Church Of St Martin Of Tours

25 Jul 2004
Church Of St Martin Of Tours, Ashurst Hill, Speldhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 9TH
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.


7/434 Church of St Martin of Tours 20.10.54 GV I

Ashurst Parish Church. C14 and C15, south porch dated 1621, modernised by Ferrey in 1861, and by H.W. Curzon in 1865, vestry added circa 1875, refurbished, perhaps by Fellowes-Prynne, in 1904-5. Mostly sandstone rubble west end of roughly-dressed sandstone blocks laid to courses, tower is a weatherboarded timber frame, C19 vestry of rock-faced sandstone ashlar. Peg- tile roof.

Plan: Nave with narrower and lower chancel. Probably C15 west tower. C17 south porch. C19 vestry and north porch.

Exterior: Weatherboarded tower rises from west end. It has a steep pyramid roof surmounted by a wrought iron weathervane. West end has angle buttresses and west doorway a 2-centred arch with moulded surround and hoodmould. It contains a C19 plank door with coverstrips. Quatrefoil window in south wall under the tower part of the 1904-5 refurbishment. South side of the nave has gabled porch (dated 1621) right of centre. Rebuilt Tudor outer arch. Date plaque above includes a carved coat of arms and sandstone sundial above.

Gable has shaped kneelers and coping. Inside porch steps down to south door, a 2-centred arch with moulded surround and shafts and hoodmould. To left of the porch 2 possibly C14 trefoil-headed lancets and to right a 2-light window with Decorated tracery (C19 replacement). Chancel south side has 2 square- headed 2-light windows, left one with original head of cinquefoil heads and right one with C19 trefoil-headed lights. East window Decorated 3-lights with reticulated tracery and hoodmould. North side of chancel behind C19 vestry with low pitch roof and parapet, clasping buttresses and plate tracey windows.

Gabled north porch has a shoulder-headed arch in the side and a 2-light window with Decorated tracery; another to left of the porch and to right 2 trefoil- headed lancets.

Interior: Tower arch of 1904-5 is nearly full width segmental pointed arch with pierced quatrefoil spandrels below a blind Gothic arcade. Above some of the original frame of the tower is exposed. No chancel arch as such. The space between the roofs is boarded over. Nave has good C14 3-bay open roof of moulded tie beams with tall square crown posts (moulded caps and bases) and common rafters with soulaces and ashlar posts. 2-bay chancel roof is boarded but follows a similar profile and although there is a tie beam there is no crown post. Both roofs have moulded wall plates. Tall niche with moulded surround in north east corner of the chancel of unknown function. Walls are plastered. Tile floor to nave but chancel has marble steps to sanctuary and a polychrome mosaic floor laid down in 1905.

Fittings and-Furniture: A plaque records the refurbishment of the chancel in 1905. Carved stone reredos may be late C19; a Gothic arcade featuring the symbols of the Evangelists flanking central cross. 1905 oak altar rail on turned balusters bowing forward. C19 oak stalls with some Gothic detail. C19 pulpit with panelled sides incorporating some probably C16 work. Plain pine benches. C13 stone font. Main cylindrical shaft with 4 corner columns supporting a square bowl with rounded corners and simple arcade around.

Possibly C17 oak hood. Good late C17 table towards rear of nave with elaborately carved sides and legs.

Memorials: Plain of no more than local interest. Some C19 glass.

Sources Newman, J. West Kent and the Weald, Penguin Buildings of England series (1969), p.137.

Listing NGR: TQ5075738974


This is part of the Series: IOE01/0255 IOE Records taken by Neville Broadbent; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr Neville Broadbent. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Broadbent, Neville

Rights Holder: Broadbent, Neville


Ashlar, Rubble, Sandstone, Tile, Timber, Weatherboard, Medieval Parish Church, Religious Ritual And Funerary, Church, Place Of Worship, Date Stone, Commemorative, Commemorative Stone, Commemorative Monument, Plaque, Sundial, Gardens Parks And Urban Spaces, Garden Ornament, Coat Of Arms