Parish Church of All Saints, Brenchley
Description: Parish Church of All Saints
Date Listed: 20 October 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 431808
OS Grid Reference: TQ6796941708
OS Grid Coordinates: 567969, 141708
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1500, 0.4002
Location: Horsmonden Road, Brenchley, Kent TN12 7NQ
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TQ 67 41 BRENCHLEY HIGH STREET, BRENCHLEY
15/98 Parish Church of All Saints
Parish church. Some evidence of pre C13 masonry; nave, aisles and probably
tower all C13; C14 porch and nave roof; C15 alterations. Chancel rebuilt by
John Montier of Tunbridge Wells in 1814 (Colvin); thorough restoration of 1849
to the designs of Joseph Clarke (Pevsner). Local sandstone, roughly coursed,
snecked and rubble; slate roof with lead rolls.
Plan: A large church. Chancel, north and south transepts; nave with 4-bay
north and south aisles; north porch; partly internal west tower. The chancel
and nave are unusually wide. Pevsner suggests that the transepts post-date
the aisles. These may have been extended westward. Judging from a circa
1830s sketch (A Victorian Pictorial Record of Brenchlev and Matfield (n.d.,
c.1988) there was little or no medieval tracery in the church at that date and
dormer windows in the south side presumably lit a gallery. Clarke no doubt
re-gothicised the church.
Exterior: Chancel coursed masonry on a rubble plinth with angle buttresses
and buttresses to both sides. 5-light 1849 Decorated east window with a
hoodmould and carved label stops; 2-light 1849 Decorated windows, one to each
return, also with hoodmoulds and carved label stops. The north transept is
partly rubble, partly snecked masonry with similar 2-light east and 3-light
north windows; angle buttresses. South transept mostly rubble with angle
buttresses; similar C19 windows. 2-light east window, 4-light south window.
3-bay buttressed south aisle with a slightly projecting parapet. Probably
late C12/early C13 chamfered west lancet window. The outer bays have C19 2-
light Decorated windows. Priest's door in the centre bay with a hoodmould and
chamfered and ovolo-moulded doorway; C19 door. The north aisle has angle
buttresses and a lean-to roof. 2-light cusped C14 Decorated west window; 2-
light C19 Decorated window, one on either side of the porch. Very deep gabled
C14 north porch with a wide moulded doorway with a depressed 3-centred arch
and carved label stops. Canted boarded roof to the porch, moulded inner
doorway. C12 or C13 corbels are re-used as kneelers and set into the gable of
the porch. Large 4-stage battlemented west tower with massive angle
buttresses with batters and an internal north east stair turret rising above
the tower proper with battlementing and a peaked roof with a weathervane. The
north face has a pair of lancets to the bottom stage with a cusped one-light
window above; a 2-light square-headed belfry opening with trefoil-headed
lights and a 2-light square-headed window to the top stage, which has a
moulded stringcourse below it. The west face has a moulded C14 west doorway
with a hoodmould and carved label stops, the windows above match those on the
north face. The south face has a trefoil-headed one-light window to the
bottom stage, the windows above matching the other faces; diagonally set clock
Interior: Plastered walls. Circa early C14 double-chamfered chancel arch
springing from C19 engaged shafts with moulded capitals. 4-bay north and
south arcades each with double-chamfered arches on cylindrical piers with
moulded capitals and bases. Tower arch obscured by organ. Fine 4-bay nave
roof of tie-beam and crown post construction, the tall octagonal posts with
moulded caps and bases with 4 up-braces, the tie beam slightly cambered and
moulded with timber tracery in the spandrels. The 2 easternmost ties preserve
a scheme of painted decoration, probably dating from the C19 but perhaps a
restoration of a medieval scheme, which may survive in parts. The bay between
the 2 eastern ties has a ceilure of panels of painted boards between moulded
ribs with carved bosses. 2 1/2 bay arch braced chancel roof of 1849 springing
from massive hammer beams with big brackets below. The centre truss has large
carved angel brackets. The lean-to aisle roofs have probably medieval
closely-spaced rafters. The transept roofs are A-frame with straight braces
to the collar and ashlar posts. C19 painted texts round chancel arch, arches
into transepts and on the 2 eastern roof ties. The transepts have windows
with engaged shafts with foliage capitals, presumably C19.
The chancel has a 1920s timber reredos and 2 C13 sedilia in the south wall
with blind arcading. 1920s marble floor and communion rail, the latter in a
C17 style. The nave has a C19 stone drum pulpit on an octagonal stem. It is
elaborately carved in a Decorated style with ogee-arched crocketted recesses
to each face with blind tracery, the recesses cusped and carved with heads and
foliage. Plain octagonal font, possibly late medieval. Set of C19 square
headed bench ends with buttress decoration. West gallery with a frontal of
linenfold panels. Rood loft stair turret in the south transept.
Monuments and Stained Glass: The chancel has an alabaster wall monument to
John Courthop, died 1649, with armorial bearings and a pediment. Immediately
south of the reredos a wall monument to Elizabeth Fane, died 1596 (mis-carved
as 1566), of Brenchley Manor (q.v.). An alabaster frame with obelisk finials
and armorial bearings in the border surrounds an unusually long text. On the
south wall a white marble wall tablet to Francis Storr, died 1868, an
unusually early example of Baroque Revival. On the north wall a white marble
tablet with a pediment and arms below commemorating William Courthop, died
1772. On the north transept well wall a very fine mid C17 wall monument by
Edward Marshall (1598-1674) (Church Guide) of alabaster and marble to Walter
Roberts, died 1652. Below a swan-necked pediment with armorial bearings
carved demi-figures in a strapwork frame touching hands. The Church Guide
notes floor brasses not seen on survey.
East window by Morris & Co. of Merton Abbey, designed by Henry Dearle: copy of
a 1903 design in Troon Church Ayrshire (Church Guide).
A fine church in a good uncleared churchyard.
Listing NGR: TQ6797341709
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.