Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of PARISH CHURCH OF ST LAWRENCE
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Statutory Address:

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

Tunbridge Wells (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 56511 43205



11/5 Parish Church of St Lawrence 20.10.54 GV II*

Parish Church. C12 nave; chancel probably C14, largely rebuilt 1876-77; C13 north aisle; late C14/early C15 west tower; south aisle 1876-77 by Ewan Christian, who probably replaced the nave and north aisle roofs at the same time; vestry 1956 (Church Guide). The medieval masonry is large, roughly- dressed blocks of local sandstone, possibly quarried immediately south-east of the church (q.v. Nos 1, 2 and 3 Rock Cottages); C19 masonry sandstone rubble; C20 masonry snecked sandstone; C19 tiled roof with crested ridge tiles; C19 timber and stone porch.

Plan and Development: Sited on a spur above the High Street. A small C12 nave and chancel church of which some original masonry and features survive. 2-bay north aisle with lean-to roof added in the C13. Chancel probably rebuilt late C14 but substantially restored in 1876-77. Circa late C14 west tower; south aisle and porch 1876-77 by Christian.

Exterior: Large diagonal buttresses to the chancel, which has a 3-light east window in a late Decorated style with hoodmould and label stops, tracery largely C19. C14 2-light south chancel window with a hoodmould and label stops. On the north side the nave retains one small round-headed window, C12 or perhaps earlier, set high up in the wall, and a C13 lancet. The 2-bay Early English north aisle has chamfered lancet windows to the east and west ends and one in the north wall and a C13 2-centred chamfered north doorway with pyramid stops. The 1870s south aisle has a south-west buttress and re- uses medieval features. 2-light C19 east window with intersecting tracery; similar 3-light west window. To the east of the porch there is a restored, square-headed 2-light C15 or early C16 window with a hoodmould and trefoil- headed lights. The one-light window west of the porch is trefoil-headed with debased cusping. 1870s timber gabled porch on a stone base with cusped bargeboards and glazed trefoil-headed lights. The re-set south doorway incorporates a partly-blocked C12 doorway with detached shafts with cushion capitals and a tall, plain, rounded-headed arch. This has been infilled above a circa late C14 moulded doorway with a hoodmould. Circa late C15 early C16 plank door with massive strap hinges. Low 3-stage late C14/early C15 Perpendicular west tower with a pyramidal spire and tall diagonal buttresses with set-offs. Moulded 3-centred west doorway with a hoodmould; 2-light C16 square-headed west window with cinquefoil-headed lights and a hoodmould. Trefoil-headed 1-light belfry windows on north, south and west sides; trefoil- headed window to the ringing chamber on the south side. Clock of 1851 (Church Guide), the face above the west window.

Interior: Plastered walls. 1870s Early English style moulded chancel arch springing from demi-shafts with bell capitals. 2-bay C13 Early English north arcade with 2-centred arches with narrow chamfers springing from a square section pier and responds. The pier is chamfered with bar stops. Circa late C14/early C15 arch braced common rafter chancel roof with ashlaring and a richly-moulded tie beam. The nave, north and south aisle roofs are 1870s variants of the chancel roof. Circa late C14 double-chamfered tower arch springing from octagonal responds with moulded capitals. C19 chamfered arch from the chancel into the east end of the south aisle, which is now used as an organ chamber. 3-bay Early English style south aisle of 1876-77, the lower western arch into the tower blocked, the arcade with double-chamfered arches on cylindrical piers with moulded capitals.

Fittings: Font, probably C19, with an octagonal sandstone bowl on an octagonal shaft and a flat C17 lid. Circa 1870s timber drum pulpit with pierced traceried panels on a stone base, Sanctuary fittings largely early C20 except for a medieval piscina and aumbrey in the east wall. C19 choir stalls with re-used C15 poppyhead finials. Set of C19 benches with shaped ends in the nave; C19 dado at the east end of the south aisle, probably removed from the chancel.

Monuments and Stained Glass: An important set of 8 early C20 Morris and Company windows, 2 (the east and 2-light windows in the south aisle) to late C19 designs by Burne-Jones. The designs are mostly single figures set against a decorative background and contrast with the earlier Clayton and Bell windows, the east window, dated 1865 and the west window of the south aisle, dated 1878.

The church retains hanging oil lamps, converted to electricity and is said to have a bell dated 1684 (Church Guide).

Newman, John. West Kent and the Weald. Buildings of England series (1976 edn.).

Listing NGR: TQ5651143205


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Church Guide to Church of St Lawrence Bidborough
Newman, J, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald, (1976)


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: 03 May 2002
Reference: IOE01/03906/10
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Jane Comeau. Source Historic England Archive
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