifteenth century, is reputed to contain the oldest ring of five bells in Kent.

Five photos on this page by P L Kessler, and one by Connells.



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