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Parish Church of St John, Hildenborough

Description: Parish Church of St John

Grade: II
Date Listed: 19 February 1990
English Heritage Building ID: 179560

OS Grid Reference: TQ5648148850
OS Grid Coordinates: 556481, 148850
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2174, 0.2392

Location: 194 B245, Hildenborough, Kent TN11 9HT

Locality: Hildenborough
Local Authority: Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: TN11 9HT

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Listing Text

TQ 54 NE
5/123 Parish Church of St John

Parish church. 1843-4, dating from the creation of the parish and the first
church design of Ewan Christian, restoration and reseating of 1846 by F.W.
Hunt (Homan) at a cost of £2,044 (Kelly's Kent (1934)). Roughly-coursed
squared ragstone with ashlar dressings; C20 peg-tile roof with tile patterns.
Lancet style.

Plan: Nave, north and south transepts, apsidal chancel, south east tower,
north east vestry, south west porch.

Exterior: The chancel has a hipped roof with an east end gable. The east
face has pilaster buttresses with set-offs and a triple lancet; single lancets
to the other faces in recessed panels with corbel tables. Buttressed nave of
5 bays, the buttresses rising to the wall plate; bulbous string course at sill
level, lancet windows. On the south side each bay has a corbel table between
the buttresses, shallow gabled south west porch with a moulded doorframe with
a hoodmould, Early English style shafts and bell capitals and a C18 door with
ornamental hinges. The west end of the nave has angle buttresses, a triple
lancet in the centre bay flanked by single lancets and a roundel in the gable.
The transepts are similarly buttressed with triple lancet windows, the south
window with a hoodmould. The vestry abuts the chancel rather awkwardly with
gables to the east and north and extends along the north end of the north
transpet. The south east tower, in the angle between apse and transept, is
fine, slender, 3-stage with a broach spine with 2 tiers of lucarnes. The
angle buttresses give a panelled effect to the bellringers' stage, with a
corbel table between the buttresses. The south doorway is richly-moulded in
Early English style, the string course rising as a hoodmould to the doorway
which has the text "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts
with praise". Lancet windows to the bellringers' stage, the belfry windows
are large paired lancets with a hoodmould. The west face has a parted lancet
to the ground floor stage.

Interior: Dominated by the spectacular arched-braced roofs, springing from
moulded corbels at window cill level. The nave roof is 5 bays plus a smaller
bay at the crossing. The western bay is 1896. Each bay has diagonal braces
and diagonal boarding. The crossing is formed by 4 curved braces with a
moulded pendant at the apex. The chancel has 2 bays matching the nave with
shorter braces to the apse, the east window framed by longer braces supported
on clustered marble shafts. The painted decoration on the main trusses may be
original. The transepts are each 2-bays with A frame trusses. Christian's
roof is described by Newman as a re-thinking of "the problem of the preaching
box". West Kent and the Weald (1980)). The walls are plastered. The chancel
was embellished in 1896, the apse walls lined with alabaster and mosaic
friezes with a mosaic of the Agnus Deii in the gable over the altar. Chancel
fittings include dado panelling of 1925, C19 choir stalls and a low chancel
screen with a frieze of pierced trefoils and Jacobean style finials. The late
C19 pulpit is accessible only from the chancel, a timber drum with traceried
panels on a stem. Pair of fine brass sanctuary lamps in a free Art Nouveau
style. The nave has a set of plain 1896 benches with shaped ends and a plain
octagonal font on an octagonal stem.

Stained Glass and Monuments: Important collection of late C19 and early C20
stained glass. The west windows, including the roundel, are probably by
Clayton and Bell. The nave windows are a matching set by Powell. The west
window in the north transept is by the Morris Company, that in the south
transept designed by Burne-Jones. The south window of the south transept is
high quality by Clayton and Bell. East Window by Powell. There are a number
of good late C19 and early C20 wall tablets.

In the vestry there is a plan and elevation of the "proposed new church",
dated January 1843 and signed Ewan Christian, 44, Bloomsbury Square.

One of Christian's finest churches.

Homan, R., The Victorian Churches of Kent (1984).
Newman, J., West Kent and the Weald, the Buildings of England series (1980

Listing NGR: TQ5580049400

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.