Religion => Places of Worship (Current) => Topic started by: merc on December 30, 2009, 20:30:34

Title: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: merc on December 30, 2009, 20:30:34
I had a look in St. Mary's at Burham today. The outside photo's didn't come out too well as it was dark and pouring hard. Inside, it's a simple, but nice old church, which is today looked after by The Churches Conservation Trust.

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary1.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary2.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary3.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary4.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary5.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary6.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary7.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary8.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary9.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary11.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/BurhamStMary10.jpg)
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: merc on December 30, 2009, 22:16:41
A quick teaser for you....does anyone know exactly why the church has two Fonts?
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on December 30, 2009, 23:52:07
I could look out my guide book!

Whats interesting for me is that they abandoned this church when the cement industry took off and the village moved from the riverside and another church was built which only lasted a few years and was then demolished (due to subsidence I think) causing the village to re-use the old church.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: merc on December 31, 2009, 00:36:04
Yep, i was reading all about that Riding  :)

The round font is from the Victorian church, which they demolished in 1981.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on December 31, 2009, 02:16:09
Funny, it does look older than that - it looks like they tried to mix two early styles of Norman incorporating circular and the arch design as seen on the square one as opposed to going all Victorian Gothis with a marble effort.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Paul Narramore on December 31, 2009, 11:41:55
Riding

You say the village moved owing to the cement works. At the moment there are no more than four or five houses close to the old church. Were the remainder of the houses of the old village demolished or were there always some old houses in the present village of Burham? Sorry, that didn't read right, what I mean to say is what happened to the old village of Burham?
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on December 31, 2009, 14:54:08
In a nutshell yes.

There is a memorial on the river bank to the battle of the Medway in 43AD and it is conjectured that Roman legions crossed the Medway near here on their way to colonise the country.

The positioning of both Burham and Snodland churches (opposite each other) near to the river and away from any other highway seems to support that there were settlements, industry and/or a crossing here.

Whilst only scant remains of settlement exist now a Roman villa and other remains have been found nearby, the medieval Burham Court is opposite and old farm buildings surround the church of St Mary. Meanwhile a walk along Old Church Road towards Wouldham allows access to the many wharves all derelict on the riverside that would have originally provided a bustling sight near to the church.

 In the 19th Century the rise in chalk excavation on both sides of the Medway caused the settlements to grow at both Snodland and Burham in the area of the industry on the higher ground and whilst to a point the old church served this community still, eventually a nearer and larger building was sought.

On the Burham village website it describes how the cement industry came in the 1830's and population of the parish rose from 380 at the 1841 census to 1725 in 1901. http://www.burhamvillage.com/HomeFrames.html (http://www.burhamvillage.com/HomeFrames.html)

There was no need to build further houses by the river and so the population became centred around the current village centre.

The two maps below date from 1869 and show the extent of industry around the old church and also the lmited growth at that time of the village centre higher up although it can be seen that there is a vicarage and school by this time.

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/BurhamChurch1869.jpg)

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/BurhamVillage1869.jpg)

The old church was restored in 1956 - in fact I have an interesting photograph in the 1954 book by Pratt Boorman and Torr which shows it derelict and covered in ivy describe it as decaying only two years before its restoration.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Paul Narramore on December 31, 2009, 15:51:13
Very interesting especially as you mentioned the Romans. Some years ago I was the local Bobby for Aylesford. Burham & Wouldham so I have a particular interest in the area. As for Burham Court, the elderly gent who lived there at the time shows me pieces of Roman stonework presumably from a previous dwelling there. I'd guess Burham Court is 16/17th century.

My OS map shows the remains of a Roman building at the junction of Scarborough Lane and Hall Road, on the North corner of the junction. Perhaps the stonework I mentioned came from there?
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: merc on December 31, 2009, 16:12:45
A Roman underground temple to Mithras was discovered near the church in 1892, but this has since been destroyed....this might be the remains at the corner of Scarborough Lane and Hall Road.

At nearby Eccles there was a large Roman Villa, and there are also reused Roman bricks in the church itself.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: seafordpete on December 31, 2009, 16:43:07
A large Roman building was excavated near the Southern Water site in the mid 1960s
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: merc on December 31, 2009, 18:25:17
Burham takes its name from its proximity to "Burgh" or "Borough" - of Rochester. In Mediaeval times pilgrims from London to Canterbury may have crossed the River Medway at Rochester bridge, or if they travelled the ancient route now known as the "Pilgrims Way" they may have crossed via ferry at Halling-Wouldham or Snodland-Burham. Pilgrims and travellers might have stopped in the Churches at these places, sometimes to wait for adequate tides on the river for ferry crossings.

The main body of the church dates from the 11th century, but the chancel was rebuilt or altered in the 14th century. Build
ing materials found in the church include flint, ragstone, chalk, tufa, reused Roman brick and firestone from Reigate (Surrey). The porch is from the 15th century, and the step down into the church shows how the churchyard has risen on the South side where huge drains were built to keep the dampness at bay.

Early in the 13th century, Aisles were built on the North and South sides of the church. Its twin church, across the river at Snodland was also enlarged at this time, however, the aisles at St Mary's were demolished about 200 years later, the reason's unknown, possibly due to the wet ground making them unstable. Sometimes in Winter, standing water is found on the floor in the church which is very close to the level of the River Medway a few yards away.

The tower dates from about 1450 and originally had three bells, the two 18th century bells now hang in other Kent churches, but the other bell, which was from the early 14th century, was sadly stolen in 1982.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on December 31, 2009, 19:15:09
Clever trick stealing a church bell!!
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on January 01, 2010, 22:10:27
Some from today with a bit more daylight

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/IMG_2223.jpg)

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/IMG_2233.jpg)

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/IMG_2234.jpg)

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/IMG_2241.jpg)

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/IMG_2251.jpg)

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/Sub%20album%203/IMG_2254.jpg)
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: merc on January 01, 2010, 22:23:10
Great additions...thanks Riding :)

Did you sign the visitors book ?
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on January 01, 2010, 22:27:07
Did do - as always when I can find one - there were about 10-12 in front of me today tho - busy busy.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: SeanT on May 14, 2010, 21:33:34
Hi all.

A couple of questions, if I may.

St Mary's Burham - the new church (now demolished) - does anyone know if burials took place there in Church Street after the congregation moved up the hill?

Roman temples / shrines: the remains of a roman temple are (or were) located near to Warren Road, Blue Bell Hill - which must be perilously close to the edge of the former quarry cutting cliffs now. Does anyone know to which god(s) this may have been dedicated?

Many thanks.

Sean T
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: kyn on May 14, 2010, 21:38:04
Welcome along SeanT, what interesting questions!  I look forward to hearing the answers if they are found  :)
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Longpockets on May 15, 2010, 16:50:23
Hi Sean T

"St Mary's Burham - the new church (now demolished) - does anyone know if burials took place there in Church Street after the congregation moved up the hill?"

I friend of mine, who has lived in the area all his life (60 years), mentioned to me he wouldn't fancy living in the newer houses by the war memorial, which was the site of the New Church, as they were built on top of the grave yard.

I hope this helps.

Regards

Longpockets
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: SeanT on May 15, 2010, 22:26:50
Thanks Longpockets, and also to kyn. I've been looking into a burial in 1916 and was trying to determine whether the old or the new St Mary's was the likely candidate. The parish records don't specify, but as the church in its entirety seems to have moved up the hill, I think you've answered my question. I just wonder now if the authorities have a list of the graves they would have surely had to re-inhume...

SeanT
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Longpockets on May 16, 2010, 15:27:58
SeanT,

I would be careful with this, with you giving the date 1916, I know there are CWGC burials in the old churchyard, a cemetery search at http://www.cwgc.org/debt_of_honour.asp?menuid=14 against Burham returns 4 burials in the Old church yard, one from 1919 and the others from WW2. Therefore I assume from this it was still in use after the new church was built. Your burial may well be at the Old Church.

Regards

Longpockets
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: SeanT on May 16, 2010, 22:00:31
Hi Longpockets.

Thanks again. I'll check it out.

SeanT
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on May 16, 2010, 22:27:14
I can't be certain but there are extenaive 20th C graves at the old church so I think all burials were and still are taking place at the old church.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: SeanT on May 17, 2010, 20:13:34
Thanks Riding with the Angels. It sounds promising.

SeanT
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: hypochlorite on April 16, 2011, 15:56:04
This is one of our special places.

I wonder if the plaster has been hacked away due to damp.

There seems to be various features underneath.
Title: Re: Church of St. Mary the virgin, Burham
Post by: John E Vigar on May 15, 2011, 17:18:40
Yes, the plaster was taken off at lower levels to help the walls breathe. in the process, as you say, previously covered features were found. The church suffers badly from damp and whilst it would be nice to replace the plaster there are no current plans to do so.