Margaret Church, Addington TQ 6537 5888
ROCHESTER DIOCESE: HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1993
LOCATION: Situated at about 225ft O.D. on a hillock
in the Folkestone sands with the Addington brook to the south. The
main road from London to Maidstone (A20) now lies S. of this brook,
but the medieval route from London to Maidstone may be that running
through Addington to the N.E. (see Symonson's 1596 Map). The medieval
manor house apparently lay immediately to the north-west (later
DESCRIPTION: A church is mentioned in Domesday book and it is quite
likely that the existing nave (except the west end) and shell of the
chancel date from this time. All four quoins of local ironstone and
tufa survive, and herringbone work in local Rag can be seen in the N.
+ S. walls of the nave and lower east wall of the chancel. These
original walls were rendered externally. The windows have all been
replaced, but the blocked up doorway on the south has an external tufa
semi-circular relieving arch above it. Internally, however, it is
clear that a 15th century doorway was inserted into this earlier
doorway. Though the top of the chancel east gable was rebuilt in the
19th century, there is an earlier lower gable fragment on the
south-east side with ? a trace of an earlier (?? 13th cent.) window
line. The window on the N.E. side of the nave is probably 14th
century, as is perhaps the chancel arch.
In mid-15th century a new manorial chapel was added on the south-east
by the Watton family (said to be newly constructed in a will of 1463).
This is finely constructed of Ragstone with ashler blocks being used
in the lower south wall, and the whole of the east wall (except the
gable). There is a continuous plinth. The fine large two-light window
in the south wall is, however, made of Caenstone. It has a large
square hood-mould with carved head-stops (now worn), and pellets in
the spandrels of the two Perp. square-headed windows. The two-centred,
two light east window of the chapel is of Ragstone, and was completely
blocked up in the 17th century when the Watton monument was put in.
There is a circular window (with quatrefoil in it) in the west gable,
but this appears only to be 19th century. The fine painted 7-cant
barrel ceiling in this chapel, which has corner corbels, also appears
to be 15th century, though ? repainted in the 17th century. There are
still some fine brasses (not in situ) in this chapel. A
small vestry was also perhaps added to the north side of the chancel
at this time (see Petrie drawing of 1807), but this was replaced by a
taller structure in 1858. The Perp. east window of the chancel was
entirely replaced in the 19th century.
On the south-west side of the nave there is a fine
Perpendicular 2-light window. The internal splay and jambs of this
window are in high quality carved Kent Rag. of the 15th century.
The north doorway and north porch (of Rag rubble) are also probably of
the later 15th century (see their mention in the 1474 will), with
original tie-beams, and some exceptionally fine carved large boards
The final major addition of the later 15th century was the west tower.
For this work the west wall of the nave was demolished, and two new
walls were butted onto the original west quoins. These slightly
lengthened the nave, and connected directly with the tower, which has
angle-buttresses on the west and a north buttress on the N.E. There is
a polygonal stair turret on the S.E. with its original door into the
church. The tower is a fine Kentish tower with square-headed windows
(2 lights in the upper floor) and a crenellated parapet. The
west-doorway was made into a window in the 19th century, and recently
much of the external masonry of the tower has been over-restored in
Portland stone. Apart from the Ragstone quoins, the main tower walls
are made of local ironstone and Ragstone rubble. There is a continuous
plinth around the tower though not around the extended nave walls.
Inside there is a fine tower arch, and under this is a plain octagonal
font. Under the tower the organ was put into an inserted gallery in
1949 (with a vestry below). There are some interesting diagonal putlog
holes in the west face of the tower.
In the mid-17th century, as we have seen, the S.E. chapel was given a
fine new monument on the east wall, after the window had been blocked.
The chapel was restored and a helmet was placed on a bracket on the
west wall (a rare survival now - security risk?).
In 1858 the north-east chapel/vestry was rebuilt on a plinth with good
Ragstone ashlar. It was given a north gable and new Bathstone windows.
There is also a fine Ragstone arch between the chapel and the chancel,
copying the southern one. At the same time new roofs were put into the
chancel and nave, and a new Bathstone window was put into the
south-east side of the nave. The three-light east window was also
renewed as well as the gable above. A new west doorway into the Watton
chapel was made and the south nave doorway was blocked up, and the
west doorway had a Bathstone window inserted into it. A piscina was
inserted into the S.E. side of the S.E. chapel next to a medieval
In 1881 a new Reredos was put in the chancel (the earlier Lords'
Prayer, Creed and Commandment Slabs are stored in the Ringing
Chamber), and the York stone floor was replaced by decorated tiles in
1882. The following year an organ was put in the North-east
vestry/chapel. It was moved to the tower in 1949. Quite a lot of glass
has been put in the windows.
The bells were rehung in 1969.
BUILDING MATERIALS: (Incl. old plaster, paintings, glass, tiles etc.):
The original church had local ironstone and Tufa quoins and Ragstone
and Ironstone herringbone rubble walls. Much fine Ragstone was
introduced for quoins, windows, etc., in the 15th century (and for the
14th century window on the north side of the nave). The mid-15th
century south window of the south-east chapel is, however, of
There is some good Ragstone work in the 1858 North-east vestry/chapel
but all the other 19th century work is in Bathstone. Recent repairs to
the tower are in mechanically cut Portland stone.
EXCEPTIONAL MONUMENTS IN CHURCH:
Several fine brasses in the church, including Richard Charles (i) (ob.
1378), William Snayth (ob. 1409) + Armoured figure + wife. Also Thomas
Chaworth (ob. 1446) in Priest's robes and Robert Watton (ob. 1470) in
plate armour and his wife.
The magnificent mid-17th century Watton monument is on
the east wall of the south-east chapel. Also marble plaque of 1779 to
Admiral William Parry.
CHURCHYARD AND ENVIRONS:
Size & Shape: Oval to rectangular area on hilltop, extending quite
a long way to the east.
Boundary walls: ? Recent Ragstone walls around churchyard.
None, but Long barrow(s) only a few hundred yards to north-west.
Exceptional monuments: Fine obelisk monument to east of church.
Ecological potential: ? Good
HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: Domesday Book
Evidence of pre-Norman status (DB, DM, TR etc.): ?
Late med. status: Rectory
Patron: Attached to the manor with pension from Rector to Rochester
Cathedral Priory, then to Dean & Chapter from 1542.
Other documentary sources: Hasted IV (1798), 547-8. Test. Cant.
(West Kent 1906), 1 has the will of William Watton (ob. 1463),
referring to the Chapel of the Assumption of the B.V.M. "newly
constructed in the parish church of 'Adyngton'. The will of Robert
Eylot (ob. 1474), gives 20d to the repair of the north porch doorway.
Also the 'Palme crose' in the churchyard is mentioned in 1528.
T.S. Frampton's list of Patrons and Rectors (from
1326) is on the wall under the tower (compiled 1889). It has many
useful notes on the Rectors, etc.
SURVIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS: ?
Inside present church: Good
Outside present church: ? Good
To structure: Much recent stone replacement to the tower in Portland
Stone (Shelly Whitbed).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT:
A late 11th century nave and chancel on a prominent hilltop with a
fine manorial chapel (and fine brasses and monument) added on the
south-east. There is also a fine later 15th century west tower.
The wider context:
Guide Book: Leaflet (Anon., undated) with phased sketch plan.
Photographs: Kent Churches 1954, has the Watton chapel ceiling
(p.54) and the Watton monument (p.165).
Plans & drawings: Petrie view from N.E. in 1807, showing earlier
small NE Vestry.
REPORT BY: Tim Tatton-Brown