Chapel, Maplescombe


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sevenoaks (District Authority)
West Kingsdown
National Grid Reference:
TQ 56211 63752


Maplescombe Chapel, 164m SSW of Maplebank Farmhouse.

Reasons for Designation

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little fabric of the first church being still easily visible.

Maplescombe Chapel survives relatively well with upstanding medieval walls and footings, which allow the original ground plan to be traced. The chapel has not been excavated and retains potential for archaeological investigation. The site will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the construction, use and history of the church, and the landscape in which it was constructed.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 30 July 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a medieval parish church, known as Maplescombe Chapel, surviving as upstanding and buried remains. It is situated on an east-facing slope near the bottom of a steep-sided valley at West Kingsdown on the North Downs.

The church has a rectangular nave and an apsidal east end. The walls are built of rough undressed flints, are about 1m thick and stand to approximately 3m high at the west end. Elsewhere they survive as low foundations. There are traces of a doorway at the west end of the north wall. Inhumation burials were found in the vicinity of the church in 1913 and 1978 and are likely to be associated with an attached burial ground.

Maplescombe Chapel is thought to have been built in about the 11th century. The dedication of the church is not known. It served as the parish church of Maplescombe, perhaps until the parish was united with Kingsdown in 1638. The church was ruinous by 1768. According to Edward Hasted’s ‘History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent’ of 1797 it originally had round-headed window openings. The church is recorded, together with the site of an attached cemetery, on OS Maps (1:2500) of 1885, 1896, 1909 and 1939.

The standing remains are Grade II listed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
KE 362
Legacy System:


'Parishes: Kingsdown', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Vol 2 (1797), 475-493, accessed from Chapel


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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