771/41/105 CHEVENING ROAD
CHURCH OF ST BOTOLPH
The core of the church is probably Anglo-Saxon, and the N aisle and N transept were added or remodelled in the C12. S aisle and S chapel added C13, but are of different builds. Tower begun after 1518. The S chapel roof is 1584, when it became the Lennard family chapel, S porch remodelled 1858. Church restored 1869, and a major restoration in 1901-2 by W D Caroë, including lowering the floor by 2 feet, reordering and refurnishing. The work was paid for by Lord Stanhope.
Rubble and flint partly rendered, ragstone tower. Tiled roofs.
Very long and narrow nave with S aisle shorter than the nave at the W end, N transept, S porch. Evidence for former nave N aisle. W tower with octagonal NE stair turret. Chancel with S chapel continuing the S aisle and N organ chamber linked to N transept.
Three stage embattled W tower with diagonal buttresses and octagonal NE stair turret rising above the parapet, begun after 1518. Four-light Perpendicular W window above a W door with a four-centred head in a square frame with carved spandrels. The S aisle is shorter than the nave and one small, early C12 window, wholly renewed externally, was reset in the nave S wall in the C19. The scar of a former roof, probably for the original narrower aisle, is visible on the aisle W wall. S porch remodelled 1858, but the early C16 king post roof was retained. C13 S door with carved headstops. The S aisle, S chapel and chancel N wall have late perpendicular windows with square heads, the chancel E window has a pointed head. C19 N vestry added to C12 or earlier N transept with an obvious joint between the two sections. Additional C20 pent roof vestry on the W side of the transept. The nave N wall is rendered and has three C19 Early English-style windows.
The nave is very long, and there is no chancel arch or screen. In the nave N wall are three blocked arches separated by substantial mural piers. These have continuous chamfered outer orders and slightly chamfered inner orders on imposts with flat responds, all terminating at dado level. The lancet now in the S aisle was set within this arcade before the C19 restoration. Although it is possible that the arcade was decorative, it is more likely that these arches represent the remains of an Anglo-Saxon aisle or series of porticus chambers, remodelled as an aisle in the early C12 and then subsequently removed, when a lancet from the former outer wall was reset in the blocking. The tall, early C12 arch into the N transept is similar, but has the outer order on imposts and the inner continuous with a small chamfer. It too may be a rebuilding of an earlier Anglo-Saxon arch. The early C13, 3-bay nave S arcade has arches of two chamfered orders on slender cylindrical piers with moulded capitals. The 2-bay arcade to the S chancel chapel and the arch between the aisle and chapel are similar, but have more complex capitals and are probably mid C13. Fine early C20 glazed timber screens enclose the S chapel, which has many monuments of the Lennards and Stanhopes. In the S aisle two pairs of C15 or C16 tomb recesses, each with its own piscina for a former altar. A late medieval grave slab with a cross is rest in one of the recesses. Tower arch with continuous mouldings. There are mortises for a former W gallery. Perpendicular font under the tower.
Two late medieval ogee-headed piscinas in the S aisle, with a pair of tomb recesses with four-centred heads adjacent to each. Perpendicular octagonal font with a buttressed stem and enriched quatrefoils on the bowl, cover is late C20. Pulpit C17 heavily restored and reconfigured in 1901 with some C17 panelling and a C20 pedestal, stairs and handrail. Late C17 armour in S chapel. Many hatchments. The arch to the N transept is said to have traces of wall painting.
Oak pews of 1901 by Cornish and Gaymer. Also by Cornish and Gaymer, the screen and door to the vestry, the restoration of the pulpit and the half-glazed parclose of 1902 to the S chapel in Art-and-Crafts gothic style, with an earl¿s coronet, S for Stanhope and 1902 in the carving. Choir stalls have poppyhead finials. Chancel reredos of 1890, a copy of da Vinci's Last Supper in Caen stone by Farmer and Brindley.
Stained glass is largely C20, including mid C20 E window to Eileen (d. 1940), Countess Stanhope, wife of the 7th and last Earl. In the S chapel heraldic glass to the Stanhopes. S aisle window of St Martin of Tours, as a memorial to the rector's son, killed in the Boer war in 1900. The glass itself is apparently of 1872.
An outstanding collection of monuments, including late medieval coffin lid with ogee foliate cross, reset in recess in S aisle. In the chancel, brass to the Rev. Griffin Floyd, d. 1596 and his wife with 8 children, formerly in the chancel floor, reset in a limestone wall panel as a memorial to Henry Weavers, churchwarden, d.1993. Also Ann Herrys, d. 1613, a hanging alabaster monument with a kneeling figure with two small children. Large angels pull back curtains, an unusual motif for that date. In the S chapel, adopted for funerary use in the 1580s, many monuments to the Lennard and Stanhope families. Among them John Lennard, d. 1590 and his wife Elizabeth, d. 1585. Tomb chest with alabaster effigies of a knight and lady lying on a mat. Sampson Lennard, d. 1615, and his wife, Lady Dacre d.1611: a grandiose affair in the style of Southwark School of masons, comprising a high tomb chest with obelisks and a coffered canopy arch. Reclining figures and kneeling children below. Robert Cranmer, d. 1619, wall monument with figures. A wall tablet to 1st and 2nd Earls Stanhope, erected after 1786, with a female figure leaning over an urn. Lady Frederica Stanhope, signed by Chantrey 1827, a reclining figure with a baby: a late example of a childbirth tomb, showing the sculptor's sensitivity and gracefulness to full effect.
Early C20 lychgate to churchyard, arch-braced timber on dwarf brick walls with a red-tiled roof. The church forms a group with estate cottages opposite
There was Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlement at Chevening, and the church is first recorded in the early C12 Textus Roffensis (1122-23), although it probably existed before that date as the nave and N transept appear to be Anglo-Saxon in origin. The two pairs of tomb recesses with their accompanying piscinas are evidence for chantry chapels in the S aisle in the later middle ages, and the S chapel probably also served as a chantry chapel. In the post medieval period, the church had a close connection with the Lennard (later Lords Dacre) and Stanhope families of nearby Chevening House. There are many monuments for them, and the church was restored by Lord Stanhope in 1901-2 to designs by the well-known church architect W D Caroë.
Newman, J, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald (1969), 201-2
Historical notes on church website
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The church of St Botolph, Chevening, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Almost certainly Anglo-Saxon in origin, with substantial surviving early fabric, including the nave and N transept.
* Significant C13 fabric including the S arcade and S chapel.
* Some late and post medieval roofs, including the S chapel and S porch.
* Fine early C20 fittings to designs by W D Caroë
* A sequence of outstanding monuments, dating from the C16 to C19, displaying the connection between the church and the important Kentish seat of Chevening House.