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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 September 2019

Canterbury Part 18: Churches of Bridge to Petham

St Peter, Bridge, Kent

St Peter's Church, Bridge, is at the north-western corner of the High Street and Bourne Park Road. The first building here in 1189 was a small chapel. It was enlarged through the 1100s-1200s to become a full-sized church building. In 1859-60, with burgeoning Victorian congregations, the church underwent considerable restoration and enlargement, handled by architect (Sir) Giles Gilbert Scott, when the external walls were completely refaced with dark knapped flint.

Bridge Methodist Church, Kent

Bridge Methodist Church is on the southern side of Patrixbourne Road, about fifty metres north-east of the junction with the High Street. Known as a 'Tin Tabernacle' or 'Iron Chapel', it was erected in 1894 by fourteen members of the local community to serve as a Wesleyan Methodist chapel. During the Second World War a baby clinic operated here, but the chapel closed its doors for the last time in 1987. In 2019 it was converted into a private residence, as pictured.

St Mary, Nackington, Kent

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Nackington, is on the south-eastern side of Church Lane, to the east of the Nackington Road junction, and between Court Lodge and Sextries Farm. A church in some form - Anglo-Saxon in origin - existed here by 1076 when it was given by Archbishop Lanfranc to the Priory of St Gregory in Canterbury which rebuilt it. It stands on a slight rise, with a traditional Norman tower topped by a wooden spire in which hangs a single bell.

St Mary, Nackington, Kent

Its nave dates to the end of the eleventh century or perhaps just a little later. The nave roof with tie beams and king posts belongs to the 1300s. The chancel was added in the 1200s, although its north wall may be contemporary with the nave. The south chapel came later, with building settlement being a problem. The flint with brick and stone masonry was originally plastered inside and out. Later in the 1200s a large chapel was added to the chancel's south side.

St Mary, Lower Hardres, Kent

The Church of St Mary, Lower Hardres, is on the northern side of School Lane, with the lane to North Court farm on its eastern flank. It was built in 1831-2 by Rickman and Hutchinson in the Early English style, the most recent of two or three previous buildings from 1226 on. It was built in flint with ashlar dressings and slate roof. The tower at the north-west corner of the nave forms a porch on the ground floor with octagonal upper storey and stone broach spire.

Petham Primitive Methodist Church

Petham Primitive Methodist Church is on the northern side of Town Road, about thirty metres south of the junction with Watery Lane and some way to the north of Petham itself. An earlier building on this site was opened in 1850, but the congregation quickly replaced it - in 1863 - with the present building, probably enlarged. In the twentieth century it became part of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches, but closed by 2007 and by 2009 had been converted for private use.

Photos on this page kindly contributed by Josh A Tilley, Paul Moore, Jelltex, and Keith Guyler / British Methodist Buildings, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.

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