Cross Church, Hoath TR
(earlier St Mary & Holy Trinity)
DIOCESE: HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1994
LOCATION: Near centre of village at c. 110
feet above O.D. with Hoath Court beside the churchyard on the west.
The church is situated on a gravel terrace on the east side of the
Blean Forest which is on London Clay.
DESCRIPTION: This church unfortunately underwent major restorations in
1842 and 1866-7, but despite this, something of the medieval fabric of
this ancient chapel to Reculver still survives.
The nave perhaps dates from the 12th century, as
suggested by its north-west and south-west Caenstone quoins, while the
chancel is probably of the 13th century, and has some iron-cemented
gravel stone in its south wall (cf. churches at Chislet, Westbere,
Sturry and also 13th century buildings in Canterbury). It has a pair
of lancets in its east wall with a plain round window above (all
restored externally). Glynne says there was a piscina with a shelf
above. The chancel arch was also c. late 13th century, as were
the south door to the nave and the windows on either side. The north
nave doorway, of similar date, had its head reset in the north aisle
wall in 1867.
In the early 14th century, a three-light west window was
made, as well as three two-light windows in the chancel (two on the
north, one on the south-east). In the later 15th century two two-light
square-headed (under hood-moulds) Perpendicular windows were put into
the south side of the church. That on the south side of the nave has a
triangular opening under it, possibly a piscina. All these windows
have, however, been heavily restored in the 19th century. The
Perpendicular windows mentioned above are on either side of where the
Rood-screen would have been, and may relate to various activities at
the church in the late 15th-early 16th century, including a porch 'pewing'
in 1495, gifts to the roodloft (1509-19), etc. All are mentioned in
wills, which also tell us of the buying of new bells in 1499. This may
be the date when the small bell-turret over the west end of the nave
was made (or rebuilt). It was, however, heavily restored along with
the west gable (date stone) in 1842, and is now covered in shingles.
Above it is a slender spire, also covered in shingles. There are three
bells here, one of c. 1500 (see above) and two of 1696.
In 1866-7 the church was heavily restored by Joseph
Clarke, and a new north aisle was added. New roofs were made and a new
north arcade, as well as completely new fittings including a font and
pulpit. The Incorporated Church Building Society gave a grant of £30
for 109 new seats (no doubt the present pews - some now removed). A
new porch was also made on the south side of the nave (it has a stoup
in it on the east side of the nave doorway).
BUILDING MATERIALS: (Incl. old plaster, paintings, glass, tiles etc.):
Flint with Caenstone quoins in the original nave, and some
iron-cemented gravestone in the chancel south wall. Also some? Kentish
Rag. Otherwise the outside walls date from the heavy 19th century
restoration when they were covered with pebble-dashed render. Much
Bathstone was used for window restoration, etc.
EXCEPTIONAL MONUMENTS IN CHURCH: None, but a headless brass of c.
1430 in a leger in the chancel floor (to Isabella Chakbon).
CHURCHYARD AND ENVIRONS:
Size & Shape: Roughly rectangular area around church, with quite
large extension to the north, still in use. Churchyard only in use
from c. 1303 (before that the parishioners had to use
Reculver). It was only formally consecrated in 1410.
Building in churchyard or on boundary: Various buildings in the
village to east and west, as well as a shed in the northern church
yard; and a lynch gate on the south.
Exceptional monuments: Some quite good 18th and early 19th century
gravestones (and bodystones). In the early 1980s some gravestones were
HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: ? Early 14th century.
Late med. status: Always a chapelry to Reculver - until 1960 when it
was attached to Chislet. After 1310, it was the only chapel.
Patron: The Archbishop - via Reculver church. Between 1354-60, a
chantry chapel of the Holy Cross was founded in Hoath church by the
Vicar of Reculver. It was dissolved in 1548.
Other documentary sources: Hasted (2nd ed. 1808), IX, 99-101. Also Test.
Cant (E. Kent, 1907), 167-8, and R. Graham 'Sidelights on the
Rectors and parishioners of Reculver from the Registers of Archbishop
Winchelsey' Arch. Cant. 67 (1944), 1-12, and A. Hussey,
'Reculver and Hoath wills' Arch. Cant. 32 (1917), 83-141. (This
also has a list of the Chantry priests.) New bells 'to be bought' are
mentioned in 1499, and money for 'pewing of the church' in 1495. Also
the hoodloft (1509-19).
SURVIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS:
Inside present church: ? Quite good, but disturbance by N. aisle
Outside present church: Disturbed on north by 1867 north aisle, and
boiler house to west.
To graveyard: Some gravestone were removed in the early 1980s.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT:
The church and churchyard: A small ? 12th century nave and 13th
century chancel which were heavily restored in the 19th century when
the north aisle was added. A rare c. 1500 bell survives in the
The wider context: One of Joseph Clark's heavy restorations (he also
rebuilt the nearby early 19th century Reculver church).
REFERENCES: S. Glynne Churches of Kent (1877), 30, who visited
before the restoration.
D. Ingram Hill 'The church of Holy Cross at Hoath', in Hoath and
Herne ed. K. McIntosh (1984), 31-6. Also in the same volume; H.
Gough 'The cure of souls at Hoath' pp. 19-23.
Plans and early drawings: Petrie view from S.E. in 1808 showing timber
turret and earlier S. porch.
DATE VISITED: 11th February
REPORT BY: Tim Tatton-Brown