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Author Topic: St John the Baptist, Penshurst  (Read 3305 times)

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Offline Riding With The Angels

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Re: St John the Baptist, Penshurst
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 20:38:38 »
Some more

Offline kyn

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St John the Baptist, Penshurst
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 00:21:02 »

It is believed there was an earlier church on this site before the Norman Conquest.  

In 1170 Thomas a Becket appointed a rector, Willelmus, as the first priest of the parish of Penshurst, this was his last public act before his assignation in Canterbury Cathedral.  

There is some evidence of a foundation of 860AD, and some Saxon artefacts were unearthed on adjoining land.  

The church is constructed of coursed sandstone and early additions to the church include a north aisle, which was added in the 13th century (later widened in 1854), with the south aisle being added in the 14th century and widened in 1631.

The church consists of a Nave, north and south aisles, west tower, south porch and the Sidney Chapel, which can be found off the south chancel chapel.  An early feature of the church is the large stone table in the church yard, used to distribute money or bread to the needy of the village, there was a Bread Charity in Penshurst which gave bread out on St Thomas’ day in December.  It is thought this may be an old tomb that has been reused.

The tower is of three stages and shows evidence of numerous alterations, its oldest bell is thought to have been cast before 1400.  A 15th century font can be found inside, painted in colours believed to have been original.

In the base of the tower is the Albiensian Cross, a 13th century coffin lid.

In the chancel to the north is two unequal arches, one with typical 14th century heads.

The lych gate was used during burial to give protection from the weather when the body ws being brought to the grave during a funeral service.  This particular lych gate is unique in that a room was built above it, closing up Leicester Square.  The room was used by the church to house guests, as an ale house and other uses.

 The south chapel is the interesting Sidney Chapel, rebuilt by J B Rebecca in 1820; this holds many memorials to the family and a beautifully painted ceiling.  Inside is also the 13th century monument of Sir Stephen de Pencester.

Restoration of this church was undertaken by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1864, this included the nave, chancel, chapels, north aisle, and south windows.

The chancel screen was carved from Penshurst oak and erected in 1897 by Bodley and Garner.

The church is Grade B listed, given on 10th September 1954.


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