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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Arthur Percival & Peter Kessler, 11 September 2010. Updated 1 January 2020

Swale Part 11: Churches of Stone, Ospringe & Painters Forstal

The Chapel of Our Lady of Elverton, Stone-next-Faversham, Kent

The Chapel of Our Lady of Elverton, Stone-next-Faversham, lies in the middle of a field on the northern side of the London Road, opposite Faversham Road. Also known as Stone Chapel, it consists of the visible remains of the only Roman temple (of the fourth century) known to have been incorporated into a later Christian chapel. The small Roman town of Durolevum was probably nearby, with a cemetery at Ospringe. The chapel has been in ruins since the 1500s.

Ospringe Mission Chapel (Congregational), Ospringe, Kent

Ospringe Mission Chapel (Congregational) stood on the east side of Ospringe Road, just forty metres north-east of the London Road junction. It is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914, and Faversham Congregational Church was presumably its 'mother church'. It seems to have lasted a while, but was gone by the time of the Second World War. By then the site was occupied by the present structure, with the chapel site being the right-hand block in this photo.

Maison Dieu and the Knights Templar Hospital of St Mary, Ospringe, Kent

The site of the Maison Dieu (House of God) and the Knights Templar Hospital of St Mary, Ospringe, was focussed around buildings on the southern side of Ospringe Street, on either side of the Water Lane junction. The complex of buildings was founded in 1235 by King Henry III and was run by the Knights Templar. Following the Dissolution it was granted to St John's College, Cambridge, although by then it had already become secular in management.

Church of St Peter & St Paul, Ospringe, Kent

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Ospringe, stands on the western side of Water Lane, about a hundred metres south of Vicarage Lane (and is 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.

Church of St Peter & St Paul, Ospringe, Kent

The tower collapsed in 1695 and a new, square-but-flimsy one was built. This was demolished in 1751 and a bell cote added. The present tower was added in the 1860s under the direction of a new vicar with the enthusiasm to transform a tumbledown rural church into a smart, rather town-like affair, albeit still being distant from the village. A detached Lady Chapel was built on the eastern side of the bend in the lane around 1425, with the entrance still visible today.

Whitehill Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Painters Forstal, Kent

Whitehill Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Painters Forstal, stands on the eastern side of Eastling Road, overlooking the Painters Forstal Road junction which heads north-west. The chapel was opened in the nineteenth century, later becoming known as Champion Hall and becoming the focus of village community life. Its closure and sale in 2015 was highly controversial with the locals. Today it is the Anglican Catholic Church of St Augustine of Canterbury, formed in May 2005.

Two photos on this page by Arthur Percival, three kindly contributed by Sam Weller, Paul Moore, and John Lawrence, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group, and one photo copyright © David Howard and one copyright © Oast House Archive, and both reused under a cc licence.



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