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Church of St Mary, Gravesend

Description: Church of St Mary

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 23 January 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 356337

OS Grid Reference: TQ6832572498
OS Grid Coordinates: 568325, 172498
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4265, 0.4198

Location: Church Lane, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2NL

Locality: Gravesend
Local Authority: Gravesham Borough Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: DA12 2NL

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Listing Text

742/7/43 CHURCH LANE
23-JAN-52 CHALK
(East side)
CHURCH OF ST MARY

II*

Chancel is probably late C11 in origin. N nave and chancel aisles added in the late C12. S nave aisle added mid C13. W tower and W porch are C15. S aisle demolished in late C18. Church restored in the C19 and again in the C20.

MATERIALS:
Flint rubble with stone dressings.

PLAN:
Nave and chancel with N aisle to both, W tower with SW stair turret and W porch. Evidence for former S nave aisle.

EXTERIOR
The W tower forms an important landmark, and is of three, unbuttressed stages with a prominent SW stair turret. Both the tower and the turret have embattled parapets. The tower has foiled, C15 lights. Late C15 W porch, with continuously moulded outer opening. Above it is an ogee headed statue niche in a square frame with Tudor roses in the spandrels. Below the niche is a carved figure of a man with a flagon, and there are grotesques in the string course above the niche. The remains of the former 3 bay S arcade are visible in the S wall of the nave. The two square headed Perpendicular windows and a Decorate window set within the arches were apparently reset from the S aisle wall when it was demolished. C13-style lancets in the chancel S wall are C19 replacements of Perpendicular windows present in the early C19. There is also a probably C13 low-side window in the chancel S wall. A triplet of lancets in the chancel E wall. The N aisle windows are of c.1300 and have two trefoiled lights and a foiled circle in the tracery with C19 dormer-like gables over each window. Two lead plates from an earlier tower roof are hung on the N aisle wall, one is dated 1702.

INTERIOR
Three bay N arcade of the late C12, with long responds and sections of walling as piers. Chamfered, pointed arches on chamfered imposts with nook shafts at the corners of the piers. The two-bay N chancel chapel arcade is similar, as is the arch between aisle and chapel, and there is a further, blocked arch of this type at the W end of the N aisle, perhaps for a former NW tower. The mid C13 lancets, mostly renewed, in the chancel E wall have a continuous hood mould. There is no chancel arch, but the inner angles of the chancel, which is narrower than the nave, have chamfers running up to the top of the wall. C19 detached shafts supporting the arched W truss of the chancel roof serve as some division between nave and chancel. The blocked C13 three-bay S nave arcade remains embedded in the S wall, and had arches of two chamfered orders on round piers with moulded capitals and bases. There are two C14 cusped, ogee tomb recesses in the N aisle wall. A gallery was inserted at the W end, partly under the tower, in 1992.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES
Very good C13 trefoiled piscina and single set sedilia in the chancel. the piscina has a head corbel under the bowl, and there are head and foliate stops on the continuous hood mould above the openings. Plain round font, possibly C12. Simple C19 benches, choir stalls and pulpit, the stalls and pulpit with open trefoil arched panelling.

HISTORY
There was a church at Chalk in the pre-Conquest period, but it was probably rebuilt in the late C11 or early C12 as there is herringbone masonry in the chancel. It was certainly a substantial building by the late C12 when both nave and chancel were given a N aisle, at which time there may also have been a NW tower. The S aisle was added in the C13, and the present tower and W porch were built in the C15. The S aisle was demolished in the late C18, and the whole church restored in the C19 and again in the mid C20. The W gallery was added in the late C20 to accommodate an enlarged congregation, and further repairs carried out a few years later.

SOURCES
Newman, J., Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald (1969), 191

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The church of St Mary, Chalk, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Late C11 or earlier parish church with late C12 aisle to both nave and chancel, and evidence for C13 S nave aisle.
* C15 W tower and W porch with grotesque sculpture on porch.
* Rare survival of evidence for the removal of the S aisle in the late C18.
* Very good C13 trefoiled piscina and single sedilia in chancel.

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.




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