Church of St Mildred, Canterbury
Description: Church of St Mildred
Date Listed: 3 December 1949
English Heritage Building ID: 170573
OS Grid Reference: TR1450057514
OS Grid Coordinates: 614500, 157514
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2764, 1.0740
Location: 6 Church Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2FR
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There is also a scheduled monument, City wall (site) and ditch on Rheims Way, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.
856/11/185 CHURCH LANE
03-DEC-1949 ST MILDRED'S
CHURCH OF ST MILDRED
(Formerly listed as:
CHURCH OF ST MILDRED WITH ST MARY IN C
DATE: S wall and part of W wall of nave, along with a small section of the S wall of the chancel are visibly Saxon and the shell of the nave and probably the whole of the chancel are of this date. C13 NE chapel; C14 south windows to nave; C15 N aisle; 1512 SE chapel. In 1861 Butterfield restored the church and the west gallery with organ was replaced on the north side of the choir. A N porch was added in 1900. There was a 1920s restoration and also restoration following a 1973 fire.
MATERIALS: Mostly flint with tiled roofs and freestone dressings of Kentish ragstone and Caen stone, with evidence of former render on the N side. The Saxon walling is a mixture of flint, tile and stone with very large quoins. The SE chapel is chequered flint and freestone; the gable of the N aisle is rebuilt in brick.
PLAN: Five bay nave, two bay chancel, N aisle, the east end of the aisle and NE chapel refurbished as vestries and church room following a late 1970s fire; NE vestry roofed at right angles to the chapel; SE chapel; N porch. N tower demolished in 1836.
EXTERIOR: The north side has five renewed lancets, two of which originally lit the N tower built over the aisle, and a C19 gabled porch. The west end of the aisle is Perpendicular with a stringcourse, brick gable and 2-light C19 W window with W doorway below. The NW quoins of the nave are concealed by a buttress. The NE vestry also has a stringcourse and a timber-framed north gable, depressed segmental arched doorway on the west side with a stack with a tall brick chimneyshaft. 5-light Perpendicular style traceried E window to chancel, 3-light Perpendicular W window to nave. The south side of the nave has a single buttress and massive quoins at the east and west corners. 3 two-light C14 Decorated windows, one with renewed masonry. The south wall of the Saxon chancel is truncated by the 1512 chapel which has 3-light uncusped windows on its south and west sides and a C19 3-light Perpendicular style window to the east. The chapel has a probably later parapet and east and west gables with freestone crosses in the flintwork and a north-west stack with a flint and freestone chimneyshaft.
INTERIOR: The main entrance through the north-east porch has a medieval four-centred Caen stone arch with arched wooden door with blank shields and linenfold panelling. The aisle roof is of common rafter design with tie beams. Perpendicular N arcade with octagonal piers with concave sides. Crownpost nave roof with 4 trusses with moulded arched braces to short posts in the walls carried on moulded stone corbels. Late-C15 octagonal font, the bowl with quatrefoils and the stem decorated with blind tracery. Original ogival font cover with crocketed angles, finial and pulley cable. C19 stone drum pulpit with blind traceried panels and a brattished (battlemented) cornice, painted to match the late C19/early C20 timber tester. Probably C16 fine timber eagle lectern. C19 nave benches, the ends with simple shouldered profile. The SE chapel was built as a chantry chapel for the Atwood family and is thought to have been built in 1512. It has a C16 Tudor arched stone fireplace and a small C15 figure of St Mildred, perhaps assembled from various medieval fragments. A good quality C15 doorway into the vestry from the former NE chapel has carved spandrels and an original door with vertical mouldings. The chancel arch forms a tie beam with arched braces with a crownpost and two outer posts with timber panels between the outer posts and roofline. This is probably a 1920s arrangement, contemporary with the rood beam and figures below. The chancel has two C14 arches of unequal size on the north-east and a wide late Perpendicular double-chamfered arch on the south into the S chapel. Two, probably medieval,Perpendicular crownposts and tie beam trusses to the chancel, the crown posts with moulded bases and capitals and 4-way braces. Crenellated wall-plate. Late-C19 or early-C20 boarded and panelled ceilure to the sanctuary. The chancel has 1920s panelling but its furnishings incorporate probable C15 or C16 carved Poppy-head bench ends originating from another church.
Stained glass includes medieval fragments of stained glass of St Mildred in the SE chapel, the E window by Ward and Hughes of 1897, the W window by Burlisson and Grylls (re-used from St. Paul's Church, Ramsgate after bomb damage) two lancet windows by Lavers, Barnard and Westlake and stained glass of St Helena and St Mildred in the west window of the north chapel by Kempe studios.
Monuments include various wall tablets of the C17 and C18. In the nave are an alabaster monument to Thomas Cranmer, nephew of the archbishop d. 1604, a monument to Sir William Cranmer d.1691 and black and white marble tomb chest to Sir Francis Head d. 1716 with panels on the sides of sunflowers and on the front arms and emblems of death. There are also a number of black basalt floor slabs. The chancel has a 1789 monument by Bacon to William Jackson d.1789. The parish room contains a monument by J F Mooore to Winefred Bridger d. 1776 with palm trees, Roman sarcophagus and winged victory and adjoining wall tablet to William Smith d.1699. Over the N porch are tablets with benefactions, a Royal Coat of Arms in the N aisle and the N aisle and nave contain 8 hatchments.
HISTORY: The dedication is to St Mildred (d. 732), the daughter of Merewald, King of Mercia, and Ermenburga, a Princess of Kent. After an education at Chelles in France she joined her mother in the convent at Minster-in-Thanet and later succeeded her as abbess. The church was probably built in the mid-C11, soon after the relics of St Mildred had been brought from Minster to St Augustine's Abbey. The church was in the ownership of St Augustine's Abbey until 1538 and then the crown. It was united with All Saints in 1684 but had been united with St Mary-de-Castro earlier.
REASON FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of St Mildred is designated for the following principal reasons:
The Church of St Mildred should be regraded to Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* It is of exceptional importance for the survival of Saxon walling reusing Roman fabric, indicating a large Saxon church, plus a wealth of medieval fabric of various dates, including medieval roofs and an early-C16 chantry chapel with heating;
* It contains fine quality fittings including C15 and C16 woodwork, C17 and C18 wall monuments and stained glass by notable firms;
* It is one of only a handful of Anglo-Saxon churches surviving in Kent.
Pevsner and Newman, North East and East Kent, 1983 edn., 242-243.
The church has been recorded in detail by NADFAS.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.