PARISH CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- PARISH CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS, HIGH STREET
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- Statutory Address:
- PARISH CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS, HIGH STREET
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Tunbridge Wells (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 67969 41708
TQ 67 41 BRENCHLEY HIGH STREET, BRENCHLEY
15/98 Parish Church of All Saints
Parish church. Some evidence of pre C13 masonry; nave, aisles and probably tower all C13; C14 porch and nave roof; C15 alterations. Chancel rebuilt by John Montier of Tunbridge Wells in 1814 (Colvin); thorough restoration of 1849 to the designs of Joseph Clarke (Pevsner). Local sandstone, roughly coursed, snecked and rubble; slate roof with lead rolls.
Plan: A large church. Chancel, north and south transepts; nave with 4-bay north and south aisles; north porch; partly internal west tower. The chancel and nave are unusually wide. Pevsner suggests that the transepts post-date the aisles. These may have been extended westward. Judging from a circa 1830s sketch (A Victorian Pictorial Record of Brenchlev and Matfield (n.d., c.1988) there was little or no medieval tracery in the church at that date and dormer windows in the south side presumably lit a gallery. Clarke no doubt re-gothicised the church.
Exterior: Chancel coursed masonry on a rubble plinth with angle buttresses and buttresses to both sides. 5-light 1849 Decorated east window with a hoodmould and carved label stops; 2-light 1849 Decorated windows, one to each return, also with hoodmoulds and carved label stops. The north transept is partly rubble, partly snecked masonry with similar 2-light east and 3-light north windows; angle buttresses. South transept mostly rubble with angle buttresses; similar C19 windows. 2-light east window, 4-light south window. 3-bay buttressed south aisle with a slightly projecting parapet. Probably late C12/early C13 chamfered west lancet window. The outer bays have C19 2- light Decorated windows. Priest's door in the centre bay with a hoodmould and chamfered and ovolo-moulded doorway; C19 door. The north aisle has angle buttresses and a lean-to roof. 2-light cusped C14 Decorated west window; 2- light C19 Decorated window, one on either side of the porch. Very deep gabled C14 north porch with a wide moulded doorway with a depressed 3-centred arch and carved label stops. Canted boarded roof to the porch, moulded inner doorway. C12 or C13 corbels are re-used as kneelers and set into the gable of the porch. Large 4-stage battlemented west tower with massive angle buttresses with batters and an internal north east stair turret rising above the tower proper with battlementing and a peaked roof with a weathervane. The north face has a pair of lancets to the bottom stage with a cusped one-light window above; a 2-light square-headed belfry opening with trefoil-headed lights and a 2-light square-headed window to the top stage, which has a moulded stringcourse below it. The west face has a moulded C14 west doorway with a hoodmould and carved label stops, the windows above match those on the north face. The south face has a trefoil-headed one-light window to the bottom stage, the windows above matching the other faces; diagonally set clock face.
Interior: Plastered walls. Circa early C14 double-chamfered chancel arch springing from C19 engaged shafts with moulded capitals. 4-bay north and south arcades each with double-chamfered arches on cylindrical piers with moulded capitals and bases. Tower arch obscured by organ. Fine 4-bay nave roof of tie-beam and crown post construction, the tall octagonal posts with moulded caps and bases with 4 up-braces, the tie beam slightly cambered and moulded with timber tracery in the spandrels. The 2 easternmost ties preserve a scheme of painted decoration, probably dating from the C19 but perhaps a restoration of a medieval scheme, which may survive in parts. The bay between the 2 eastern ties has a ceilure of panels of painted boards between moulded ribs with carved bosses. 2 1/2 bay arch braced chancel roof of 1849 springing from massive hammer beams with big brackets below. The centre truss has large carved angel brackets. The lean-to aisle roofs have probably medieval closely-spaced rafters. The transept roofs are A-frame with straight braces to the collar and ashlar posts. C19 painted texts round chancel arch, arches into transepts and on the 2 eastern roof ties. The transepts have windows with engaged shafts with foliage capitals, presumably C19.
The chancel has a 1920s timber reredos and 2 C13 sedilia in the south wall with blind arcading. 1920s marble floor and communion rail, the latter in a C17 style. The nave has a C19 stone drum pulpit on an octagonal stem. It is elaborately carved in a Decorated style with ogee-arched crocketted recesses to each face with blind tracery, the recesses cusped and carved with heads and foliage. Plain octagonal font, possibly late medieval. Set of C19 square headed bench ends with buttress decoration. West gallery with a frontal of linenfold panels. Rood loft stair turret in the south transept.
Monuments and Stained Glass: The chancel has an alabaster wall monument to John Courthop, died 1649, with armorial bearings and a pediment. Immediately south of the reredos a wall monument to Elizabeth Fane, died 1596 (mis-carved as 1566), of Brenchley Manor (q.v.). An alabaster frame with obelisk finials and armorial bearings in the border surrounds an unusually long text. On the south wall a white marble wall tablet to Francis Storr, died 1868, an unusually early example of Baroque Revival. On the north wall a white marble tablet with a pediment and arms below commemorating William Courthop, died 1772. On the north transept well wall a very fine mid C17 wall monument by Edward Marshall (1598-1674) (Church Guide) of alabaster and marble to Walter Roberts, died 1652. Below a swan-necked pediment with armorial bearings carved demi-figures in a strapwork frame touching hands. The Church Guide notes floor brasses not seen on survey.
East window by Morris & Co. of Merton Abbey, designed by Henry Dearle: copy of a 1903 design in Troon Church Ayrshire (Church Guide).
A fine church in a good uncleared churchyard.
Listing NGR: TQ6797341709
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 All Saints Brenchley
A Victorian Pictorial Record of Brenchley and Matfield, (1988)
Colvin, H M, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, (1978)
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