St James Church, Sheldwich, is on the
eastern side of the Ashford Road, around 150 metres north of the
Lees Court Road junction. The village of Sheldwich was first
recorded in the year 784, important as it stands astride the highway
between the port of Faversham and the market of Ashford. The church
is of flint and stone in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles,
with some remains of Norman work, and also a tower of the
Perpendicular style containing six bells.
The church began as a chapel to St Mary of
Charity in Faversham, becoming a parish church before the reign of
Richard II (1377-1399). It consists of one isle and a chancel, with
a chapel in the middle of the south side of the isle, and a small
chapel on the north side of the chancel. It underwent restoration
work in 1888 at a cost of £2,500. A new lych gate was placed in the
churchyard in 1892. The west tower with its small leaden spire
contains a ring of four bells.
The Church of St Leonard, Baddlesmere,
sits on the southern side of the hook in Dayton Road, approximately
140 metres 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 Laurence, Leaveland,
(sometimes shown as St Lawrence), stands on the northern side of
the main lane, around 230 metres west of the 'Leaveland Corner'
bus stop on the Ashford Road. It is located next to Leaveland Court
(the manor house), as is so often the case in this part of Kent. It
is known to date in its original form from 1222 which is when it was
consecrated, although a model of the church contained inside the
building states a build date of 1206.
It consists of flint walls with red and blue
brick on the north nave aisle, and a plain tiled roof. The exterior
walls contain several Roman tiles, suggesting a settlement of that
period had existed in the area. The east wall of the north chapel
had to be rebuilt in the seventeenth century, but possible budget
constraints meant that brick instead of flint was used. The church
was restored in the eighteenth century, and again in 1882, which is
when the vestry was added.