Peter & St Paul Church, Shadoxhurst TQ 972 376
DIOCESE: HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1994
LOCATION: Situated at c.130 feet above O.D.
near a small `green' at the centre of a dispersed Wealden village
about 4 miles S.W. of Ashford. It is on Weald Clay with a Paludina
limestone outcrop only just over a mile to the north-west.
DESCRIPTION: This is a simple building with only a nave and chancel,
and almost all the features in it are of the early 14th century. Only
the north and south lancets in the chancel suggest that this part of
the building is late 13th century. There is no other visible evidence
for an earlier church.
The late 13th century chancel has tall wide lancets (of
Ragstone and with some Caenstone) with window seats inside the south
lancet (as in contemporary domestic architecture), which presumably
acted as the sedilia. The seats are chamfered out at the top, and on
the chamfered internal arises there are bar-stops. All the masonry
exhibits comb-chisel work. The north lancet just has a simple internal
ledge, and the aumbry niche immediately to the east (without its door)
may be contemporary.
The nave appears to have been completely rebuilt in the
early 14th century with three buttresses on either side (most of the
chamfered plinths are buried below the external drainage gulley). Two
larger western buttresses were added to the west wall which support an
added west arch which in turn supports the western part of a small
timber-turret for 3 bells (though only one 1592 bell survives). The
western buttresses are notable for their use of Bethersden marble
`long and short' work in their quoins. Bethersden marble has also
apparently been used in the voussoirs for the arch above, as well as
in the lowest quoins in other buttresses in the nave and chancel. All
the other quoins are of Ragstone (with quite a few restored
weatherings of Bathstone), and all the main walls are of Ragstone
On the north and south sides of the nave are two pairs of
two-light early 14th century windows with trefoiled heads and ogee
quatrefoils above. The north window tracery is slightly different from
that on the south, though the latter tracery is entirely restored in
Bathstone. There are simple external hoods. The south and west
doorways (with 19th century doors) are also early 14th century with
simple mouldings and pyramid stops.
An unusual feature is the large Ragstone brackets
(perhaps for images) in the east jambs of the north-east and
south-east nave windows. There is another smaller corbel in the
south-east wall of the nave. There is also a simple chamfered early
14th century chancel arch, and the cinquefoil-headed piscina in the
chancel and 3-light east window (with reticulated tracery) are also
early 14th century additions. There are contemporary eastern ragstone
buttresses, also with Bethersden marble at the base.
The plain hexagonal font at the south-west corner of the
nave may also be early 14th century, though the crown-post roof over
the nave is perhaps a bit later. There is also a medieval simple
collar and rafter roof over the chancel (see eaves), but this is
There is an 18th century south porch (completely rebuilt
in 1985), and two bells were apparently removed from the western
turret at the end of the 18th century when it was rebuilt.
The main, fairly thorough, restoration came in 1868-9. No
early fittings, except the font, survive inside the church. The
ancient glass in the east window was apparently reset in a new western
lancet at this time.
The nave was refloored in 1964-5 after dry-rot problems,
and given a new pulpit, etc., new pews (reconstituted) were acquired
BUILDING MATERIALS: (Incl. old plaster, paintings, glass, tiles etc.):
The main building material is local Ragstone with some imported
Caenstone in the late 13th century lancets. Much fine Bethersden
marble slab was used for early 14th century quoins, while Bathstone
was used in the 19th century repairs.
There is some ancient render on the external north wall of the
chancel, and north-east side of the nave.
The two northern quatrefoils in the nave contain ancient glass
(probably in situ), and more has been reset in the west lancet.
EXCEPTIONAL MONUMENTS IN CHURCH: Memorial to Capt. Sir Charles Molloy
on north wall of chancel (by Cheere, according to John Newman), with
his armorial `achievements' on a bracket on the south wall facing it.
CHURCHYARD AND ENVIRONS:
Size & Shape: Quite large irregular area around church.
Building in churchyard or on boundary: Semi-derelict school-building
(of 1846) on west boundary. (Bethersden marble slabs in path outside
W. gate to churchyard.)
HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: ?Late 13th century.
Late med. status: Rectory
Patron: The Crown.
Other documentary sources: Hasted VII (1798), 242-4. Test.Cant.
(E.Kent, 1907), 303-4 mentions burial in the churchyard from 1474.
Also the Rood light and lights to St Mary (in the chancel at the high
altar end and in the body of the church (i.e. nave) and St Katherine,
St Matthew & St Peter.
SURVIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS:
Inside present church: Probably good.
Outside present church: Good - drainage gulley is above G.L.
To structure: South porch rebuilt 1985.
To floors: Nave refloored in 1964-5.
Quinquennial inspection (date\architect):
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT:
The church and churchyard: A late 13th century chancel with north and
south lancets, rebuilt in the early 14th century along with the whole
of the nave. A Major restoration in 1868-9.
The wider context: One of a group of Low Weald churches using
REFERENCES: S. Glynne, Churches of Kent (1877),211. He visited
Guide Book: Brief leaflet.
Photographs: View of N. wall of nave in Kent Churches 1954, 92.
Plans and early drawings: Petrie - view from S.E. in 1810.
DATE VISITED: 23rd April
REPORT BY: Tim Tatton-Brown
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