All Saints Church, Tudeley TQ 622
ROCHESTER DIOCESE: HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1994
LOCATION: A fairly isolated site at c.130 ft. above
O.D. with a farmyard to the west, but only c.2 miles south-east of
Tonbridge on Wadhurst Clay.
DESCRIPTION: This church is now famous because it is filled with Marc
Chagall's glass of 1967 and 1974. However, it had become very ruined
in the 18th century, and in 1765 it was rebuilt, largely in red brick
at a cost of £1,125. Much of the earlier stone shell of the chancel
survives, as well as the lower walls of the nave and west tower.
Two periods of masonry survive; the chancel, with mostly smaller
blocks than the nave, is earlier, and has inserted into it the c.14th
century doorway on the south side of the chancel. No other original
features like windows survive in the chancel or nave, except the
buttresses. The slightly larger blockwork of the nave, abuts the
chancel on the S.E. side, but is coursed around into the tower on the
west. I would therefore very tentatively suggest that the chancel may
be 13th century, with the nave and west tower, and its contemporary
buttresses c.14th century. The south door into the chancel, and
probably its buttresses are 14th century. There is certainly no trace,
above ground, of the Domesday Book (1086) church.
The 1765 rebuilding, on the earlier walls, was in Flemish Bond
brickwork with many `blue' headers. The round and round-headed windows
in the tower are of that date. The chancel also had a single
round-headed window on each of its north and south sides, as well as a
larger one in its east window, with probably a brick upper wall/gable
above. This last window and the south window are shown in Petrie's
view from the south-east in 1808. Traces of the filled-in round-headed
window on the north can still be seen (as well as parts of its stone
side-jambs). Plain arch from tower to nave.
The 1765 rebuilding also put a small tiled spirelet on top of the low
tower (still surviving), and barrel-vaulted ceilings under slate roofs
with wide eaves. The vault in the nave was painted (marbled) in 1967.
There are also 3 late 18th century bells in the tower.
In 1876 a north aisle with arcade were built by R. Medley Fulford. It
is under a slate roof containing the nave line. The 18th century
windows were removed from the chancel and south side of the nave, and
`medieval' tracery was put in (two 3-light `Perpendicular' windows on
the south side of the nave), as well as a new west door into the tower
and a south door. A new south porch was also built, and a small window
into the north-east side of the tower. The less sympathetic chancel
arch was put in in 1885.
In the 1967 restoration, the east window (and gable above) were
rebuilt for the Chagall glass, while the 1974 glass was just put into
the 19th century windows (the earlier glass is now displayed in
`light-boxes' under the tower). A new west gallery for the organ has
also been built, but this rather hides the Royal Arms. The church has
also been repaved and repewed.
BUILDING MATERIALS: (Incl. old plaster, paintings, glass, tiles etc.):
The surviving medieval stone is of the local Tunbridge Wells sandstone
type, while the 1765 work is in brick. The 19th century windows,
doorways, etc. appear to be in Bathstone. Blue slate 18th century roof
EXCEPTIONAL MONUMENTS IN CHURCH: Very fine Fane tomb (1571) on north
side of chancel. Also Thomas Stydolf and wife brass of 1457 on floor
in chancel (+ one indent to south).
CHURCHYARD AND ENVIRONS:
Size & Shape: Large open rectangular area around church, with
extensions to east and north.
Building in churchyard or on boundary: 18th century brick building
along west boundary.
Exceptional monuments: Some good headstones around the church.
Ecological potential: Yes.
HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: Domesday Book.
Late med. status: Vicarage, with chapel of Capel annexed.
Patron: Given c.1293 to Tonbridge Priory, and soon after appropriated
to them. Vicarage only endowed from 1398. After the Dissolution
(1526), to Christ Church, Oxford, then (1529) to Crown and in 1548 to
Other documentary sources: Hasted V (1798), 258-260 .Test.Cant
(W.Kent, 1906) 79.
SURVIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS:
Inside present church: ? Good, if underfloor heating did not go too
Outside present church: Good - only upper walls rebuilt in 18th
To structure: East window and upper east gable rebuilt in 1967 by R.
To floors: Underflooor heating.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT:
The church and churchyard: A small c.13th century chancel, and
buttressed nave and west tower of the 14th century survives in the
lower walls, but the upper work is largely of 1765, with 19th century
windows and new north aisle. Now famous for the Chagall glass.
The wider context: A small `High Weald' chancel, nave and tower in an
area with little medieval population expansion.
Guide Book: Leaflet (undated).
Photographs: Fane tomb of 1571 in Kent Churches 1954, p.165.
Plans and early drawings: Petrie view from S.E. in 1808.
REPORT BY: Tim Tatton-Brown