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Kent Churches - Architectural & Historical Information

St Oswald Church, Paddlesworth near Folkestone TQ 1950 3976

Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1992

LOCATION: Situated at about 610 feet above O.D. on sand and clay with flints on the top of the Downs. A small group of houses around a road junction is to the north, with Paddlesworth Court about _ mile north of the church.

DESCRIPTION: The earliest visible parts of this small chapel must date from the 12th century. There is no evidence for late 11th cent. work (Quarrstone, herringbone, etc.) as at Lyminge or Postling, certainly nothing Anglo-Saxon.
   The 12th century church has a small rectangular nave and chancel with opposing north and south doors in the nave. The door on the north is plain with a simple tympanum over it externally. The south doorway is more unusual in having as its west jamb a semi-octagonal shaft with chevron on it and a voluted capital, and on the east a pair of slender shafts on the inner and outer arises of the jamb, and with semi-scalloped capitals over. This doorway must be of later 12th cent. date. The chancel arch and jambs are similar with separate thin shafts (in two places) and scalloped capitals. Above are champered abaci and a semi-circular arch. The earliest windows are small, high up double-splayed affairs (an opposing pair at the west end of the nave, one on the S.E. side of the nave and one on S.W. side of chancel with Bath restored external heads). Externally they have monolithic semi-circular heads and small jambs (? all in Caen). Internally the jambs and head are of rough flint and ironstone, similar to the rough walling itself. There is a rough low plinth (? bench) at the west end of the nave against the N and S walls (w. of the doorway).
   In the 13th century an opposing pair of lancets were put in at the east end of the chancel, and a widely splayed east lancet was also made. The eastern quoins were also remade at this time, and it is possible that the chancel was lengthened at this time. The eastern quoins are on end with some Hythe stone from the intratidal zone ( boring molluses) used for them. There is a mass dial on the S.E. chancel quoin. There are settlement cracks on the N and S sides of the chancel at the east end (are they over an earlier E. wall?). The are ? contemporary aumbry + piscina on the N and S sides. The piscina is on a corbel of stiff leaves.
   At the east end of the south side of the nave is a recess, probably for an altar (? 12th or 13th cent.). It is partly obscured by the organ, and has a small squint through to the chancel.
   On the north + south sides of the nave two-light windows were inserted later. That on the south has been totally restored externally in Portland stone (a pair of lancets) but it was perhaps later 13th cent. in origin. The north two light window is perhaps late pre-Reformation in date.
   In the late 18th cent. (Hasted) the "east and only window in the chancel" was "boarded up, it is quite dark at noon-day". Hasted also describes the "large circular pillar, about two feet high, very ancient seemingly the basis of the font, which there is none now" (one was provided on this base in the mid 19th cent.). He also tells us that "there is no steeple or turret, but at the west end of the roof hangs one bell." A stone bell cote was also provided in the mid-19th century. Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church in 1868 and notes that the 13th cent. windows in the chancel had been reopened by this time (the east lancet contained coloured glass). He also says that "the nave is fitted with new open seats with heavy poppy ends" (they are still in place). Finally he mentions "the font is cup-shaped on a low base "and" a modern buttress of brick added on the west side.
   Early in the 1870s, the Rector of Lyminge, Canon Jenkins brought in the Diocesan Architect, Mr Clarke, to carry out a restoration. The internal walls were stripped of plaster above the pew levels and three new massive buttresses were added at the west end (with large stone weatherings). Jenkins found "fragments of a Norman arch" in the west wall (? a west doorway) which he thought was of a later date. He then had a pair of large round-headed windows inserted in the west wall on either side of the central buttress (all the jambs are in Bathstone). The roofs were renewed (entirely in the nave, but the boarded ceiling in the chancel may conceal earlier rafters). There is one bell in the new stone bellcote apparently formerly there were three (Stahlschmidt), but in 1758, there was only one cracked bell.

BUILDING MATERIALS (incl. old plaster, paintings, glass, tiles etc.): The rubble walls of the original chapel are in whole flints and ironstone (? from the Folkestone beds below the Downs to the south. Early quoins, jambs, etc., are in Caen stone, while the 13th century lancets have Ragstone jambs. The E quoins of the chancel have on-end Rag quoins (some bored by marine molluscs - hence from the Sandgate/Folkestone foreshore).

Later restorations are in Portland, and then Bathstone.

Size: Small - less than acre.
Shape: Rectangle around church - raised above surrounding area (? due to gravedigging)

Condition: Good

Apparent extent of burial: A suit at the archbishop's court in 1352 suggests that burial was not originally allowed here (Sarah Cole's body was declared illegally buried here, and had to be dug up and moved to Lyminge - see R C Jenkins op cit below p.ii) but it was taking place in the later 15th cent. (see below).

HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: It may be one of the two churches at Lyminge Manor, mentioned in Domesday Book (1086), and is probably Weadleswurthe in Domesday Monachorum.

Late med. status : Always a chapel to Lyminge, like Stanford

Patron: The Rector of Lyminge

Other documentary sources: See Hasted VIII (1799) 118-9, and see R C Jenkins (op cit below). Wills (Test. Cant (E Kent 1907), 244) record burial in the churchyard in 1484 and in the church in 1520. Also the making of a new image of St Oswald (1526) and to its being bought + gilded (1526). The high cross was repaired in 1484.

Previous archaeological work (published\unpublished): None but R C Jenkins dug up (in the early 1870s restoration) "nearly in the centre of the nave, an immense stone... without date or inscription, under which at some depth, in the sandy soil below, was a massive oak coffin, portions of which were very sound..." (op cit iii).

Inside present church: ? Good

Outside present church: Good/ground level raised + only shallow drains around outside of church.

To structure: Very badly damaged by flying-bomb which fell in churchyard on 13 August 1944. Restoration (including reroofing) not finished till 1957.

Quinquennial inspection (date\architect): May 1990 C F Northover (+ rough 1:200 plan)

The church and churchyard: A small c. 12th century chapel to Lyminge in a very remote high situation, Its chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century.

The wider context: The dedication to St. Oswald is unique in Southern England. When did it come about.

REFERENCES: R C Jenkins "The church of St. Oswald at Paddlesworth", Arch Cant 10 (1876) x│ix-│iii

Guide book: Brief notes.

Plans & drawings: Drawing by Petrie from S E in 1807.

DATES VISITED: 13th April 1992                                            REPORT BY: Tim Tatton-Brown

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