John E. Vigars Kent Church Photographs
Image Source: Rob Baker
This small chapel was built c1904 for the workers of the manorial Sandling Park Estate, near Saltwood, which had been acquired by the Rt. Hon. Laurence Hardy in 1897. Hardy was the local Member of Parliament between 1892-1918 and an evangelical lay churchman. Sandling Park is a large country estate consisting of woodland and farmland. Previously there were impressive formal gardens in front the manor house, which was destroyed during WWII and later rebuilt on a smaller scale. A number of Laurence Hardy's descendents still live on or around the Estate today. The chapel is located at the tiny hamlet of Pedlinge along the main Ashford to Hythe road. Built of brick and timber, it replaced a temporary iron Mission Room that had been erected in 1897. Not dedicated to any saint, the chapel is a simple single-room entered through a north porch. The sanctuary area is raised and extended forward on the south side to accommodate the lectern. Windows fitted into a pair of identical gabled dormers in the north and south walls illuminate the sanctuary. In 1934 these were filled with stained-glass manufactured by James Powell & Sons commemorating Laurence Hardy (died 1933) and his wife Evelyn (died 1911). The lower ranges depict four angels, while above are the baronial coats-of-arms of Hardy's ancestors. The present Hardy coat-of-arms have been embroidered onto the lectern frontal. The wooden reredos behind the Communion Table predates the chapel and was apparently sourced second-hand from another church. The carving of the cross in the central panel suggests a mid-19th century date when it was actually illegal to place a cross onto the altar. In the mid-20th century the chapel was bequeathed to the Diocese of Canterbury where it is now used as a chapel-of-ease to Saltwood's Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul, holding a Holy Communion service once Sunday each month. Text by Rob Baker
1851 Census Details
Original Build Date/Architect: c1904
Second Restoration: -
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