Thursday 5th September: our final set of church visits for 2019; was to churches close to Watling Street led by Amicia Oldfield tel 01795 886155/07791 183067
St John the Baptist, Doddington ME9 0BD. Apart from the interest of its full dedication, The Beheading of St John the Baptist, the setting has great charm overlooking the valley and in a rural churchyard. It has been ‘gently restored’ (Pevsner) and retains much of its Norman and 12th century origins including three deep set round headed windows at the east end topped by another. There are two large mid-13th century wall paintings, a Jacobean pulpit, a double squint and a lofty chancel arch reminiscent of Canterbury Cathedral. Map here.
A remarkable architectural feature in Doddington church is the so called “Low Side Window” of late fifteenth century at the western end of the north chancel wall. Now glazed, it was originally fitted with just a shutter, and the hooks for the hinges and the bolt hole (although now filled in) remain in the stonework. To the east of the window is a small arched image niche above a stone desk with a projection forming a book rest, and to the west an aumbry. The purpose of this architectural feature is believed to be so that the priest could administer Holy Communion and Confession, etc, to persons who were not allowed to enter the church such as those suffering from leprosy, plague, etc.
This large full length medieval lancet splay wall painting outlined in red ochre and dated to the mid thirteenth century, is located in the north wall of the chancel, and has been identified as St Francis receiving the stigmata.
St Peter & St Paul, Ospringe ME13 8XS with its dramatic High Victorian saddle backed tower commands attention. Inside, there is a full range of monuments and fixtures, including a Norman font, a 14th century south chapel and a richly decorated Victorian chancel. Map here.
St Mary of Charity, Faversham ME13 8GZ is at the centre of this very attractive ancient market town and is the second largest parish church in Kent. Originally Norman, the nave was condemned in the 18th century and rebuilt in contemporary style making a great contrast with the much earlier chancel with its 15th century misericords. The church is rich in brasses and monuments and one of its treasures is a column which still has on it scenes from the life of Christ from the 13th century. A real treasure trove. Map here.
The chancel east wall is highly decorative and contains the Te Deum window of 1911AD by A L Moore. Arthur Louis Moore (1849-1939) was an English glass-maker who specialised in stained glass windows and ecclesiastical art and was joined by his son Charles Eustace Moore (1880-1956) in 1896 when the company became known as A L Moore and Son. Over the course of their careers the Moores produced over 1,000 windows in the United Kingdom and 100 windows overseas.