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History of Ash and Ridley from Earliest Records to 1957
                    
Compiled by Dorothy G. Meager on behalf of Ash and Ridley Women's Institute           Page 105

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Church of St Peter


Watercolour of Ridley Church

   There was a Church here mentioned in Domesday Book, 1086, and we learn from that priceless treasure of Rochester Cathedral known as the Textus Roffensis, which was compiled about 1120, that there is a list of Saxon Churches which made payments for the consecration oil called "Chrism" used in the rite of baptism, and among these is Readlega, i.e. Ridley.
   Ridley Church had always been in the Diocese and Archdeaconry of Rochester, but in 1846 it was put in the new Deanery of Cobham instead of in the Deanery of Rochester. It is now in the Deanery of Shoreham and Archdeaconry of Tonbridge.
   The Church is situated in the south of the Parish and is dedicated to Saint Peter. It is of early Norman date and an extension to the East was made probably in the 13th century, when a small chapel was built to the north of the

extended Church, the blocked arch of which remains. The main evidence for the early date of the Church lies in its proportions which agree in the main with most early churches of this type. This is confirmed by a small window of definite Norman date high up in the north wall. Most of the existing windows are 14th and 15th century. The walls, much repaired and covered with plaster, do not help much in the elucidation of architectural problems. In the middle ages the building is believed to have been used as a lazar-house or leper hospital. Within, the roof is supported by some fine old beams. Although the Chancel Arch in thought to be about 700 years old, the Chancel itself was rebuilt in 1855. There is one little bell in the bell-cote which can be reached only by climbing a ladder.
   The patronage of this Church and Manor belonged to Roger de Leyborne (1210), whose descendant, Thomas, 

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Kent Archaeological Society 28th August 2007 

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