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Church of St Luke, Chiddingstone

Description: Church of St Luke

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 10 September 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 357047

OS Grid Reference: TQ5169546664
OS Grid Coordinates: 551695, 146664
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1991, 0.1698

Locality: Chiddingstone
Local Authority: Sevenoaks District Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: TN11 8JS

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Listing Text

CHIDDINGSTONE

771/50/232 CHIDDINGSTONE CAUSEWAY
10-SEP-54 CHURCH OF ST LUKE

II*
Parish Church. 1897-98 to the designs of John Francis Bentley. The style is Free-Gothic in a Decorated manner.

MATERIALS: fine-jointed Bath stone ashlar with tiled roofs.

PLAN: unaisled church of nave, chancel, north-west porch, north tower with north-east chapel alongside; south-east organ chamber.

EXTERIOR: the east and west windows (derived from Norman Shaw's Latimer Road Church) express the interior curve of the wagon roofs and are flanked by buttresses; the east window has a wider hoodmould extending down to the buttresses. The north side of the church (the main elevation visible from the road) has a coped gabled porch with kneelers, a moulded doorway with engaged shafts, carved spandrels and a good quality carving of the symbol of St Luke in the gable. The stocky tower has an embattled parapet with pinnacles. The small windows below the belfry stage are asymmetrically placed. The asymmetrical south elevation has a single buttress, two matching 4-light square-headed windows with traceried heads and, to the west, a tall 2-light traceried window with transom in otherwise blind walling.

INTERIOR: the interior has a moulded chancel arch carried on well-carved stone corbels and impressive wagon roofs, the nave with plain ribs of unstained timber on a deep projecting wallplate and a slender moulded ridge; the chancel with moulded ribs and purlins and a brattished wallplate. Plain east wall with moulded string stepped down on either side of the altar (the intended reredos was not executed). Matching 2-bay arcades with octagonal piers and moulded stone arches to the organ chamber and north chapel. 1910 choirstalls with poppyhead finials. The chancel and sanctuary floor, designed by Bentley, is a mixture of Portland stone paving and tiles. He also designed the communion rails of brass and wrought iron. Nave walls have plain 2-tier dado, open backed benches with ends in the form of a truncated X; parquet floor. Timber drum pulpit designed by Bentley, with blind traceried panelling on a stone base. Extraordinary font, also designed by Bentley and executed by Farmer and Brindley. It stands on a Portland stone, cross-shaped, step and has an octagonal pink alabaster stem and deep octagonal, tulip-shaped, bowl of green-streaked Cippolini marble with a white marble rim. Dark 1906 German Expressionist east window by von Glehn showing the Crucifixion.

HISTORY: sited just outside the village of Chiddingstone Causeway, St Luke's was built in 1897-8 to a design by John Francis Bentley (1839-1902), the architect of Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral. It replaced a temporary corrugated iron building erected c.1873 to accommodate the expanding population based on the development of the cricket bat and ball factory in the village. Pevsner notes that the church was paid for by the Hill family and John Singer Sargent, the portrait painter, recommended Bentley to them as architect. It is his only Protestant church. The Church Guide notes that a choir screen, tower clock and bells were planned by Bentley, but not executed.

SOURCES
Newman, J, West Kent and the Weald, 1980 edn., 214-215
St Luke's Church, Chiddingstone Causeway: Brief Notes for Visitors, 2001.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: entry on John Francis Bentley (1839-1902), architect.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The Church of St Luke is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* An architecturally lively Gothic design by John Bentley, an important late-Victorian architect.
* The exterior is enlivened with some eccentric asymmetrical features, and the high quality stonework and attention to architectural detail is typical of Bentley.
* The interior, though more conservative, has an impressive wagon roof and some idiosyncratic touches such as the font.

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.