John E. Vigars Kent Church Photographs
Image Source: John Vigar
Famous as the burial place of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and whose grave stands outside the main south door, this church contains so much more of interest. Mostly thirteenth century with a fourteenth century veneer it is full of treasures. The best collection of memorials in East Kent may be found in the north chapel owned for centuries by the series of owners of Quex House. The Quex, Crispe, Powell and Powell-Cotton families have been commemorated in monuments that reflect the styles oil the centuries. There are 6 brasses now on the wall, a huge 6-portrait bust tablet and a huge classical entablature. Opposite is a more usual but excellently crafted Prie- Dieu with gaudy colouring. The rest of the church does not disappoint. The SW corner of the church has dumpy piers and rudimentary vaulting showing that a new tower was planned there, though it was never built. The nave piers and chancel arch show remarkable degradation in the stonework. There seems to be no reason for this but it is almost that the church has been consumed by fire at some time. The reredos was designed by the 19th century architect Charles Beazley (see also Acol and Westgate) and painted by Nathaniel Westlake. It badly needs a clean to make it sing again. The altar rails are by the Canterbury College of Art, 1930s, and a really a fine period piece. What an interesting church this is – built to serve a farming village with a big house and later adapted to suit the holidaymakers who came here by the thousand. What a shame that it is difficult of access (though the helpful Church Office is happy to oblige).
1851 Census Details
Seating Capacity: 500
Morning Attendance: 280
Afternoon Attendance: 280
Evening Attendance: No service
Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval
Restoration: Beazley 1864
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