The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Ospringe,
stands on the western side of Water Lane, about a hundred metres
(yards) south of Vicarage Lane (seen here in 2007). Early churches
were often built near springs, which were often sacred, and the one
at 'o-springe' was no different. The probable Saxon wooden church
was rebuilt soon after the Norman Conquest, and about 1215 it was
given a tower and spire. This was circular, perhaps the only one of
its kind in Kent.
The tower collapsed in 1695 and a new,
square-but-flimsy one was built. This was demolished in 1751 and a
bell cote was added. The present tower was added in the 1860s. A
detached Lady Chapel was built at the bend in the lane around 1425,
with remains still visible in the 1750s. Most of the Ospringe
Maison Dieu Monastery was in Faversham. It had two single-cell
chapels, one above the other, but only two chantry priests' houses
opposite the main complex survive.
The Church of St Leonard, Baddlesmere, sits on
the southern side of the hook in Dayton Road, approximately 140 metres
(yards) east of the junction with the Ashford Road. The first church here
was built before 1085, and was noted in the Domesday Book. The present
building (seen in this photo of 1999, taken from the neighbouring Baddlesmere
Court), dates to the thirteenth century and was built in the Early English
style. The south chancel chapel was in ruins by about 1650.
A sketch from about 1800 shows the former bell cote
before it was built up to a small tower with louvres, containing a single
bell which came from St Mary Reculver in 1830. Restored by the Whitechapel
Bell Foundry, the bell was rehung on 20 July 1987. It has a cement rendering
on the outside that is typical of the early nineteenth century and which is
preserved today. Inside is a totally unspoilt 'Jane Austen' church, unaltered,
with box pews, three-decker pulpit, and more.
The Church of St Mary, Stalisfield, is situated on
the eastern side of Church Road, immediately south of the junction with Hillside
Road. The Domesday Book noted the village as 'Stanefelle', ie 'Stonefield', a
name well adapted to the stony soil here. The church is typically Norman, built
in the twelfth or thirteenth century. It belonged to the priory of St Gregory
in Canterbury until the Dissolution, perhaps part of its original endowment by
Archbishop Lanfranc (1070-1093).
The cruciform church, with its steeple standing
in the middle of the south side, was built using local flint, which
is in plentiful supply here. It stands beside the site of the former
manor house. As so often in Kent, the village nucleus is about a
kilometre (two-thirds of a mile) away, making the spacious church
quite remote on its North Downs hideaway. St Peter's Oare was once a
chapel of ease for St Mary's, and was detached at some point before
the eighteenth century.
All photos on this page contributed by Arthur