Church Visits and Lectures – 2015

In 2015 we had two Lectures and three afternoons of church visits. Plus the John Briggs annual Talk – this year with a Concert. Also, a private viewing and talk on the Stained Glass Exhibition at Canterbury Cathedral.

The Spring Lecture on 5 March 2015 by Mary Berg on “Norman Churches in the Canterbury Diocese”. Mary, a former economist who lives in Canterbury, has made a special study of Norman churches in East Kent and those in Normandy. It was a time of transformation and about 100 churches of the Norman period survive in the Canterbury diocese. With numerous pictures of churches of the period we were given an insight into the timing of their construction, materials used and the life of people (church and lay) at the time.

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27 May 2015 – Church Visits

Many thanks to Sarah Bracher for organising this afternoon’s visits.

St Margaret of Antioch, Barming ME16 9HA looks very rural isolated in the middle of a field, despite being close to Maidstone.

Barming 5Barming 1

The current church’s origins are 12th century with various subsequent amendments. There is a striking reredos by Comper depicting the arrival of the Magi but the real treasures of the church are the choir stalls.




Thought to be early 14th century Flemish, the bench ends are large independent figures of Samson and the Lion, St Michael slaying the dragon, Christ in Limbo and the Bull of St Luke.
Barming 3Barming 4Barming 2






St Mary, East Farleigh ME15 0JL overlooks the river Medway and like Barming has a medieval bridge. The church is Saxon and Norman in origin with additions up to 15th century and then restored in the 19th century.

East Farleigh 1

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In the early 20th century two reredoses by Powell’s were installed and a window depicting Christ appearing to World War I soldiers. Nearby is a WWI propeller as a memorial to Captain Walker RFC 1917.

St Nicholas, Linton ME17 4AW is notable for its wide range of monuments both in age and design including a 17th century one to the grandparents of Sir John Mayne damaged by the parliamentarians, it has recently been restored.  A slightly later one to Sir Anthony Mayne shows him with his two wives on either side and there are two 19th century monuments depicting Charles Mann and Laura, Countess Cornwallis who lie on couches as though in bed.

Linton 2Linton 1Linton 3

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JOHN BRIGGS TALK & MEMORIAL CONCERT 2015 was on Thursday 18th June at St Mary, Nackington

The evening started with a talk on the church and the restoration project followed by a concert of music for a summer evening given by Lees Court Music finishing with drinks and canapés. St Mary is a beautiful rural medieval church with impressive beams and a wonderful setting for Lees Court Music and it will be an excellent evening.

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This was a rare opportunity to see the Cathedral’s glass close up and it is only possible now because it needed to be temporarily removed so that repairs could be carried out to the stonework. The glass is quite exceptional, dating from the late 12th and early 13th century and some may be the oldest painted windows in Britain, pre-dating the fire of 1174. We will be seeing 21 portraits of the Ancestors of Jesus Christ as named in the Gospels.

We met at the Chapter House for drinks and canapés and a view of the exhibition.

Two talks on the glass were given by Leonie Seliger, Director of the Stained Glass Studio at the Cathedral who also answered many questions as we walked about the panels.

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Thursday 9th July 2015 – Church Visits…and an Abbey

Many thanks to Richard Latham for organising this afternoon’s visit to two churches and the remains of an Abbey.

St Anthony, Alkham

St Anthony, Alkham

St Anthony the Martyr, Alkham CT15 7DF is in an attractive village in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A flint church, its simple interior with much clear glass is very attractive. The north chapel is unaltered 13th century with rich mouldings and the nave and chancel are the same width with no evidence of a chancel arch.

St Radigunds Abbey

St Radigunds Abbey

St Radigunds’s Abbey CT15 7 DL – we are grateful to the farm and abbey site owner Mr Albert Moynan who gave us the opportunity to visit this privately owned site. It has the most extensive monastic remains, apart from the two cathedrals, in the county. Founded in 1193, it was dissolved in 1590 and the refectory was converted into a residence. The most impressive remains are the tower which stood on the north side of the church and was subsequently converted into a gatehouse. The outline of other monastic buildings can be seen and there is also a medieval barn.

St Laurence, Hougham

St Laurence, Hougham

St Laurence, Hougham CT15 7AH was built in the 12th century and sympathetically restored in the 19th century when the medieval windows in the north aisle were replicated at the east end. There is a beautiful monument to the Hannington family. Husband and wife kneel facing each other and lined up behind them are their children described as ‘These happie olives budded fruitfullie into 5 sonnes, 4 daughters 2 as soon blasted as blowne’. Another good monument is to Peter Nepueu one of many protestants driven from France by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1598.

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Thursday 10th September 2015

A visit to three country churches, south of Faversham with many thanks to Paul Smallwood for organising this afternoon.

St Laurence, Leaveland ME13 0NP is a country church with rural views consecrated in 1222. Tiny with plain white walls, it has massive beams. Of particular interest is the monument to Mrs Rooper but its most important aspect is its quiet rusticity. To complete scene, nearby is a timbered farm house dating back to the 15th century.

St Leonard, Badlesmere

St Leonard, Badlesmere – box pews

St Leonard, Badlesmere ME13 0NL is a church of great charm that was reordered in the 18th century but left untouched by the Victorians. There are box pews with tiers at the west end, hat pegs, triple decker pulpit and a large reredos with the Ten Commandments and Gospel tracts all from the 18th century and the royal coat of arms of George 1 is dated 1717.

St Michael and All Angels, Throwley ME13 0PJ is on the top of Downs in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has some magnificent memorials to the Sondes family, especially two of knights in armour with their wives, kneeling and facing each other. One also has weeping children down the sides including babies in their cots.

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Knights’ Effigies in Kent 1250 – 1509 – a Lecture by Stephen Burke, Master of Eliot College, University of Kent was given on Thursday 5th November 2015, Lenham Community Centre.

A selection of replicas

Lecturer with a selection of replicas

Who is hiding

Who is hiding here?

Stephen referred to Kent having a small, but significant collection of knights’ effigies, ranging from fragments found in a rockery, to the sumptuous tombs of princes.




We all know of the Black Prince’s tomb, one of the finest warrior’s tombs of the middle ages, which still retains original military equipment of the Fourteenth Century. But others such as that of Sir Thomas de Baa in Ickham, while simpler and not so costly, still give us detailed insights into the equipment of the medieval knight.

Self defence lessons

Self defence lessons?


This fascinating talk examined what survives of the Kent effigies, the men they commemorate, and their military equipment depicted in stone and metal.

The talk was illustrated with slides of the effigies, and with replica arms and armour which the audience was able to handle.