John E. Vigars Kent Church Photographs
Image Source: John Vigar
Dominating its sandstone ridge when viewed from the north, St James Church must always have attracted visitors. Its tower is fifteenth century but this is attached to an earlier building which may probably have been thirteenth century. There are some windows of this date but the stonework has been so renewed that it is impossible to tell if they are copies of the originals. Originally dedicated to Our Lady the church was later rededicated to St James. The most important thing in the church is the oldest 36-branch chandelier in the world originally in All Saints Church Maidstone but given to this church in 1856. The font has the symbols of the evangelists as well as Tudor roses. The latter is quite a local feature and can be seen in the porch at Charing, too. The east window showing the Crucifixion (by Bacon) dominates the chancel whilst the bronze cross and candlesticks were designed by the notable church furnisher Randoll Blaking.
1851 Census Details
Seating Capacity: 550
Morning Attendance: 187
Afternoon Attendance: 328
Evening Attendance: No service
Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval
Restoration: Joseph Clarke 1854
Second Restoration: Christian 1887
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