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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

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

Swale Part 13: Churches of Leaveland, Throwley & Stalisfield

Bethel Row Mission Room, Leaveland, Kent

Bethel Row Mission Room, Leaveland, stood on the eastern side of the direct Leaveland lane to Charing, around two hundred metres to the south of the Workhouse Road Junction. The chapel site consists of the southern section of the terrace of buildings shown here, according to the OS 25-inch map of 1894-1914. It is unclear whether the present buildings are the same ones, although they do appeared to be aged. The farthest two stand where the chapel used to be.

Throwley Priory, Throwley, Kent

Throwley Priory stood on the south side of Bagshill Road, to the north-east of Throwley, on grounds now occupied by Glebe Cottage. The alien priory of Throwley, a cell to the abbey of St Bertin at St Omer in France, was founded around the middle of the 1100s. St Mary Chilham was granted to it in the early 1150s. Henry V saw to it that the manors, rectories, or churches of Throwley, and those of Chilham and Molash, passed to the duke of Exeter and others in 1424.

St Michael & All Angels Church, Throwley, Kent

St Michael & All Angels Church, Throwley, is on the west side of Throwley Road, around 225 metres south of the Bagshill Road junction. Generally, in this part of Kent at least, rural churches stood next to the main manor house, as at Luddenham Court, but Throwley Court disappeared before the start of the twentieth century. The church sits on top of a hill overlooking a quiet valley. Work on it first started between 800 and 825, presumably in flint rather than wood.

St Michael & All Angels Church, Throwley, Kent

The Normans and their successors increased the size of the church until around 1510 when it reached its present proportions. The north chapel is a mix of twelfth century original and thirteenth century additions, the south chapel dates later, to the 1300s. The nave arcades date from the 1400s. The next five hundred years saw very little change until restoration work of 1866-1867, at a cost of 3,000, and the tower with its ring of eight bells was increased in height.

The Church of St Mary, Stalisfield, Kent

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 Church of St Mary, Stalisfield, Kent

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.

Five photos on this page by Arthur Percival.

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