John E. Vigars Kent Church Photographs
Image Source: Edwardian Postcard
A one-off church, Barfrestone is the south-east's answer to Herefordshire's Kilpeck, although perhaps with slightly less atmosphere. A complete two cell late Norman church, but so unlike all the others in Kent that one cannot really class it in the same group. Its lower walls are constructed of flint rubble, but its upper courses, and dressed stonework are all of imported Caen stone. This is a display of twelfth century wealth and it has usually been associated with the de Port family from Dover Castle. Kent has no local stone that can take fine carving, so the exuberance of detail here is unrivalled in the county. The south doorway is the most widely reproduced image, but the internal carving is of equal importance. Post-Reformation damage has been reconstructed, in some cases with a degree of artistic licence. The two blank arches to either side of the chancel arch were designed to take side altars - a feature relatively common in Kent, for example at Grain. There is some fine medieval graffiti to be seen on the dressed stonework at lower levels both inside and out. As there is no tower, the church bell is hung from a Yew tree. Nave and chancel only. The following is a link to a picture essay written by Julianna Lee, on the subject of Romanesque sculptures at Barfreston: http://www.green-man-of-cercles.org/articles/bestiary_arches.pdf.
1851 Census Details
Seating Capacity: 100
Morning Attendance: No service
Afternoon Attendance: 54
Evening Attendance: No service
Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval
Restoration: Hussey 1839
Second Restoration: -
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