St John The Baptist's Church, Penshurst Church

Image Source: John Vigar

 

A large sandstone church of nave, aisles, chancel and chapels that was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1864. It stands in an excellent position set back from the street in a large well-kept churchyard. The tower is of three stages with four pinnacles strangely set well back from the corners. Inside it is obvious that there have been many rebuildings and repairs, leaving a general character of the Victorian period. The good chancel screen is by Bodley and Garner and dates from 1897. Whilst it is well carved the florid design is more suited to a West Country church than to the Garden of England. The fifteenth-century font has been painted in bold colours in a way that can never have been imagined when it was new! Nearby is the Becket window designed by Lawrence Lee in 1970. It is quite unlike any other window in Kent and has an emphasis on heraldry - the figure of Becket and three knights are almost lost in the patchwork effect. Under the tower is the famous Albigensian Cross, a portion of thirteenth-century coffin lid with the effigy of a woman at prayer. The south chapel, which belongs to Penshurst Place, was rebuilt by Rebecca in 1820 and has a lovely painted ceiling. It contains some fine monuments including Sir Stephen de Pencester, a damaged thirteenth-century knight. Nearby is the large standing monument to the 4th Earl of Leicester (d. 1704) designed by William Stanton. It is a large urn flanked by two angels, above which are the heads of the earls children's floating in the clouds!

 

 

Church Data

 

1851 Census Details

 

Seating Capacity: No return

Morning Attendance: 306

Afternoon Attendance: 197

Evening Attendance: No service

 

Architecture Details

 

Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval

Restoration: 1864 Rebecca

Second Restoration: -

 

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