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Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST MARY
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Statutory Address:

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

Sevenoaks (District Authority)
Sundridge with Ide Hill
National Grid Reference:
TQ 48618 54950





A two-cell C12 church greatly enlarged and extended in the C13 when the N and S aisles and chapels were added and the chancel extended. The tower may also be C13 in origin. It was renovated again in the C15, when the aisles and chapels were heightened, tower remodelled, and the chancel arch rebuilt. Chancel remodelled c.1808 by J Carter of Lord Fredrick Campbell of Coombe Bank, although few traces of this work remain. Restored by Street 1848-9. A fire in 1882 badly damaged the chancel, and repairs were carried out to designs by T E C Streatfield. There was further repair and restoration in the C20 to designs by W D Caroë.

MATERIALS: Sandstone rubble with tiled roofs and shingled spire. The chancel is rendered.

PLAN: Nave with very narrow N and S aisles, S porch, and S rood stair. W tower. Chancel with N and S chapels and N vestry.

EXTERIOR The aisles and chapels have pitched roofs, creating an attractive massing of gables of differing heights when seen from the east. The W tower, possibly C13 in origin and originally unbuttressed, was remodelled in the later middle ages, when the buttresses, stair turret, W door and W window were added. Shingled spire. Both the aisles and the chancel chapels were heightened in the C15, and have 3-light Perpendicular windows with pointed heads. The chancel E window is similar, but there are C13 lancets in the chancel N and S walls. The S chapel has a C19 S door and lower part of its E window is partially blocked. The S porch has a hipped roof and a chimney. There are C15 offset buttresses on the N aisle and diagonal buttresses on the chancel. The C17 NE vestry has a 2-light window in a square frame.

INTERIOR Although the church is quite small, the interior is exceptionally lofty because the very narrow aisles were heightened without being widened, making them very tall for their width.

The 3-bay N and S nave arcades are early C13 and have chamfered arches on cylindrical piers with moulded capitals. A former clerestory of quatrefoil windows is visible above the arcades, but the aisle walls were raised in the C15, so that the clerestory is now internal. The C15 aisle and chapel windows have dropped sills forming window seats. The aisle roofs are pitched and have C15 roofs with very short crown posts. The rafters are plastered in. The late medieval nave roof has taller crown posts on moulded beams and wall plates. The chancel roof is C19, rebuilt after the fire of 1882.

The tower arch is the same height as the arcades and of two chambered orders. It sits behind the line of the former nave wall, which is visible as an internal buttress. The tops of the C12 walls are also visible as an offset all the way around the nave. The tower arch is now closed by a glazed late C20 screen. Inside the tower, the substantial framing of the ringing chamber floor is visible and the spire retains its original framing.

The chancel arch is chamfered and sits on polygonal responds with polygonal moulded capitals. The arches from the aisles to the chapels are C15, and have chamfered arches dying into the wall high up. The 2-bay, C13 chancel chapel arcades are very similar but not identical to the nave arcades, and the remains of nook shafts supporting roll mouldings for the rerearches of former C13 windows are visible on either side of the present E window. The original arrangement was probably 5 stepped lancets filling the whole E wall. The adjacent C13 lancets have a continuous roll moulding on their reveals. A corbel for a former rood beam is visible to the left of the chancel arch, and blocked upper and lower doors for the rood loft stairs survive in the SE chapel. A further blocked opening above the rood loft doors is probably a blocked window lighting the rood.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES In chancel, double piscina with a central shaft, C13, very pink from the fire in 1882. Octagonal C15 font. Chancel reredos of 1877 the Good Shepherd and other scenes carved in Caen stone. It was painted and gilded in 1936. Timber chancel altar also C20. Late C19 polygonal timber pulpit with tracery panelling on a stone stem. Good late C19 choir stalls with poppyhead ends and tracery panelling. Late C19 screens in a perpendicular style between aisles and chapels, that on the S incorporating fragments of the medieval screen. In S chapel early C20 panelling and screen to the chancel in an Arts and Crafts Gothic style.

C17 royal arms of Charles I or Charles II. Very fine c.1726 brass chandelier, the gift of Revd. Edward Tenison, Rector 1698-1727. Several early C19 hatchments.

Stained glass of the late C19 and C20, notably in the S aisle an Annunciation by Kemp of 1899. Chancel lancets 1878 by Holiday.

Very good monuments, including brasses to Roger Isley, d. 1429, a man in armour. Brass of a civilian c. 1460, and another of Thomas Isley, d. 1518 and wife with their 10 sons and 3 daughters. Parts of a C15 tomb chest including an angel with a shield reset in the chancel N wall. In the N chapel, an early C16 tomb chest with a Tudor-arched canopy, said to be for John Isley, is used as an altar and reredos.

Later monuments include John Hyde, d. 1677 a black and white marble tablet with a segmental pediment on Ionic columns, and John Hyde, d. 1729, a marble wall tablet with a scrolled open pediment on fluted columns. Also Elizabeth, Duchess of Argyll and Lady Caroline Conway, busts as Roman matrons, by the latter's daughter, the well known sculptor and protégé of Horace Walpole, Anne Damer, in 1808.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: A very fine, and very complete, lychgate, probably C15 or early C16. Timber on renewed dwarf brick walls with a tiled roof. Similar in design to that at West Wickham, it is retains its original posts, main beam, braces and at least some its rafters and other timber. A good churchyard with many interesting monuments, including a chest tomb topped by an urn for Beilby Porteous (1731-1809), successively Bishop of Chester and London and a leading abolitionist. Very good war memorial with polygonal base topped by a tall cross.

HISTORY Sundridge church was mentioned in Domesday book, when it was held by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the double-square plan of the nave suggests that the church was rebuilt (probably replacing an earlier timber church) in the C12. The reasons for the very substantial C13 rebuilding are unclear, but may be connected with the church's position on the pilgrimage route to Canterbury. The brasses to the Isley family, who held a local manor in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, suggest a link with the late medieval remodelling of the church.

SOURCES Lambeth Palace Library, ICBS 12469 Newman, J, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald (1969), 530-1 Church guidebook

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The church of St Mary, Sundridge, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons: * Outstanding medieval church, retaining much surviving fabric of the C13 and C15, sympathetically restored. * Excellent late medieval roofs. * Very good monuments and early C20 woodwork * Very good medieval lychgate * Excellent fittings including


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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: 27 May 2000
Reference: IOE01/02367/10
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr RP Hills. Source Historic England Archive
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