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,