Church of St Peter and St Paul, Gravesend
Description: Church of St Peter and St Paul
Date Listed: 23 January 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 356389
OS Grid Reference: TQ6589773835
OS Grid Coordinates: 565897, 173835
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4392, 0.3855
Location: A226, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2SA
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742/7/26 MILTON ROAD
23-JAN-52 (North side)
CHURCH OF ST PETER AND ST PAUL
Church, C14 with late-C14 or early-C15 west tower. Nave re-roofed in 1790-92. Mid-C19 restorations. North vestry addition of 1950 and adjoining parish rooms of 1992.
MATERIALS: Stone rubble and flint with freestone dressings and knapped flint bands. Slate roof.
PLAN: Nave and chancel in one; W tower; S porch, N vestry and parish rooms.
EXTERIOR: Shallow-pitched Georgian roof to the nave with very deep eaves supported on paired brackets, the E end gable treated as a pediment with an oculus. Shallow battered buttress to E end with flint band above. Three-light C19 Perpendicular style E window. Three 1862 two-light windows to the S side (the SE one is dated), the fourth, westernmost window is weathered but medieval with two cusped lights below an octafoil. S porch with a holy water stoup, porch partly rebuilt above the richly moulded, probably C14, Four-centred arched doorway with engaged shafts; C18 sundial fixed to gable with brick repair above. Low blocked arch in the W wall of the nave. Carved medieval heads to SW, SE and NE corners of nave. N elevation has banded knapped flint decoration. Four-stage west tower with an embattled parapet, diagonal stepped buttresses, and a projecting NE stair turret. Small W doorway with roll moulding and a large window above in similar style to the SW nave window. Two-light belfry windows have cusped heads. Adjoining the church to the north are a 1950s vestry and parish rooms of 1992.
INTERIOR: Flat 1790-92 ceiling with a cornice and plaster ceiling roses. Unusual carved stone anthropomorphic and zoomorphic corbels on the N & S walls marking the location of the medieval roof. No separate chancel. N and W galleries, the fronts decorated with blind traceried panels, are supported on slender clustered wooden columns, dated (Hiscock, 2004) 1763 (W) and 1818/9 (N). They house simple gallery seats on shaped brackets, some boxed in. The N gallery extends to the E wall. The E wall has an early-C19 carved wooden reredos of cusped blind arches with a brattished cornice. 1852 E window, glazed as a memorial to a Dr Pinching, is the only stained glass window in the church. On the S wall a rib-vaulted triple sedilia of trefoil-headed arches on clustered columns with a piscina alongside. The arches and columns are heavily painted but the rib vaults, with little bosses, appear to be medieval. 1860s dado of encaustic tiles to the nave walls. Pulpit, font and nave pews all also mid-C19. Timber drum pulpit with cusped decoration. Caen stone octagonal font decorated with blind panels supported on a clustered shaft. Numbered nave benches with square-headed ends. Various wall monuments and inscription boards. S porch, which has a late-medieval roof, has been converted to a Dunkirk memorial chapel. Peel of eight bells, five of which date to 1656 with the remainder of C19 or C20 date.
ANCILLARY FEATURES: 1950 wooden lych gate war memorial with pitched tile roof to west. Decorative metal gate in churchyard south wall. This was cast at R. L. Priestley's works, the design based on the arms of Sir Henry Sydney, Steward of the Honour of Otford and Lord High Steward of Gravesend in the 1560s, the arms then sometime adopted by the Corporation of Gravesend.
HISTORY: A church at Milton is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. This seems to have been a predecessor of the present building although on the same site. There is no surviving fabric that can be definitively identified as C11. The church as it now stands is a mixture of Perpendicular architecture of the late-C14 and early-C15 and a late-C18 restoration, with subsequent C19 and C20 works. The tower is late-C14 or early-C15, the S porch is C14 and the nave is also medieval other than its upper courses which are late-C18, added to support the re-roofing of 1790-2. There is an C18 sundial attached to the gable of the south porch designed by Mr James Giles, former Master of the Free School (d.1780). The original west gallery was built in 1763 but then enlarged and a north gallery added in circa 1818/19, probably with monies available for church building and expansion under the Church Building Act of 1818. The altar piece is of a similar date and the organ was purchased in 1829. The church was restored in 1852, to which date the nave pews, communion rails, east window (the only stained glass window in the church), pulpit and font can be attributed. The sedilia and piscina were also restored with new cusps for the sedilia commissioned. In the 1860s the sanctuary and nave walls were tiled and many windows were replaced. One in the nave south wall has a date stone of 1862. The north vestry, the lych gate and the decorative metal gate to Milton Road are all of 1950-1. The adjoining parish rooms are an addition of 1992 incorporating two date stones of 1860 and 1862 (from a former school and headmaster's house) as well as a carved gravestone cross. The north vestry and parish rooms are not of special interest. The sanctuary was restored and reordered in circa 2004 following a collapse of the vault beneath.
Hiscock, R H, 2004, The History of St. Peter & St. Paul, the parish church of Milton next Gravesend.
Newman, J & Pevsner, N, 1980, West Kent and the Weald, Buildings of England Series, 2nd edition, pp301-2
REASON FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: SS Peter & Paul, Milton-next-Gravesend is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* The extent of surviving medieval fabric from the C14 and early-C15;
* The architectural interest of the Georgian restoration, in particular the design and form of the nave roof and the addition of internal north and west galleries;
* Architectural details of interest including: carved stone heads to the exterior, and a medieval rib-vaulted sedilia and a piscina with bosses and fine carved stone corbels internally.
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.