The History Files is able to keep on doing what it does
thanks to some wonderful people who have helped to cover increasing web hosting
costs. This year, as the History Files is a non-profit site, it still needs your
help. Please click anywhere inside this box to make a small donation via PayPal
so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully
secure site. If every visitor donated just a penny then we'd cover a year's running
costs in a day! Your support is highly appreciated.
Target for 2020: £0£250
Gallery: Churches of Kent
by Arthur Percival & Peter Kessler, 27 June
2010. Updated 1 January 2020
Swale Part 5: Churches of Faversham & Preston-next-Faversham
The United Church is situated on the
eastern side of Preston Street, a few metres north of the junction
with Station Road. John Wesley visited Faversham three times. His
last visit was the most successful, and Preston Street Methodist
Church was opened on the present site in 1808. The building was
Georgian-style, but some members were lost after the creation of the
Primitive Methodists in 1810. The first building was replaced by the
present Gothic building in 1861.
The Primitive Methodists from Stone Street
Chapel (below) rejoined the church in 1932. The Bible Christians,
using the vacant Stone Street Chapel, also merged shortly before
the Second World War. Then the United Reformed Church joined the
Methodists in 1974, abandoning their own building on Newton Road
and creating the United Church that survives to this day. The
building's interior was modified in 1980, with a new floor at
gallery level for worship with a hall under it.
The church of St Catherine Preston-next-Faversham
lies just a little way south of Faversham station and is dedicated
to St Catherine of Alexandria, a virgin martyred by the Roman emperor
in the early fourth century AD. The settlement of Preston was founded
by Kentish Jutes - its name means priest's farmstead or manor -
and until the Reformation the area was owned by the monks of Christ
Church, Canterbury. The Domesday Book of 1086 refers to it as Prestetone.
The twelfth century Norman church removed any
traces of the previous building, and consisted of a nave and chancel,
but no aisle, and probably a bell turret at the western end (on the left
here). The church was extensively restored in the mid-1800s under the
Reverend James Peto. The spire, north aisle, and porch were added in
1867, shortly after the 1858 arrival of the railway saw Preston's size
start to increase rapidly so that it has since merged into Faversham.
The Salvation Army Citadel is still plainly
visible on the northern side of Stone Street in the centre of Faversham,
opposite the entrance to Union Street. It was opened by the SA around
the beginning of the twentieth century, possibly about 1905. At least
one member of its brass band was still playing in the Canterbury
Salvation Army band in 2010, but by that time the former citadel in
Faversham was being used as the home of the Allegro School of Dancing.
Stone Street Primitive Methodist Chapel (shown
here in 1985) lay on the north side of Stone Street, with the Cottage
Hospital between it and Bank Street. Opened in 1898, it replaced Abbey
Place Chapel. The Primitive Methodists merged in 1932 with Preston Street
church, so the Bible Christians took it over until they also joined Preston
Street before the war. After some years of secular use, it was demolished
in 1986 and replaced by an extension to the hospital.
Two photos on this page by P L Kessler, two by
Arthur Percival, and one kindly contributed by Al Disley via the
'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.