St Mary's Church, West Hythe
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005498
Date first listed: 01-Nov-1960
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shepway (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TR 12756 34259
St Mary’s Church, 32m west of Wayfield House.
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.
Despite later stone robbing and some alterations, St Mary’s Church survives well with an appreciable amount of upstanding medieval fabric. It includes some well preserved architectural details such as the Norman arched doorway in the south wall. The site is relatively undisturbed and has potential for archaeological investigation. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and history of the church.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 16 March 2015. This 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 surviving as upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated at the foot of a steep escarpment on the north side of St Mary’s Road near the Royal Military Canal at West Hythe.
The church is a two-celled structure constructed of stone rubble with stone dressings. It was built in the 12th century but alterations and additions were made in the 14th century. The church is now roofless but much of the walls survive. The north and west walls and chancel arch are largely intact, but of the south wall only part now survives. The chancel has been robbed at a later date and survives as low footings. There is a blocked Norman arched doorway with star ornament in the south wall of the nave. The nave has a later extension to the west, probably built in about the early 14th century. The position of the entrance was probably also altered at this time. The church is never thought to have included a burial ground. The building is recorded as falling into a state of disrepair in the early 16th century. It was damaged by fire in 1620.
In 2007, an archaeological watching brief to the east, at Wayfield House, recorded a medieval land surface possibly associated with St Mary's Church.
The upstanding remains are Grade II listed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: KE 147
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Kent HER TR 13 SW 9. NMR TR 13 SW 9. PastScape 464009. LBS 175171.
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