John E. Vigars Kent Church Photographs
Image Source: John Vigar
Standing on the north facing slope of the Vale of Holmesdale, St Marys is a fine example of a thirteenth century rebuild of an earlier building. The living has been in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury since at least the time of Doomsday Book and successive Archbishops and their circles have endowed the building, both in structure and furnishing. The church consists of west tower, aisled nave with eastern chapel and chancel. The thirteenth century aisles were originally lean-to constructions with clerestory windows lighting the nave. In the fifteenth century the aisles were given their own roof structures making the former clerestory redundant though it may still be seen. There is a fine chandelier dated 1726, given by a cousin of the then Archbishop. In the eighteenth century the church received an additional family of benefactors, the Campbells, who lived at Combe Bank (now a school). Two female members of the family are commemorated by marble busts in the chancel. The nave displays five funeral hatchments. The west window of the south aisle depicting the Annunciation is by Kempe, whilst the splendid reredos of painted Caen stone(which cost £190 in 1877) is by the Royal Academician James Forsythe.
1851 Census Details
Seating Capacity: 310
Morning Attendance: 242
Afternoon Attendance: 220
Evening Attendance: No service
Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval
Second Restoration: -
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