Margaret Church, Hucking
TR 8443 5823
DIOCESE: HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1993
LOCATION: The church lies on heavy clay-with-flints
over Upper Chalk at c. 565ft. above O.D. (nearly on the
downland top). The medieval building west of the church is ? Hucking
DESCRIPTION: This church was extremely heavily restored in the
Victorian period (probably in 1867-8 when the font was put in and the
I.C.B.S. gave £40 for reseating). Also in 1867 the church was united
to Bicknor. F. Grayling Churches of Kent (1913), followed by J.
Newman B. of E (1969) and D.I. Findlay (C.C.C.) say the restoration
was in 1878, but give no authority or architect. All the exterior
walls, except the west wall, have been completely refaced and new
quoins and jambs, etc. in Bath stone have been put into all windows.
There are, however, a few reused Tufa blocks (particularly on the N.
side of the chancel) and some Reigate stone blocks from the medieval
Internally a few other medieval features survive which suggest
that the nave and north aisle were built in the 12th century with the
south chapel building added in the 13th century, and the chancel
rebuilt/lengthened in the later 13th century. The porch may have been
15th century (restored in 1617 - see below), but was totally rebuilt
in the 19th century. All the roofs, shed-like over the aisle and south
chapel, are also 19th century replacements, including the timber
turret (with 2 bells, one 1897 and the other 15th century). The turret
was also perhaps first added in the 15th century.
Sir Stephen Glynne, who visited in 1850, says it had 'a
nave with short low aisles, a chancel, with north chapel, north porch
and a wooden belfry over the west end. The porch is of wood and
flints, being the date 1617.' This mention of a north chapel has
confused later writers, who assume it was demolished in the later 19th
century restoration. However H. Petries's view of the church from the
N.E. in 1807 shows no north chapel, and it is clear that the north
chapel was at the end of the north aisle only.
This church was perhaps only first built, as an appendage
to the manor, in the earlier 12th century. It was probably given a
north aisle from the beginning, and the plain round-headed arches
(with chalk, tufa and ? Caen quoins) between the nave and north aisle
have no bases, capitals or even abaci. A blocked round-headed doorway
can also be seen on the south-west side of the nave (a small section
of the east jamb of this doorway can also be seen externally). The
south chapel, perhaps the Lady Chapel mentioned in wills, is entered
through a large pointed arch. However this arch and all the windows to
this chapel were heavily restored in c. 1867. The internal
chalk-block jambs and the piscina (in Reigate stone) must be original
features. Glynne tells us that the east window here was a 'double
lancet.' The chapel became the burial place of the Staple family in
the 17th century.
All the windows in the north aisle are 19th century, but
the doorway from the porch, a flat four-centred arch with Ragstone
jambs and brooch-stops at the bottom is original. In the south-corner
of this aisle is a reused c. 13th century coffin slab. In the
south-east corner of the north aisle the entrance to the Rood loft is
still visible, high up in the wall. The base of the Rood screen was
still there in 1850 when Glynne visited the church.
The chancel is now a completely Victorian affair with
totally new windows, and a new series of steps and tiled floor around
the altar. There is also a tiled reredos behind, and new choir stalls
on the south side. Only the piscina on a 'pillar' (and with a shelf)
is original. The chancel was, however, probably enlarged in the later
13th century, and Petrie's view from the N.E. in 1807 shows that the
western side of the two 2-light windows on the north side of the
chancel was still a late 13th century window with trefoiled heads and
a quatrefoil above. The east window at this time was a 3-light
Perpendicular window with a square hood-mould over it.
The pulpit at the north-east corner of the nave is a
cut-down 18th century one, otherwise all the other fittings are of c.
1868. The font, a pair with that in Bicknor was given is 1867, and is
perhaps of Ashburton marble.
BUILDING MATERIALS: The main walls are of local flints with occasional
chert/sarsen stones. All external windows etc., and the main quoins
are of Bath stone from the c. 1867-8 restoration. Some Tufa and
Reigate blocks are, however, visible. Inside chalk, tufa (+ ? Caen)
was used in the original 12th century work. Reigate, and for the north
doorway Ragstone, was used for the 13th-15th century work.
EXCEPTIONAL MONUMENTS IN CHURCH: Leger in S. chapel to R. Staple (ob.
1684) + others to his family. Reused c. 13th century coffin
slab with Elizabeth Cosbey (ob. 1684) cut into it after the earlier
cross had been cut off, at the west end of the north aisle.
CHURCHYARD AND ENVIRONS:
Size & Shape: Rectangular area around church
Boundary walls: 19th cent. wall along north side (to road)
Exceptional monuments: Two 17th cent. gravestones W. of church.
Ecological potential: ? Good, but rather bleak site - formerly much
HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: Late 13th century.
Evidence of pre-Norman status (DM, DM, TR etc): None
Late med. status: Vicarage - Chapel annexed to Vicarage of
Hollingbourne. Exempt from Archdeacon and a Chapel to Hollingbourne,
until in 1867 the church was united to Bicknor.
Patron: The Archbishop
Other documentary sources: Hasted V (1798), 672. Testamenta Cantiana
(E. Kent, 1907), 173 gives burial in the churchyard from 1455 +. Also
mention of Light of Holy Cross (Rood), and lights of St. Mary (1455)
and St Margaret (1455). Images to these two saints are also mentioned.
Reused materials: A few Roman bricks in the walls.
SURVIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS:
Inside present church: Good
Outside present church: ? Good
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT:
The church and churchyard: A small c. 12th century nave and
north aisle with added 13th century south aisle and chancel. Very
heavily restored in c. 1867-8.
The wider context: Only a chapel to Hollingbourne until the 19th
REFERENCES: Guide Book (see below) Council for the Care of Churches PM
1453 (Feb./May 1988) by D.I. Findlay. S. Glynne Churches of Kent
(1877), 167. He visited in 1850 before the restoration.
Guide Book: Useful guide, with plan (no scale) by L.R.A. Grove (1984
Revised Feb. 1990).
Photographs: Early 20th cent. views from north and inside looking east
(in file). Also interior showing pulpit and chancel in Kent
Churches 1954, p.60.
Plans & early drawings: H Petrie view from N.E. in 1807.
DATE VISITED: 26th June 1988 & 10th April 1993 REPORT BY: Tim