Parish Church of St John


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Parish Church of St John, Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, TN11 9HR


Ordnance survey map of Parish Church of St John
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Statutory Address:
Parish Church of St John, Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, TN11 9HR

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

Tonbridge and Malling (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 07/03/2019

TQ 54 NE 5/123


(Formerly listed under LONDON ROAD (north east side))

GV II* Parish church. 1843-44, dating from the creation of the parish and the first church design of Ewan Christian, restoration and reseating of 1846 by F.W Hunt (Homan, 1984) at a cost of £2,044 (Kelly's Kent, 1934). Roughly-coursed squared ragstone with ashlar dressings; C20 peg-tile roof with tile patterns. Lancet style.

Plan: nave, north and south transepts, apsidal chancel, south east tower, north east vestry, south west porch.

Exterior: the chancel has a hipped roof with an east end gable. The east face has pilaster buttresses with set-offs and a triple lancet; single lancets to the other faces in recessed panels with corbel tables. Buttressed nave of five bays, the buttresses rising to the wall plate; bulbous string course at sill level, lancet windows. On the south side each bay has a corbel table between the buttresses, shallow gabled south west porch with a moulded doorframe with a hoodmould, Early English style shafts and bell capitals and a C18 door with ornamental hinges. The west end of the nave has angle buttresses, a triple lancet in the centre bay flanked by single lancets and a roundel in the gable. The transepts are similarly buttressed with triple lancet windows, the south window with a hoodmould. The vestry abuts the chancel rather awkwardly with gables to the east and north and extends along the north end of the north transept.

The south east tower, in the angle between apse and transept, is fine, slender, three-stage with a broach spine with two tiers of lucarnes. The angle buttresses give a panelled effect to the bellringers' stage, with a corbel table between the buttresses. The south doorway is richly-moulded in Early English style, the string course rising as a hoodmould to the doorway which has the text "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise". Lancet windows to the bellringers' stage, the belfry windows are large paired lancets with a hoodmould. The west face has a parted lancet to the ground floor stage.

Interior: dominated by the spectacular arched-braced roofs, springing from moulded corbels at window cill level. The nave roof is five bays plus a smaller bay at the crossing. The western bay is 1896. Each bay has diagonal braces and diagonal boarding. The crossing is formed by four curved braces with a moulded pendant at the apex. The chancel has two bays matching the nave with shorter braces to the apse, the east window framed by longer braces supported on clustered marble shafts. The painted decoration on the main trusses may be original. The transepts are each two bays with A frame trusses. Christian's roof is described by Newman as a re-thinking of "the problem of the preaching box". (Newman, 1980). The walls are plastered. The chancel was embellished in 1896, the apse walls lined with alabaster and mosaic friezes with a mosaic of the Agnus Deii in the gable over the altar.

Chancel fittings include dado panelling of 1925, C19 choir stalls and a low chancel screen with a frieze of pierced trefoils and Jacobean style finials. The late C19 pulpit is accessible only from the chancel, a timber drum with traceried panels on a stem. Pair of fine brass sanctuary lamps in a free Art Nouveau style. The nave has a set of plain 1896 benches with shaped ends and a plain octagonal font on an octagonal stem.

Stained Glass and Monuments: Important collection of late C19 and early C20 stained glass. The west windows, including the roundel, are probably by Clayton and Bell. The nave windows are a matching set by Powell. The west window in the north transept is by the Morris Company, that in the south transept designed by Burne-Jones. The south window of the south transept is high quality by Clayton and Bell. East window by Powell. There are a number of good late C19 and early C20 wall tablets.

In the vestry there is a plan and elevation of the "proposed new church", dated January 1843 and signed Ewan Christian, 44, Bloomsbury Square.

One of Christian's finest churches.

Listing NGR: TQ5648348848


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Homans, R, Victorian Churches of Kent, (1984)
Newman, J, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald, (1980)


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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 20 Aug 1999
Reference: IOE01/02141/04
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Michael James. Source Historic England Archive
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