Forthcoming Visits & Lectures – 2017

Join our organized church visits in the summer and lectures in the winter – see below.

We visit two or three neighbouring churches on summer afternoons. We arrange local speakers to give us the history of each church and to point out interesting features, and we end with tea organised by the last parish. We meet at the first church listed and members provide their own transport. Please ask if you haven’t got transport; we may be able to help.

Tickets can be booked for all Friends of Kent Churches 2017 events – AGM on 20 May, Church Visits on 21 June, 12 July and 6 September and tour of Rochester Cathedral on 26 September – using the  FoKC 2017 Events booking form    Also available in the Annual Report on 2016. Alternatively, EMail Jill Rutland at with your selection and pay by bank transfer.

Paying for visits by bank transfer?   Please pay to Friends of Kent Churches a/c 00025607 at Nat West Bank, 3 High St, Maidstone ME14 1XU sort code 60-60-08 and let Jill Rutland know which visits you are paying for. EMail  or phone 01732 843248.

Locations shown use information in  © 2016 Archbishops’ Council. Click on the church name in blue to see location.

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All visits start at 2.00 pm. Timings for the rest of the afternoon and route instructions will be given on the day.

Please apply using the FoKC 2017 Events booking form  also available with the 2016 Annual Report.

Our first set of visits, organised by Paul Britton, will be on 21 June to Chiddingstone Causeway, Leigh and Tonbridge.

Click for Map of Tonbridge.      PDF version for printing.

Below are three photographs of St Luke’s church, Chiddingstone Causeway from Chris Rigby. The FoKC visit is to Chiddingstone Causeway and not Chiddingstone the NT village! Parking – there is a large car park next to the church and also on the road.

This church replaced the small corrugated iron chapel of St Saviour as the village population grew due to the success of the local cricket bat industry and was consecrated in 1898. It was designed by Mr John Francis Bentley who was also the architect for Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral and was constructed in Bath stone to the late Free Gothic style with many notable features.

The coped gable porch has a moulded doorway with engaged shafts and carved spandrels and a good quality carving of a winged bull which was the emblem of St Luke. The interior of the porch is fitted with a stone seat on each side of the entrance.

The font, which was also designed by Mr John Francis Bentley, has an octagonal pink alabaster stem and deep octagonal tulip shaped bowl of green streaked Cippolini marble with a white marble rim and stands on a Portland stone cross shaped step.

St Luke’s church – Chiddingstone Causeway – general view

St Luke’s church – Chiddingstone Causeway – porch

St Luke’s church – Chiddingstone Causeway – baptistry


Below are four photographs of St Mary’s church, Leigh from Chris Rigby. Parking – there is lots of parking on/by the green near the church.

1 St Mary's Church, Leigh


The architecture suggests a church which was rebuilt during the 13th century.

Quite probably the western tower was never completed at this time as the construction of a new tower began in the 15th century.

In 1860-1861 the church underwent considerable reconstruction with a new tower erected on the existing base and the rebuilding of the south wall.

In 1903 the tower clock was presented in memory of Queen Victoria.

2. Porch and Turret South Wall St Marys Church Leigh


Porch and Turret, South Wall.





3 - North Aisle Column


13th Century North Aisle Column.

The columns of the North Aisle were built into the current north wall after a fire destroyed the North Aisle during the 15th century.

Some years ago a section of the current north wall was opened up to reveal the 13th century column and how it had been decorated.





4 - Millenium Sundial



Millenium Sundial.


The Welsh slate gilded and painted sundial was commissioned to commemorate the Millennium in the year 2000.


The sundial was made by Sally Hersh, a sculptor and sundial maker, and designed to complement the shape of the windows in the turret.



The third church this afternoon is St Peter and St Paul, Tonbridge. Parking is limited in the church car park at the end of Church Street with access from East Street; otherwise public car parks by the castle.


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Some Friends have suggested we have a “two church” afternoon – so this has been arranged by Richard Latham for 12 July to Chilham and Godmersham which have extensive interesting features. Photographs below courtesy of Chris Rigby.

St Marys Church, Chilham. Parking is very limited in the square near the church; there is a car park on the right near the A28 entrance to the village.

The large western tower is sixty eight feet tall and was constructed in the 16th century being completed in 1534. Externally the church has Flint and Caen/Rag chequer work with Ragstone plinths and quoins. There is a beacon stair turret on the south east side of the tower and round headed windows with square hood moulds in the upper stage. The west window of Bath stone under the tower is entirely 19th century. The clock was made in 1727 but only had the minute hand fitted in 1790.004 St Marys Church Chilham Kent 020317



001 The Wildman Memorial St Marys Church Chilham 071114


< The Wildman Memorial.002 The Pulpit St Marys Church Chilham 071114

                                      The pulpit and organ pipes >






The Hardy Children Monument  located in the North Chapel was carved in white marble by the sculptor Alexander Munro. It is a memorial to the children Arthur and Edmund Hardy who died in 1858 at Yorkshire before their parents moved to Chilham Castle in 1861. Originally the monument was on display in Chilham Castle and was gifted to St Mary’s Church when the Hardy family left Chilham Castle in 1918.





St Laurence the Martyr Church, Godmersham. Parking is in the road. The church is situated in an idyllic setting by the banks of the River Stour and was attended regularly by Jane Austen in the early years of the 19th century when she visited her brother Edward who owned the nearby Godmersham Park. The church is of Saxon origin but variously dated to the 10th or 11th century.

001 St Laurence the Martyr Church Godmersham Kent 020317


002 Tower Detail St Laurence the Martyr Church Godmersham Kent 020317


< Tower detail








003 Norman Dog Tooth Block Tympanum Above Blocked West Doorway St Laurences Church Godmersham Kent 020317

Norman Dog-Tooth Block Tympanum above  blocked West doorway ^


During the early 12th century a Romanesque apsidal chapel at the base of a tower was added to the north wall of the nave and can be accessed via a small door adjacent the pulpit. Originally it opened by way of a wide arch to the nave and there was a north door to make it independent of the church. Tower naves are believed to be of Saxon origin which gives a clue to the age of St Laurence Church, Godmersham.


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Paul Smallwood is leading our final set of visits on 6th September to Bonnington, Bilsington and Kenardington. Parking arrangements yet to be finalised. Photographs and text courtesy of Chris Rigby.

St Rumwolds Church, Bonnington is believed to be one of the oldest on the Romney Marsh and is a small two cell church standing close to the banks of the Royal Military Canal. The building is 14th century in appearance resulting from the reconstruction of an original Saxon/Norman church. It is constructed in the Early English style with a timber framed porch added in the 14th century and a cupola added in the 17th century. An interesting feature is the prominent shape of a cross built into the roof tiles.

Viewed from the south-east










Viewed from the north-west










The font

Early 18th Century Grave Memorial













The inscription of the early 18th century grave memorial located immediately to the south east of the church is relatively clear and appears to read:

‘Here Lieth James Jordan

Late Of This Parish Yeoman

He Died May ?? 1715

Age 68 Years

And Also Seven Children

Four By Mary His First Wife

One By Ann His Second

(unable to read) By Elizabeth His’

The lower part of the inscription having sunk below ground level.

St Peter and St Paul Bilsington can be dated back to the 12th century and probably replaced the Saxon church recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086. The church is constructed of ragstone with a red brick and timbered porch, and above the ridge of the porch, and to the west of the porch roof, blocked-in archways can be detected upon very close inspection.









The two stage 15th century tower is set on a high plinth and completed with a timber belfry. The 15th century bell hung outside the church was removed from the belfry in the 1930’s amid concerns the timber bell frame could no longer support the weight of the bell.








002 St Marys Church Kenardington Kent 210117 001 St Marys Church Kenardington Kent 210117

St Marys Church, Kenardington,is of 12th century origin and is what remains of a church damaged by a French raiding party in the fourteenth century and struck by lightening in 1559. Most of the church was demolished leaving only the former south aisle and chapel to form the current church. On the south wall original windows were reduced in size by filling in the outer sections leaving some fascinating shapes of ‘blind’ tracery. Photos and text courtesy of Chris Rigby.











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Please apply using the FoKC 2017 Events booking form  also available with the 2016 Annual Report.

Paying for FoKC visits by bank transfer?   Please pay to Friends of Kent Churches a/c 00025607 at Nat West Bank, 3 High St, Maidstone ME14 1XU sort code 60-60-08 and let Jill Rutland know which visits you are paying for. EMail  or phone 01732 843248.

All visits start at 2.00pm. Timings for the rest of the afternoon will be given on the day. To save postage members can chose to have their booking confirmed by email or by telephone, just fill in the appropriate part of the form.

Locations will be shown using information in  © 2016 Archbishops’ Council.

Click here to find notes and pictures from recent visits and lectures.

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On 26th September (with a 1:45 p.m. start) we will have a trip to Rochester cathedral.

Please apply using the FoKC 2017 Events booking form  also available with the 2016 Annual Report.

We have Matthew Saunders lined up for a lecture on “The work of the friendless Churches and the challenge of redundancies” for 8th November.