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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 September 2019

Canterbury Part 19: Churches of Petham, Upper Hardres & Waltham

Church of All Saints, Petham, Kent

The Church of All Saints, Petham, is on the western side of Church Lane, no more than fifty metres to the south of Petham Primary School. The earliest visible remains are in the north wall of the nave, where herringbone flint work can be seen. This perhaps suggests a date for the eastern two-thirds of the nave of the late eleventh or early twelfth century. Above the thirteenth century north door into the nave, a fine mid-twelfth century round-headed arch has been uncovered.

Church of All Saints, Petham, Kent

The inner jambs to this doorway are made with diagonally-tooled blocks, probably of the same date as the other early work and probably added not long after the church was given to St Osyth's Priory in Essex. The nave was extended and the tower added around 1200 or so. The church was gutted by fire on 28 March 1922 and, as a result, it gained a completely new nave and south aisle roofs in 1922-3. The south arcade was also completely rebuilt at this time.

St Peter & St Paul, Upper Hardres, Kent

St Peter & St Paul Church, Upper Hardres, is at the inside corner of Bow Hill and Hadres Court Road in this tiny hamlet. There was an Anglo-Saxon church here in 1086, but nothing more seems to be known of it. Construction of the present church began in the twelfth century, with it being consecrated apparently in 1160. Of that building only the tower with its two Norman pillars supporting the arch between the chancel and the Lady Chapel, and the Norman font remain.

St Peter & St Paul, Upper Hardres, Kent

The present sanctuary and chancel would appear from the lancet windows to be thirteenth century, although when built the chancel and the small area westwards to the end of the tower formed the nave. In the 1300s the present nave was completed together with the south aisle. Presumably at the same time, the fine Norman font would have been moved from its original position to its present place in the south aisle. The stained glass was restored in 1980.

St Bartholomew, Waltham, Kent

The Church of St Bartholomew, Waltham, is on the northern side of Church Lane to the east of the hamlet. With a seemingly poorly-recorded history, it consists of one isle and a chancel, with a low pointed tower between them which contains one bell. It was built in flint with stone dressings, and a tiled roof nave and lower chancel (to the right and left, respectively, in this photo). The nave is Norman, with some windows that are dated to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

St Bartholomew, Waltham, Kent

The chancel tower and porch are thirteenth century, but the tower was restored in 1808 while keeping its thirteenth and fourteenth century foundations. The west gallery is a late addition, dating to the eighteenth century, while the triple ogee-arched sedilia in the north wall of the chancel is fourteenth century. Initially part of the manor of Waltham, Archbishop Lanfranc transferred the church to his newly-founded hospital of St Gregory in Canterbury, probably in 1076.

Photos on this page kindly contributed by Barry Marsh, Andre van der Cappelle, and 'Grassrootsgroundswell', all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.

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