Remains of medieval church and churchyard at Halstead Place


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021374

Date first listed: 13-Jan-2005


Ordnance survey map of Remains of medieval church and churchyard at Halstead Place
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Sevenoaks (District Authority)

Parish: Halstead

National Grid Reference: TQ 48310 61427


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of 1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are identified to be nationally important.

The remains of the medieval church of St Margaret at Halstead Place survive well in the form of standing fragments and buried deposits. Although the upper parts of the church were dismantled in the late 19th century, the lower parts of the walls, the floors and foundations are likely to survive relatively undisturbed. These structural features will preserve evidence for the layout of the medieval and post-medieval church, and for the form and date of construction of the earliest church on the site. Burials in both the church and churchyard represent a unique record of the population of the parish in the medieval, post-medieval and early modern periods, and will preserve important evidence for early religious activity on the site. As the remains of an ecclesiastical building no longer in use, the medieval church at Halstead Place represents a rare opportunity to protect vital evidence for a monument type which was central to the medieval and later landscape.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the medieval church and churchyard of St Margaret, situated approximately 280m SSW of the present church of St Margaret at Halstead which was built to replace it in 1880-1. The medieval church, which was demolished in 1880, stood immediately to the south of Halstead Place, an 18th century country house built on the site of an earlier manor house. Halstead Place was demolished in 1952 and the associated stable block and coach house, and the walled garden, are now Listed Buildings Grade II. The medieval church is thought to date principally from the 12th or 13th century when it was rebuilt on the site of an earlier church; part of its fabric and foundations may therefore be of early medieval origin. A painting from the early 19th century depicts a small church consisting of a nave, chancel, north aisle with north porch, and a west tower with spire and buttresses; the windows in the chancel and north aisle are shown to have been of two lights with square hoodmoulds. A photograph taken of the church in the late 19th century, soon before its demolition, indicates that it remained in this form throughout the century. The only part of the church now standing above ground is an L-shaped section of walling representing the north west corner of the west tower. This fragment stands to a height of 0.7m-1m and is constructed of flint rubble capped with mortar. Some collapsed walling is visible immediately adjacent to the west of it. The rest of the remains of the church survive as buried deposits, including the foundations of the medieval church, together with associated flooring, burials and artefacts. The churchyard has remained largely unaltered since it became disused in the 19th century. It is roughly trapezoidal in plan, measuring approximately 38m east-west and 30m-38m north-south. The remains of the church are located close to the western boundary of the churchyard, which takes the form of an earthen bank standing approximately 0.5m above a trackway which runs outside the churchyard. Fragments of brick walling are visible on the inside of the bank. The northern boundary of the churchyard takes the form of a brick wall standing up to 0.5m in height; on the southern boundary the remains of the churchyard wall are now earth-covered, standing about 0.3m high. Fragments of brick walling are also visible on the east side of the churchyard, where the entrance was located. The churchyard was closed for burials in the mid-19th century. There are a number of gravestones still standing in the churchyard, including a number adjacent to the standing remains of the church; although these date principally from the 18th and early 19th centuries, the churchyard will preserve a burial population dating back to the medieval period. All gravestones are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 22783

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing