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Description: Church of St Michael
Date Listed: 8 June 1972
English Heritage Building ID: 179686
OS Grid Reference: TQ8845135381
OS Grid Coordinates: 588451, 135381
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0868, 0.6894
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633/4/162 ASHFORD ROAD
08-JUN-72 ST MICHAELS
CHURCH OF ST MICHAEL
1862-3 by Gordon M Hills.
MATERIALS: Kentish ragstone with freestone dressings. Red clay tile roofs with blacked crested ridge tiles.
PLAN: Nave, chancel, S aisle, S tower, NW porch, N vestry.
EXTERIOR: The church, built in a late 13th-century style, is sited on ground which falls away sharply to the S which gives the building quite a dramatic impact from that side. The dominant feature is the steeple, attached to the SE part of the nave. It is of three storeys and has a projecting square stair at the SW corner which terminates in a sloping stone capping at the belfry level. The belfry openings are louvred and have two-lights each. The spire is of the broach type and has lucarnes on the cardinal faces. The nave and S aisle are under a catslide roof and the aisle has small, trefoil-headed single-lancet windows. The chancel S elevation has four cusped lancet windows but these are much larger. At the E end the chancel has a three-light Geometrical-style window with three circles in the head. On the N side there is a vestry placed under a catslide roof with the chancel. The N side of the nave has windows with Y-tracery and cusping.
INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened throughout. On the S side of the nave there is a three-bay arcade to the aisle with stepped arches and round piers: these have moulded octagonal capitals and moulded round bases set on low square plinths. There are further arches from the aisle and the SE part of the nave to the base of the tower which serves as an organ chamber. The chancel arch is also stepped and has semi-circular responds with foliage capitals. There are arch-braced roofs to the nave and chancel and a lean-to one to the aisle.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Much Victorian work survives. At the E end there are metal sheets bearing the Ten Commandments, Creed and Lord's Prayer, and behind the altar and below the window the walls are decorated with a variety of marbles. The font is octagonal and has an attractive frieze round the top of the bowl and painted lettering at the bottom: the base includes four shafts of grey marble. The pulpit, stalls and nave seats survive although the seating has been removed from the aisle. The stained glass dates from the 19th and early 20th centuries. On the N wall of the nave is a white marble monument of 1901 to Seaman Beale, the first vicar, with a relief of St Michael trampling on Satan.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: To the S is a red-brick school built in 1861 and with additions of 1960-1.
HISTORY: Plans to build a church here must have been in place in 1860 for an application was made to the Incorporated Church Building Society for funding early in January 1861. At this time the architects were named as Goodwin and Butcher of 37 Bedford Row, London, and the cost was estimated at £2,125. However, in the event, the architect was G M Hills of 12 John Street, Adelphi, London. The church was consecrated on 1 August 1863 and contained 281 seats, all of which were free. The architect, Gordon M Hills (1826-95), served his articles in Southampton and became managing assistant to the famous London church architect R C Carpenter from 1850. He commenced practice in 1854 and became diocesan surveyor to London, Rochester and St Albans. His son, also Gordon (1867-1937), became his partner and successor.
Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 5712.
John Newman, The Buildings of England: Kent, North East and East, 1983, p 541.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St Michael is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special interest as a very largely intact mid-Victorian church built in a late 13th-century style and forms a visually satisfying composition located on rising ground.
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.