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Gallery: Churches of Kent
by Peter Kessler, 13 September 2019
Canterbury Part 14: Churches of Chislet, Stodmarsh
The Church of St Mary the Virgin Chislet
stands inside a wide churchyard on the eastern side of Church Lane,
just north of the 's'-bend into Sandpit Hill and about two hundred
metres south of Chitty Lane. This large rural parish which overlooks
the Wantsum gained the nave and tower of its huge church soon after
the Norman conquest. Built of coursed rubble with Caen stone dressings,
its tower once had a brached shingled spire, but only the stump remains.
The building gained a chancel and aisles in the
thirteenth century and a font in the fourteenth. At the west end of
the north aisle was a priest's chamber at first floor level, but only
the windows and the brackets that supported the floor survive. It is
the only church still in use in Kent that has a central tower which is
not a crossing point for side transepts. Today the nave serves as a
community hall while the north aisle is a storage area. Worship is
carried out in the chancel.
St Mary's Church, Stodmarsh, is on the
north-eastern side of Stodmarsh Road, about thirty metres east of
the Lambkin Wall junction. Stodmarsh is within the ecclesiastical
jurisdiction of the diocese of Canterbury. The earliest parts of
the church building date to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
It was initially part of the possessions of the abbot and convent
of St Augustine, until 1243 when it was transferred to St Lawrence's
Hospital for poor priests in Canterbury.
Elizabeth Tudor gave Stodmarsh to the
archdeaconry of Canterbury which has held it ever since. The church
is small, while being remarkably long and narrow. It consists of one
isle and a chancel, and with a low pointed turret at the west end
which contains two bells. The X-shaped brace that supports the bell
turret is believed to be unique in Kent. The porch contains notable
carvings known as 'Crusaders' Crosses'. The building underwent
modernisation around 1880.
The Church of St Andrew, Wickhambreaux,
stands on the western side of Wickham Road, overlooking the junction
with The Street. The church has a fairly regionally-typical layout,
with chancel, nave, and two lean-to aisles which clasp a western tower.
The church was rebuilt in the 1300s, removing all trace of earlier work
other than some possibly-reused materials and perhaps the lower part
of the tower and lower west aisle walls with their simple two-light
The great east window was dedicated in 1896 to the
memory of Harriet Duer Gallatin by her son, Count James Gallatin of
New York. It was there that the design was first exhibited, and where
it attracted great attention. The Gallatin family came originally from
Savoy (now in Italy - see links), and Harriet Gallatin's husband's
grandfather, Albert Gallatin, was born in Geneva in 1761. Today the
church stands as a high focal point above the village green.
Photos on this page kindly contributed by Jelltex,
Steven House, Ian Wood, & Les Butcher, all via the 'History Files:
Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.