St John's Commandery, Swingfield
Description: St John's Commandery
Date Listed: 17 October 1988
English Heritage Building ID: 441747
OS Grid Reference: TR2322844015
OS Grid Coordinates: 623228, 144015
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1518, 1.1906
Location: Swingfield, Kent CT15 7HG
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TR 24 SW SWINGFIELD -
5/189 St. John's
listed as St John's
Commandery, or Preceptory, of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem,
latterly a farmhouse, now an English Heritage monument. C13 and C16
with C18 and C19 alterations, restored 1972-4. Flint, (knapped in
places) and mixed flint and stone, with stone quoins and dressings.
West gable end tile-hung on both floors. North elevation retains
areas of render painted and scored to resemble red brick in Flemish
bond. Plain tile roof. Chapel, formerly with domestic ranges
adjoining to west, which may have encroached into west end of extant
building, and which were removed in mid C19. Porch to present west
end of north elevation. Chapel floored in C16 and later. Floors
removed in 1970's, except at west end. Battered plinth to east half
of south elevation. Roof gabled to east, hipped to west, with
crested ridge tiles. Multiflue brick ridge stack towards west end.
West end: mid-C19 sashes. South elevation: wall formerly continued
further to west, but was subsequently truncated, forming a two-
storey buttress. Buttress towards centre of elevation also formed
from a truncated wall. Stone string about half way up wall, to west
of buttress and terminating before west end. Battered plinth to
east of buttress. Irregular fenestration of 3 windows; one plain-
chamfered pointed first-floor lancet above string, just west of
stack, one tall, broad pointed-arched window breaking storeys to east
of central buttress, and taller, narrower plain-chamfered lancet
towards east end. Blocked first-floor doorway with brick dressings,
to west end. Half architrave of a pointed-arched stone ground-floor
doorway at west end of west "buttress". Blocked doorway with cambered
head and brick dressings to west end of ground floor. Rectangular
doorway with boarded door immediately west of central buttress.
East end: three single, plain-chamfered pointed lancets, stepped in
height, with three oculi above them. North elevation: three tall
chamfered mid-C19 lancets. North porch: possibly C14. 2 storeys.
Extends a few feet further west than present west end of building.
"Buttress" to south end of west elevation, formed from truncated wall
formerly running west. Roof with higher eaves and lower ridge than
main range, hipped to north. One single-light rectangular chamfered
stone east window to first floor, blocked window to north and
casement window to west. Pointed-arched hollow-chamfered outer doorway
with incised cross. Unribbed quadripartite vaulted ceiling springing
from moulded stone corbels. Moulded pointed-arched inner doorway with
ribbed and studded door. Interior: at east end, outer lancets
double-shafted, inner lancet triple-shafted, with bell capitals and
bases. Roll-and-fillet hoodmould to each lancet. Continuous moulded
string to cills. Part of jamb of blocked C13 lancet to east of
central north lancet. Blocked rere-arch to window to north of stack,
and another to south. Plain corbel half way up wall between east and
central lancets on south side. Moulded corbel to east of north-east
lancet. Rebated plain-chamfered pointed-arched aumbry towards east
end of north wall. Broader chamfered recess with cambered head and
bar stops towards south end of east wall. C13 moulded and shafted
pointed-arched piscina with roll-and-fillet hoodmould towards east
end of south wall. Consecration cross towards centre on south side.
Blocked plain-chamfered ground-floor doorway with cambered head and
bar stops, towards west end. Plain-chamfered, pointed-arched first-
floor doorway to room over porch. Roof: crown-post roof to east of
stack; three formerly hollow-chamfered tie-beams, each with moulded
octagonal crown post. Morticed collars, sous-laces and ashlar-
pieces. East end of collar purlin terminates in (blocked) central
oculus. Later roof to west of stack. C16 ceiling with moulded
cross beam and joists to ground-floor room to west of stack. To
east, only the part of the floor adjacent to stack has been retained,
with plain-chamfered beams. First-floor ceiling to west of stack
has chamfered cross beam,tenoned axial beams, moulded joists to north-
east end, plain joists to rest. Blocked fireplace with bressumer,
to each side of stack on ground floor, iron grate to west side on
first floor, and brick fireplace with wooden bressumer, infilled with
smaller semi-circular brick fireplace, to east side. Cellar, possibly
C16 or later under east end of chapel, with wall niches and re-used
beams and joists. Site occupied by Sisters of the Order of St. John
of Jerusalem before 1180. Knights Hospitallers took over when Sisters
transferred to Buckland. (L.R.A. Grove and S.E. Rigold, "The View
and State of the Commandery of Swingfield, 1529", in F. Hall (ed.),
A Kentish Miscellany, 1979. J. Newman, Buildings of England Series,
North-east and East Kent, 1983 edn.).
Listing NGR: TR2322844015
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.