Cheriton TR 189 365
DIOCESE: HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1996
LOCATION: Situated on Folkestone Sands at c.
210 feet above sea-level (O.D.) above a steep ravine leading down to
the sea on the south (Horn Street). The area to the west of the church
is called St Martin’s Plain, and the Court Lodge was not far away to
the east, and is called an `antient gothic building’ by Hasted.
DESCRIPTION: H.M. Taylor points out that the west end of the nave
almost certainly retains late Anglo-Saxon masonry with an original
round-headed west doorway and above it a double-splayed window. He
also suggests that the lower masonry of the west tower may originate
as a contemporary west porch/annexe. The Anglo-Saxon date of the west
end of the church was first suggested by Canon Scott Robertson, in
1889, and his account of the church is still the standard one. It does
seem very likely that the west wall of the nave with its simple
round-headed doorway and double-splayed window above is indeed late
Anglo-Saxon in date as it is entirely made with Ragstone rubble and no
early Norman features are visible. The east face of the exposed
masonry have unfortunately, been whitewashed, but the west face in the
tower (and ringing chamber above) is well-exposed, and shows areas of
probable original external wall-plaster. The head of the A-S window
was probably made with a wattle `centring’, as has been found in
other A-S churches. The north, south and west walls of the tower, even
at the bottom, appear to exhibit no A-S work (pace H.M.
Taylor), and certainly abut against the west wall of the nave. The
whole tower, with its diagonal buttresses, must be of c. 1300.
No other evidence survives about ground of any pre-13th
century work, and it is not possible at this stage to know where
either the east end of the original nave or sanctuary were situated,
though it is possible that the original nave was the same length as
the present nave.
In the mid-13th century the present large chancel was
built on a projecting `podium’ which runs down the steep hillside to
the east. Externally the Ragstone rubble masonry and side-alternate
quoins are in mostly very good condition. There are just two
east-facing pilasters on the east wall and a simple roll-moulding all
the way around the middle of the wall below the plain lancet windows.
On the north-west side of the chancel is an original doorway (blocked
with ragstone rubble), with another doorway (or window) opposite it on
the south. This is also blocked and the jambs etc. have been removed.
There is also some bulging in the chancel south wall. Inside the
chancel, which was heavily restored in 1873-8, there is much more
architectural decoration. The pair of east lancets (with vesica-shaped
window in the gable above) are heavily moulded with engaged shafts in
the jambs, while there is a continuous moulding around the six lancets
(three either side) in the north and south walls. Below these side
lancets, is an unusual wall arcade on a bench, which continues the
full length of the north and south walls (for six bays). The bottom of
the last two bays on the east step up - no doubt to reflect the steps
up to the dias of the altar platform. (The arcade reredos of the east
wall is entirely of the 1870s). The shafts, capitals and bases of the
arcades were all heavily restored in the 1870s, with most of the
shafts being replacements in Victorian marble. The original blocks and
shafts were probably made of large Paludina limestone (`Bethersden
marble’), while the capitals and bases were perhaps of Caen stone.
The chancel arch is also of the 13th century with bar-stoped chamfers
in the side jambs on both the east and west arises. The circular
opening over the chancel arch was restored in the 19th century. It is
possible that this chancel arch was built just before the chancel
itself, as it does not quite matched in. Immediately south of the
chancel arch, in the north corner of the south aisle is a vertical
filletted moulding for a 13th century east window, showing that there
was already a south aisle or south chapel (with the altar of St
Katherine) here in the 13th century.
The north, or Enbrook, chapel was perhaps first built at
the very end of the 13th century as a Lady Chapel. There is a plain
wide pointed arch from the north-east side of the nave, and the east
window is probably late 13th century. It contains a panel of stained
glass (of the Trinity) in its top quatrefoil light. The two-light
north window is heavily restored, and externally the chapel has
slightly battered plinths on the north and east (down the hill). There
is also a south-east squint into the chancel. In the north wall of
this chapel are two large 14th century tomb niches, still containing
fine but battered effigies. They were restored to their present
position in 1842, and are assumed to be late 14th century members of
the Enbrook family (Enbrook was about ½ mile east of the church), who
took over the Lady Chapel as a manorial chapel.
The west tower, with its two diagonal buttresses, is very
plain. It was probably built in c. 1300, and has simple late
lancets in all four faces of the bell-chamber (square headed inside),
and a crenellated parapet above (rebuilt in the 19th century). The
west doorway, with its relieving arch above, has also been restored,
as has the small round-headed window above it. The inside of the tower
was completely rebuilt in 1881, when the six bells were recast and
rehung. The frame was again restored and supported on new concrete
beams in 1963 and this time a new narrow doorway was cut through the
tower south wall. The south aisle was built in the early 14th century,
replacing an earlier chapel. A new 3 bay arcade to the nave was made
as well as a new outer wall with 3x2 light windows in it, and all was
under a separate double pitched roof. There is also an ogee-headed
piscina and 2 sedilia also with ogeed heads. Immediately west of this
is a fine 14th century figure (perhaps a female member of the
Caseborne family) in a wall-niche (reopened in 1842), and further west
is a blocked doorway (seen externally) into the south aisle. It was
probably opposite the north doorway into the nave (and porch), that
was destroyed in 1873. The west end of the south aisle was completely
rebuilt in 1873 when a vestry was added to it. It now contains the
organ, moved here in 1973 from the north chapel. The pulpit was
rebuilt in 1967 (with concrete steps) using panels from the late
medieval font cover. The north aisle and porch (and `baptistery’)
were all added in 1873-7 when 54 new seats were created in the church.
All the roofs were also replaced at this time, and the whole building
was restored and repewed. The new rood screen was added in 1925.
BUILDING MATERIALS: (Incl. old plaster, paintings, glass, tiles etc.):
The main building material is the local Kentish Ragstone, quarried
from the hillside half a mile south of the church. Ragstone dressings
are also used in the fine 13th century chancel, and very well cut, in
the fine early 14th century arcade to the south aisle. The arcading in
the 13th century chancel, and the capitals are perhaps of Caen stone
with Bethersden marble and Purbeck marble being used for abaci and
shafts. Most of these have been replaced with Victorian marbles.
Ragstone, and Bathstone, was used in the 19th century restorations.
EXCEPTIONAL MONUMENTS IN CHURCH: -
Several late 15th and 16th century brasses. Also unsual gravestone of
1716 (now in North chapel) to a grandaughter of Sir Walter Raleigh.
The most important monuments are the three 14th century effigies in
the wall-niches, mentioned above.
CHURCHYARD AND ENVIRONS:
Size: Very large (over 6 acres) roughly rectangular area around
church, enlarged in the 19th century from small graveyard around the
church. Very steep slope on the east side, down to the road (Horn
Building in churchyard or on boundary: Lych-gate of 1897 on north-east
Exceptional monuments: Many military burials.
Ecological potential: Yes - many good specimen trees have been planted
in the churchyard.
HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: 13th century.
Late med. status: Rectory, united to Newington vicarage in 1771..
Patron: The Manor of Cheriton
Other documentary sources: Hasted VIII (1799) 196-7. Scott Robertson (op.
cit. below) gives a documented list of Rectors. Testamenta
Cantiana (E.Kent, 1907), 80-1 mentions burial in the churchyard
from at least 1463. Also various lights and the altars of Our Lady
(1490 + 1511), and of St Katherine (1518) are mentioned. The making of
a new beam in `Our Lady’s’ Chapel in 1517, and burial of St
Katherine’s Chancel `under the stole (stool) that I am wont for to
sit when I am in the church’ (1533) also occur.
Reused materials: A very few Roman bricks reused in A-S west wall.
Finds from church/churchyard: 2 complete Medieval gravemarkers found
in the churchyard are now in the Enbrook chapel; one was found in 1966
just west of the tower. They have been recorded by Ben Stocker.
Previous archaeological work (published/unpublished): -
SURVIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS:
Inside present church: ? Good, but perhaps some disturbance by burial
Outside present church: ? Good.
To structure: Complete re-roofing (of 19th century roofs) in June
To graveyard: Trenches on south + east side of chancel plinth - June
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT:
The church and churchyard: The west wall of the nave with its original
round-headed doorway and double-splayed window above survive from the
late Anglo-Saxon nave. The large chancel on its `podium’ was built
in the mid-13th century, and north and south chapels were added soon
after. The south aisle was built in the early 14th century, and three
monumental effigies in the north and south chapels also date from the
14th century. The west tower was added in c. 1300.
The church was heavily restored, and all its roofs
were renewed in 1873-7, and a new north aisle and porch were added. A
vestry was also added to the west end of the south aisle.
The wider context: A rare surviving west wall of a late Anglo-Saxon
REFERENCES: H.M. + J Taylor Anglo-Saxon Architecture, I (1965),
155-6; Canon W.A. Scott Robertson `Cheriton Church’, Arch. Cant.
18 (1889), 353-368; S R Glynne, Notes on the Churches of Kent
(1877), 119-120 [He visited in 1844].
Guide Book: Booklet (1975) by B G Corner, using earlier notes by C F
Millar (1938) and
W C Chandler (1966).
Photographs: Photo of N. mural arcade in chancel, in Kent Churches
Plans & early drawings: Petrie view from N.E. in 1806, in K.A.S.
Library, showing N. porch. Plan 1917 by W H Elgar, published in his Ancient
Buildings of Folkestone District (1921).
DATE VISITED: 20th June
REPORT BY: Tim Tatton-Brown