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Parish Church of St Lawrence, Bidborough

Description: Parish Church of St Lawrence

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 20 October 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 430575

OS Grid Reference: TQ5651143205
OS Grid Coordinates: 556511, 143205
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1667, 0.2372

Location: 3 High Street, Bidborough, Kent TN3 0UJ

Locality: Bidborough
Local Authority: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: TN3 0UJ

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Listing Text


11/5 Parish Church of St Lawrence

Parish Church. C12 nave; chancel probably C14, largely rebuilt 1876-77; C13
north aisle; late C14/early C15 west tower; south aisle 1876-77 by Ewan
Christian, who probably replaced the nave and north aisle roofs at the same
time; vestry 1956 (Church Guide). The medieval masonry is large, roughly-
dressed blocks of local sandstone, possibly quarried immediately south-east of
the church (q.v. Nos 1, 2 and 3 Rock Cottages); C19 masonry sandstone rubble;
C20 masonry snecked sandstone; C19 tiled roof with crested ridge tiles; C19
timber and stone porch.

Plan and Development: Sited on a spur above the High Street. A small C12
nave and chancel church of which some original masonry and features survive.
2-bay north aisle with lean-to roof added in the C13. Chancel probably
rebuilt late C14 but substantially restored in 1876-77. Circa late C14 west
tower; south aisle and porch 1876-77 by Christian.

Exterior: Large diagonal buttresses to the chancel, which has a 3-light east
window in a late Decorated style with hoodmould and label stops, tracery
largely C19. C14 2-light south chancel window with a hoodmould and label
stops. On the north side the nave retains one small round-headed window, C12
or perhaps earlier, set high up in the wall, and a C13 lancet. The 2-bay
Early English north aisle has chamfered lancet windows to the east and west
ends and one in the north wall and a C13 2-centred chamfered north doorway
with pyramid stops. The 1870s south aisle has a south-west buttress and re-
uses medieval features. 2-light C19 east window with intersecting tracery;
similar 3-light west window. To the east of the porch there is a restored,
square-headed 2-light C15 or early C16 window with a hoodmould and trefoil-
headed lights. The one-light window west of the porch is trefoil-headed with
debased cusping. 1870s timber gabled porch on a stone base with cusped
bargeboards and glazed trefoil-headed lights. The re-set south doorway
incorporates a partly-blocked C12 doorway with detached shafts with cushion
capitals and a tall, plain, rounded-headed arch. This has been infilled above
a circa late C14 moulded doorway with a hoodmould. Circa late C15 early C16
plank door with massive strap hinges. Low 3-stage late C14/early C15
Perpendicular west tower with a pyramidal spire and tall diagonal buttresses
with set-offs. Moulded 3-centred west doorway with a hoodmould; 2-light C16
square-headed west window with cinquefoil-headed lights and a hoodmould.
Trefoil-headed 1-light belfry windows on north, south and west sides; trefoil-
headed window to the ringing chamber on the south side. Clock of 1851 (Church
Guide), the face above the west window.

Interior: Plastered walls. 1870s Early English style moulded chancel arch
springing from demi-shafts with bell capitals. 2-bay C13 Early English north
arcade with 2-centred arches with narrow chamfers springing from a square
section pier and responds. The pier is chamfered with bar stops. Circa late
C14/early C15 arch braced common rafter chancel roof with ashlaring and a
richly-moulded tie beam. The nave, north and south aisle roofs are 1870s
variants of the chancel roof. Circa late C14 double-chamfered tower arch
springing from octagonal responds with moulded capitals. C19 chamfered arch
from the chancel into the east end of the south aisle, which is now used as an
organ chamber. 3-bay Early English style south aisle of 1876-77, the lower
western arch into the tower blocked, the arcade with double-chamfered arches
on cylindrical piers with moulded capitals.

Fittings: Font, probably C19, with an octagonal sandstone bowl on an
octagonal shaft and a flat C17 lid. Circa 1870s timber drum pulpit with
pierced traceried panels on a stone base, Sanctuary fittings largely early
C20 except for a medieval piscina and aumbrey in the east wall. C19 choir
stalls with re-used C15 poppyhead finials. Set of C19 benches with shaped
ends in the nave; C19 dado at the east end of the south aisle, probably
removed from the chancel.

Monuments and Stained Glass: An important set of 8 early C20 Morris and
Company windows, 2 (the east and 2-light windows in the south aisle) to late
C19 designs by Burne-Jones. The designs are mostly single figures set against
a decorative background and contrast with the earlier Clayton and Bell
windows, the east window, dated 1865 and the west window of the south aisle,
dated 1878.

The church retains hanging oil lamps, converted to electricity and is said to
have a bell dated 1684 (Church Guide).

Newman, John. West Kent and the Weald. Buildings of England series (1976

Listing NGR: TQ5651143205

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.