Church of St Martin of Tours, Speldhurst
Description: Church of St Martin of Tours
Date Listed: 20 October 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 438499
OS Grid Reference: TQ5117339037
OS Grid Coordinates: 551173, 139037
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1307, 0.1591
Location: Ashurst Road, Speldhurst, Kent TN3 9TH
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TQ 53 NW SPELDHURST ASHURST HILL, ASHURST
7/434 Church of St Martin of Tours
Ashurst Parish Church. C14 and C15, south porch dated 1621, modernised by
Ferrey in 1861, and by H.W. Curzon in 1865, vestry added circa 1875,
refurbished, perhaps by Fellowes-Prynne, in 1904-5. Mostly sandstone rubble
west end of roughly-dressed sandstone blocks laid to courses, tower is a
weatherboarded timber frame, C19 vestry of rock-faced sandstone ashlar. Peg-
Plan: Nave with narrower and lower chancel. Probably C15 west tower. C17
south porch. C19 vestry and north porch.
Exterior: Weatherboarded tower rises from west end. It has a steep pyramid
roof surmounted by a wrought iron weathervane. West end has angle buttresses
and west doorway a 2-centred arch with moulded surround and hoodmould. It
contains a C19 plank door with coverstrips. Quatrefoil window in south wall
under the tower part of the 1904-5 refurbishment. South side of the nave has
gabled porch (dated 1621) right of centre. Rebuilt Tudor outer arch. Date
plaque above includes a carved coat of arms and sandstone sundial above.
Gable has shaped kneelers and coping. Inside porch steps down to south door,
a 2-centred arch with moulded surround and shafts and hoodmould. To left of
the porch 2 possibly C14 trefoil-headed lancets and to right a 2-light window
with Decorated tracery (C19 replacement). Chancel south side has 2 square-
headed 2-light windows, left one with original head of cinquefoil heads and
right one with C19 trefoil-headed lights. East window Decorated 3-lights with
reticulated tracery and hoodmould. North side of chancel behind C19 vestry
with low pitch roof and parapet, clasping buttresses and plate tracey windows.
Gabled north porch has a shoulder-headed arch in the side and a 2-light window
with Decorated tracery; another to left of the porch and to right 2 trefoil-
Interior: Tower arch of 1904-5 is nearly full width segmental pointed arch
with pierced quatrefoil spandrels below a blind Gothic arcade. Above some of
the original frame of the tower is exposed. No chancel arch as such. The
space between the roofs is boarded over. Nave has good C14 3-bay open roof of
moulded tie beams with tall square crown posts (moulded caps and bases) and
common rafters with soulaces and ashlar posts. 2-bay chancel roof is boarded
but follows a similar profile and although there is a tie beam there is no
crown post. Both roofs have moulded wall plates. Tall niche with moulded
surround in north east corner of the chancel of unknown function. Walls are
plastered. Tile floor to nave but chancel has marble steps to sanctuary and a
polychrome mosaic floor laid down in 1905.
Fittings and-Furniture: A plaque records the refurbishment of the chancel in
1905. Carved stone reredos may be late C19; a Gothic arcade featuring the
symbols of the Evangelists flanking central cross. 1905 oak altar rail on
turned balusters bowing forward. C19 oak stalls with some Gothic detail. C19
pulpit with panelled sides incorporating some probably C16 work. Plain pine
benches. C13 stone font. Main cylindrical shaft with 4 corner columns
supporting a square bowl with rounded corners and simple arcade around.
Possibly C17 oak hood. Good late C17 table towards rear of nave with
elaborately carved sides and legs.
Memorials: Plain of no more than local interest. Some C19 glass.
Sources Newman, J. West Kent and the Weald, Penguin Buildings of England
series (1969), p.137.
Listing NGR: TQ5075738974
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.