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Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS
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Statutory Address:

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

Dover (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TR 26425 50146


EYTHORNE BARFRESTONE TR 25 SE 3/11 Church of St Nicholas 11.10.63 GV I Parish church, Circa 1180, restored 1839-42 by R.C. Hussey. Flint and Caenstone ashlar with plain tiled roof. Nave and chancel. Complete if small, very finely and sumptuously decorated late C12 building, only a 2 light C15-window in the west wall not of C12 date although here also is a C12 lancet and quatrefoil. The lower half of the walls throughout are of flint, with ashlar above with blind arcading except on the west wall and with corbel table to roof. The arcading generally alternately large and small semi-circular arches, the latter with lancet windows, with pointed heads where pinched in above north and south doorways. East end with arcaded and weathered base with buttresses, and large wheel window, the spokes consisting of colonnettes,with beasts' heads as capitals, with leaves and winged beasts in the surround, with the arcading and lancets below. Recesses surround the wheel window with fragments of sculptures of the Evangelists' symbols, and of a Knight on horseback. Brackets to left and right on gable ends bearing crouching lions. Sculptural fragment on south chancel wall, mutilated and indecipherable but for the architectural tabernacle. Otherwise the ornament is expressed in the 3 doorways: north door, with attached shafts with enriched capitals, and imposts to the door surround with bestial heads, with 4 orders to surround; an enriched chevron, roll mould, triple zig-zag and a roll mould. Priest's door (south chancel wall), with billet moulded hood and chevron moulded side pieces, with 3 heads dropped down from concave tympanum. The south door has the richest expression of sculpture. Two sets of attached shafts, the capitals carved with beasts and charging armoured knights, the inner shafts with water leaf volutes as are the spurred bases to the shafts. Three orders around tympanum, with an outer enriched, foliated roll mould, then a dozen sunk medallions with signs of the zodiac and the labours of the month, but also with some warriors and Samson, with a thick roll within this with animals cavorting and playing musical instruments, with a figure of a bishop at the apex. An inner roll of enriched foliate design surrounds the tympanum, which has loops of foliage enclosing figures of angels, human heads and beasts, with central figure of Christ in a mandorla. The door itself with 3 large C19 strap hinges scrolled and bifurcated. Scratch dials are cut into the doorway surround. Interior: Nave and chancel with C19 wooden tunnel vault roofs. All the window reveals have roll moulded surrounds. Continuous enriched band in nave at sill level and raised over door heads, with trefoil and flower ornament, with carvings on north wall of a fox and a rabbit apparently stewing another rabbit and a monkey blowing a pipe; with C19 wyvern and lion.Dogtooth over rere-arches of nave windows. Chancel arch: with niches to left and to right with attached crocketed shafts, roll mould and zig-zag. Chancel arch itself with a billet moulded drip, triple zig-zag moulding, chevron moulded and plain inner rolls. Moulded imposts carried as if a cornice across the side niches, and with large attached zig-zag shafts with crocketed capitals similar to those found at Bredgar, Bapchild and several other churches in the Sittingbourne area, all ultimately based on Canterbury Cathedral work of the 1170s. The decorated strings in the chancel, embattled in part with punched holes in relief, and the dogtooth show signs of the C19 restoration (involving the complete taking down and rebuilding of the chancel stone by stone). The wheel window surround is, as with the exterior, decorated with winged beasts and floriate patterns. Fittings: Aumbries in north and south walls, the latter with a trefoiled head. Glass: C19 in style, in the wheel window, by W. Miller, Paintings: Very faint traces in the chancel north-east window, the only remains of very extensive paintings destroyed in the 1839-41 rebuilding. Monuments: Thomas Boys d.1599, wall plaque in chancel. Black and white alabaster monument with strapwork base, and side pieces with ribband and strapwork decoration, topped by cornice with ball and steeple finials and achievement in strapwork surround. A plain black and white wall plaque with simple surround and cornice of similar date, but illegible inscription is on the south wall. (See B.O.E. Kent II 1983, pp 133-4).

Listing NGR: TR2625350175


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Books and journals
Newman, J, The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent, (1983), 133-4


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 06 Oct 2004
Reference: IOE01/13440/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Valerie E. Davies. Source Historic England Archive
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