marriage service was discontinued, and the First Prayer
Book of Edward VI (1549) pointedly directs that ‘At the daye appointed
for Solemnizacion of Matrimonie, the persones to be maried shal come into
the bodie of ye churche, with theyr frendes and neighbours. And
there the priest shal thus saye./Deerely beloued frendes, we are
gathered together here in the syght of God . . .‘, etc.’17
The three porches here discussed are of the open type, clearly
pre-Reformation in date, and of box-frame construction. But there are
important differences, both in constructional details and in size,
although all are larger than the ‘standard’ size of about 8 ft. sq.;’18
Fawkham (Fig. 5) and Kemsing (Fig.
4) measure approximately 10 ft. by
11ft., whilst Shoreham (Fig. 3) measures approximately 12 ft. sq. and
belongs — both in this matter of size and in its carpentry — with the
grander porches of High Halden and Hastingleigh or with Boxford, Suffolk,’19
or Little Hadham, Herts.20 Surprisingly, perhaps,
the largest porch, at Shoreham, is of only one bay, whilst the smaller
structure at Kemsing is of two unequal bays; Fawkham is a one-bay
The side walls at Kemsing have been over-restored, but the present arrangement probably reflects, in a general way at least, the
original design. Those at Shoreham are better preserved. Both have a
mid-rail, but whereas Kemsing was apparently divided into quite wide
openings above the rail, Shoreham has much narrower openings. At Kemsing,
too, they are quite plain with no evidence of original arch-heads, whilst
at Shoreham head-boards with arches cut from them are employed, these,
together with chamfered mullions, making up rectangular four-light ‘Perpendicular’
windows (Fig. 6). The sub-arcs and the top-light heads are all cusped. The
side walls at
17 Available in (Ed.) D. Harrison, The
first and second Prayer Books of Edward VI, London, 1968 (replacing
ed. by E.C.S. Gibson, 1910, with same pagination), 252: ‘The Forme of
Soleminizacion of Matrimonie’, third rubric; the Second Prayer Book
(1552) keeps these words, with slight variations of spelling:
Harrison, 1968, 410; and they also occur with some addition and
modification of spelling in the present Book of Common Prayer.
18 Rigold, 1975, 132. In
the discussion which follows only the more significant differences between
the porches will be noted. Minor differences will be apparent from the
individual descriptions (infra) and from the illustrations.
19 Munro Cautley, 1982, 59
and P1. 42; the porch is distinguished by its wooden vaulting.
20 Smith, 1976, 30-3.