Friends of Kent Churches News


Because of the late start this year, there will be two church tours, rather than three as
in a normal year. Both the tours below are ones which had been planned last year but
which were cancelled. In addition, there will be a visit to Rochester Cathedral.

You can download the events sheet by clicking here.

Both of the church tours below start at 2.00pm and timings for the rest of the afternoon and details of where to park will be given at the first church. There are two ways of applying for tickets. If paying by cheque, please use the enclosed application form which is also available on the website. A written confirmation will be given if you include a stamped addressed envelope otherwise acknowledgement will be by email or telephone.
If paying by bank transfer, please make payment to Friends of Kent Churches, CAF
Bank Sort code 40-52-40, Account number 00022279 and let Jill Rutland (jill.rutland@ 843248) know which visits you are paying for so you can be added to the list. Please pay by bank transfer if possible and use the reference ‘Tickets’.

Thursday 22 July: a visit to churches between Maidstone and Ashford led by John
Lumley tel 01233 756249. Tea will be provided at Pluckley.

St Nicholas, Boughton Malherbe ME17 2BD is a small church with a 14th century nave
and aisle, a late medieval tower and a 19th century chancel. There are brasses and some good minor monuments. The most remarkable feature of the church must have been the O’Neale monument of 1663, a three-sided pyramid on lion feet which was dismantled in the 19th century: parts of it were re-used in the vestry floor. This is an opportunity to see a church which is normally locked. Parking is in the village street outside the church; an adjacent field may be available, in which cases signs will indicate where it is.

St James, Egerton TN27 9DJ on the edge of the Chart Hills overlooking the Weald. A 14th century church with a fine tower which, from the evidence of bequests, was building in the 1460s and 1470s. There are good roofs, some fittings and a fine recumbent effigy of a knight brought from the bombed church at Little Chart.

St Nicholas, Pluckley TN27 0QT a 13th and 14th century church with a late 15th century south chapel, prettily placed in a handsome village mostly built by the Derings of Surrenden. The church has good screens and brasses, some of them forgeries of about
1630 designed to display the lineage of Sir Edward Dering.

Wednesday 15 September: a visit to the area west of Maidstone led by Paul Britton tel
01732 365794. Tea will be provided at Ightham.

St Michael, Offham ME19 5NY stands next to Church Farm but otherwise alone in
the fields about half a mile north of the village: it is an example of that common Kent
phenomenon, a church serving a settlement which has moved elsewhere. The nave is
early Norman, as may be the north tower; the chancel is of the 13th century. There was
a south aisle which had been demolished by about 1330, so the village was already
contracting at that early period. The church has a simple but very beautiful interior.
Parking is on the road outside the church (and may also be available in the yard of
Church Farm).

St George, Wrotham TN15 7AH is an imposing church standing in the middle of its
village and above a small market place. There is work of every century from the 11th
to the 17th, including a large east window brought after the war from St Alban, Wood
Street, a blitzed Wren church in the City. There are good fittings and monuments; and no
church in Kent has a better collection of Victorian stained glass. Parking is available in
the village, especially in Bull Lane which runs east towards the A20.

St Peter, Ightham TN15 9JD stands just north of the village centre. The church, which
has early Norman origins, has an attractive medley of textures in its ragstone and
ironstone walls patched with brick and, unusually, a 16th century north aisle wholly of
brick. There are fine roofs, fittings and, especially, monuments and hatchments to the
Cawnes and Selbys of Ightham Mote. Two of the monuments are of outstanding quality.

Tuesday 12 October: a tour of Rochester Cathedral, led by the cathedral architect,
John Bailey, followed by tea/coffee and cake. The tour will begin at 2.30pm and those
attending should gather in the nave. Tea will be at 4pm. Evensong is at 5.30pm for
anyone who wishes to stay on to attend.

There will, in addition, be two tours of the high parts of the cathedral, the first beginning at 1.30pm and the second at 4.45pm. Only seven people can be accommodated on each tour, so places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Participants need to be fit and to wear flat-healed shoes. There is no additional charge for this tour but those taking part are invited to make a donation to the cathedral. If you wish to apply for a place, please use the enclosed application form and Jill Rutland will let you know whether you have been successful – please supply an email address for this purpose.

Briggs Event

The Briggs Event is sponsored each year by the Friends to help the host church raise
funds. The Friends contribute to the cost of a lecturer and other associated costs of
staging the event. No church has arranged an event yet for 2021: any church interested in doing so should get in touch with me at or 01732 365794.

Autumn lecture

Our autumn lecture will be at Lenham on Wednesday 20 October and will be given by
Joe Elders, Head of Buildings Strategy at the Church Buildings Council of the Church
of England on the subject: How, for what and for whom should we keep our church
buildings? Further details will be given in the autumn newsletter.

Annual Report

The full annual report from 2020 is available to download by clicking here.