John E. Vigars Kent Church Photographs
Image Source: John Salmon
An unpromising location for a characterful and thoroughly rewarding church. In the churchyard is the `Invicta Monument` which records the meeting at Swanscombe of the Men of Kent and Kentish men and William the Conqueror in 1067 when the county's ancient rights and liberties were confirmed by the new King. This is when the motto `Invicta` (meaning unconquered) was added to the county badge. The church itself is Saxon in origin and a fine double splayed window may be seen in the tower south wall. On the south wall of the chancel is the familiar vertical join to show where it was extended in the thirteenth century. Inside, the church has been the subject of some re-ordering to make it suitable for modern worship with the chancel seats arranged to face the nave, and whilst this may sound peculiar it actually works very well. The font is Norman with some glorious carving which may represent the four Evangelists. The lectern is one of the few medieval lecterns to survive in Kent and still has the staples on its pillar to which the medieval service books would have been chained. The church contains evidence of the rood loft stairway and two fine chandeliers. Much nineteenth century work at the church was financed by Sir Erasmus Wilson, who was President of the Royal College of Surgeons. Apart from his medical interests he was also responsible from bringing Cleopatra`s Needle to England and for campaigning to abolish flogging in the British Army. His grave is at the east end of the north aisle, marked by a massive tomb chest.
1851 Census Details
Seating Capacity: 160
Morning Attendance: No service
Afternoon Attendance: No service
Evening Attendance: No service
Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval
Restoration: 1870 Bignell
Second Restoration: -
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