Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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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 72394 37810


GOUDHURST CHURCH ROAD TQ 7237-7337 (south side) 15/118 Church of St Mary 20.6.67 GV I Parish church. C13 to C15, tower rebuilt 1638-40. Restored 1865-70 to designs of Slater and Carpenter; Ewan Christian executant architect. Sandstone with plain tiled roof. Chancel with north and south chapels, nave with aisles, west tower with south west vestry/sacristy. West tower built 1638-40 (the old one destroyed by lightning 1637) for £750 by London builders, Edmund Kinsman, James Holman, John Young. Two stages on plinth with Classical mouldings, and with offset clasping buttresses; that to north east with stair lights and raised to turret. Battle- mented, with 2-light arched belfry windows in square surrounds and early C20 clock face. Three-light west window, a copy of those at St Mary Cree, London, cusped lights, that to centre raised, in moulded squared surround. Classical west door- way, flanked by niches, with rustic half columns supporting entablature and segmental pediment, the doorway with arched and keyed surround on moulded imposts. C19 2-storey vestry with angle vice to south west. South aisle with 5 offset buttresses, with 2 more to separately roofed south east chapel; steeply pitched gabled roof. Projecting canted bay to easternmost bay of aisle. Nave roof with roundel to east gable, and stepped down chancel roof, with exposed jambs on north and south walls of lancets (C19 lancet east window). North aisle and north east chapel built as one operation, separated by projecting vice, the whole buttressed and battlemented with 3-light arched Perpendicular style fenestration, as throughout the church, except chancel, mostly C19 reconstructions based on original evidence. Hood moulded northern door. Attached to the tower and vestry is a railed enclosure with spear head rails with urn finialed principals, enclos- ing 2 iron crosses, with respective footstones, to the Bathurst family. Interior: chamfered tower arch with octagonal shafts, in chamfered surround. Five-bay arcades, the easternmost bay widened with complex C15 pier with attached shafts and moulded, part of alterations to accommodate now lost rood screen. Alternate round and octagonal piers to south, all C14, western bays of north aisle with round piers C13, with C14 pier, octagonal, then C15 east bay. Roof with 2 crown posts to west end, and C19 reconstructed boarded roof to east. South aisle with hollow chamfered doorways and bay recess to east (for Culpepper tomb). Roof with arched trusses on brackets with iron tier and traces of original C14 painted decoration. North aisle with C19 cross-beamed roof and hollow chamfered north and stair doorways. Double hollow chamfered arch to south chapels, and to chancel, and roll moulded arch with attached shafts to north chapel. Chancel with 2-bay arcades, that to north of a piece with arch to north aisle, that to south earlier, with octagonal pier and responds and hollow chamfered arches. Exposed jambs of C13 lancets to north and south, and C15 south window, now infilled. C19 moulded string course. East window and barred-vaulted wooden ceiling on ancient tie- beams. South chapel with roll moulded corbel string to stone bracketed arch- trussed barrel roof, a form of hammer beam structure. Fittings: simple arched piscina and hollow chamfered aumbrey in chancel and fine C19 altar rail with iron-twist uprights with tendril brackets. Screen to south chapel with base incorporating C14 or C15 panelling, the upper section carved as a memorial to Great War, with vine leaf frieze and ogee headed panels. Screen to north chapel also incorporates medieval panels. Pulpit with octagonal stone base and steps with iron and brass rails, the main box C13 in style with full relief apostles and evangelical symbols, with brass candlesticks and book rest. Erected 1863 as a memorial to Henry Lake of Goudhurst. Brass 12-stick chandelier presented to the church in 1722. C19 brass lectern. Font in nave on medieval (C15) base, with C19 bowl with evangelical symbols. Medieval bowl in north aisle with arcading and crosses (titched at foot). Monuments: in the north chapel: Edmond Roberts, gent, d.1627, small aedicule with arms and achievement over and Latin inscrip- tion. Richard Pack, d.1838, a half relief lion-footed sarcophagus tablet, signed T Denman, Quadrant, Regent, St Edward Lewis Miller, d.1846; severe Stele with elongated urns, signed T Butler, London (Timothy Butler). In the chancel: William (d.1615) and Rachel (d.1606) Campion. Large hanging monument of quality, with coved base bearing aedicule with broken segmental pediment, with enriched scrolls within pediment, and with allegorised female figures resting on pediment, the whole flanked by obelisks on pedestals. Within the aedicule William and his lady kneel oppsoite each other with prayer desk, their 5 sons and 4 daughters carved on the obelisk pedestals. Enriched throughout with ribband and strapwork embellishments. In the south chapel: brasses to John Bedgebury, d.1424, 39½ inches high armoured man with canopy. Sir John Culpepper, d.1480, 25½ inches with canopy on tomb chest. Walter and Agnes Culpepper (d.1462 and 1457), 25 inch armoured figure and shields, the figure a later addition of c.1520 and unidenti- fied. 'Young' Sir Alexander Culpepper, d.1599, erected 1608 by his son Sir Anthony Alabaster standing wall monument, the base with 11 boys and 5 daughters (grandchildren rather than children), supporting 3 Corinthian columns to cornice, with central scrolled aedicule over with half figure of Sir Thomas Culpepper, an old armoured man holding a skull. Within the frame below Sir Alexander kneels to right with Anthony (his only child) behind, and Lady Mary opposite. Not of the highest quality in execution. In the south aisle: the important monument to 'Old' Sir Alexander Culpepper, d.1537. Lozenge-panelled chest set within its own bay widow, with recumbent wooden effigies with coloured gesso details. In the reveal of one bay are 2 relief panels of God in Majesty, the Virgin and Child and St George and the Dragon, dated 1537 on prayer desk with Knight, Lady and children at prayer. Anthony Fowle (of Twyssenden) d.1679, black marble wall tablet with Latin inscription, with scrolled base and cherub head. Bathurst monuments, plain white and black tablets, and black marble ledger slab with cartouche on moulded panelled shafts, to John Bathurst, d.1697 and known as the 'Bread tomb' (because the 'dole' of bread was laid out on it), and grey marble tablet, to Edward Bathurst, d.1772, pilastered with damaged open segmental pediment. Also in the south chapel a large, simple white marble tablet, with aedicule and a half-bust turned to left of periwinkled William Campoin, d.1702. Attributed stylistically to William Bird. Rugged benefaction and prayer boards in tower. Fragments of C15 glass in south west window. Lead-panels dated 1811 recording churchwardens. The church and churchyard were in 1747 the scene of a full-scale battle between the Goudhurst Militia, led by 'General' George Sturt (a former soldier) and the Hawkhurst Gang, probably the largest and most infamous C18 smuggling organisation, led by Thomas Kingswill (whose brother and 2 others of the gang died in the battle). Sturt ended his days warden of the local poorhouse, Kingsmill in 1749 on Tyburn Hill (see BOE, Kent I, 1980 297-8; also Church guide, 1974; also Mary Waugh, Smuggling in Kent and Sussex, 1700-1890, 1985).

Listing NGR: TQ7239437810


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Church of St Mary Church Guide, (1974)
Newman, J, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald, (1980), 297-8
Waugh, M, Smuggling in Kent and Sussex 1700-1890, (1985)


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

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Date: 16 Jul 2000
Reference: IOE01/02001/18
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Richard Shipp. Source Historic England Archive
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