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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

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

Swale Part 14: Churches of Eastling & Newnham

Newhouse Bible Christian Chapel, Eastling, Kent

Newhouse Bible Christian Chapel, Eastling, is on the eastern side of Otterden Road, about eight hundred metres south of the Kettle Hill Road junction, directly south of Eastling proper in the Newhouse hamlet. It is marked on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914, although the present building may be a replacement or an extended version based on its footprint. It remained in use until perhaps shortly after the war (as per OS maps) before closing to be converted for private use.

St Mary's Church, Eastling, Kent

St Mary's Church, Eastling, is on the north side of Kettle Hill Road, accessed at a point about 225 metres south-east of the Otterden Road junction. A Saxon church existed here, but appears to have been entirely replaced by an eleventh century building, of which only the base of the tower and central chancel survives. The nave was a twelfth century construction, the chancel is of the thirteenth century, and the St Katherine Chapel from the fourteenth century.

St Mary's Church, Eastling, Kent

In that same fourteenth century, and at the same time as the chapel was being built, the chancel was extended eastwards to create a sanctuary and an arcade was added near the chapel. In 1855-1856 R C Hussey substantially rebuilt the nave, north aisle, and south arcade, and completely re-roofed the nave (unfortunately destroying many medieval features). The nave walls are unusually thin - about sixty-one centimetres - attributed to Saxon building techniques.

Eastling Mission Room, Eastling, Kent

Eastling Mission Room stands on the north side of Newham Lane, about 160 metres west of the Eastling Road junction and a little farther west of the parish church (above). It is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914, with additional buildings on its western flank (nearer the camera here). By the time of the OS 1:25,000 of 1937-1961 it seems to have lost its church connection. It is now a private residence with The Old School House on its west flank.

Church of St Peter & St Paul, Newnham, Kent

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Newnham, sits at the south-west corner of The Street and Warren Street in the centre of the village. The settlement developed in the valley beneath a Briton hill fort. During the reign of Henry I (1110-1135), Hugh de Newenham was lord of the manor and gained his name from the village. He is believed to have built the original manor house, as well as beginning the building of the church (which is seen in these photos from 1999).

Church of St Peter & St Paul, Newnham, Kent

Hugh's son, Faulk de Newenham, founded Davington Nunnery nearby in 1153, which held the church's advowson. The nunnery had failed by the time of the Dissolution. The church itself was built over the course of twenty years in the late thirteenth century. The following century a chapel was added for the family at the manor house, Champion Court. The church fell into decay in the late 1500s, and was unsympathetically restored by the Revered James Bower in the 1860s.

Two photos on this page by Arthur Percival, two kindly contributed by Steven House and Jelltex, both via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group, and one photo copyright Chris Whippet, and reused under a cc licence.

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