Andrews Church, Wickhambreaux
TR 220 5875
DIOCESE: HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Tim Tatton-Brown's Survey 1991
Situated about 5 miles east of Canterbury at c. 20ft. above O.D. It is
on the west side of the village green, with the Court (Lodge)
adjoining to the N.E. The church faces well to the S. of E., with open
country to the south-west.
The plan of this church is fairly regular with a chancel, nave and two
lean-to aisles which clasp a western tower. The whole church was
rebuilt in the 14th century, and there are no traces of any earlier
work (except possibly some reused materials (Reigate stone, Roman
brick, etc.). The lower part of the western tower may be slightly
earlier than the rest of the church, and perhaps dates to the early
14th century, as do, perhaps, the lower west walls to the aisles,
including the simple two-light windows there. However, the tracery of
that on the north is totally restored, and that on the south only has
part of its original jambs, tracery, etc. (there is an unusual wooden
central mullion and Y-shaped piece above). The west window in the
tower above the west doorway, which still contains Caen and Reigate
stone jambs, arch, etc., is also perhaps of the earlier 14th century.
The whole of the rest of the church was probably rebuilt
in the 2nd half of the 14th century, when the Lords of the manor were
the Earls of Kent - possibly when Joan "Fair Maid of Kent"
was Earl, and married the Black Prince.
Of this later 14th century church, all the windows,
whether 2-of 3-light, are very similar in design having square heads
and cusped ogees at the top of each light. There is also a square
hood-mould, except in the south windows of the south aisle. At the
west end of the south wall of the south aisle, there may earlier have
been another window which was later filled in (indications of this in
outside plaster). In the aisles, all the windows are of two lights
(except in the east wall), while in the chancel they are of three
lights with a four-light main east window (restored wrongly in 1878 -
J. Newman). There is also much 19th century restoration to the chancel
tracery. Inside there are three bays of arcading on each side of the
nave with tall octagonal piers (mostly of tall semi-octagonal well-cut
greensand blocks). The arches over them have two hollow chamfers, and
there is a slight difference between the capitals and bases in the
north and south arcades. There is a similar wide chancel arch,
springing from engaged half-octagonal piers. In the chancel there is a
fine cusped-ogee headed piscina on the S. side (now very low, due to
19th century raising of floor). There is also a holy water stoup just
inside the North door to the east.
The upper stage of the tower (also late 14th century) has
a set of tall windows (with transoms) for the bell chamber (now with
louvres). Above is a crenellated parapet. In the north and south walls
are tall simple rectangular openings for the intermediate chamber.
The nave roof has 4 simple tie-beams (? 14th century),
the rafter trusses are invisible above the ceiling. The aisle roofs
are simple shallow-pitched affairs. The braced wall-posts are small
braces and, perhaps, a later addition (?17th century). The
timber-framed N. porch (on later brick socles) is probably late
medieval, but restored. Only the N. aisle roof has a (? later) parapet
(not on S. aisle).
Under the early 18th century Rector, the Revd. Alexander
Young (1712-55), a new Rectory was built (1713), and the church
received a ring of 6 new bells in 1728 (made by Samuell (sic on bell)
Knight). The Rector's niece, Mary Young (ob 1767) left £100 in her
will for wainscotting and ornamenting the chancel (see Memorial
inscription), and this work was no doubt stripped out in the 1878
restoration. Some of the woodwork appears to have been retained for a
vestry screen at the west end of the south aisle. There is also a fine
table (? originally an altar) with turned baluster legs in the vestry.
18th century brick repairs to S. aisle buttresses, etc. also to Tower
upper W. face.
The Victorian restoration (1878) was very extensive with
the whole of the chancel being refaced with heavy knapped flint and
cement pointing. 3 courses of stone banding in the chancel walls was
also introduced, and there is much new stone (red sandstone for quoins
etc). There is also the use of Roman cement for window repairs (eg N.
aisle windows). The N. aisle was extended eastwards for an organ
chamber; the old E. window opening was kept, but the tracery was moved
to the new east window. (The new east walling is in heavy knapped
flint externally). Outside its east wall is a (now redundant) boiler
house, with steps down from the east. A new arch connects the organ
chamber with the chancel. Inside the church, a tiled dado was added
all around, with an elaborate "baptistry" made at the W. end
of the N. aisle. Wall-paintings were added above the arcades and above
the E. window (Angels/foliage). Also a dark blue nave ceiling with
There are also elaborate new chancel fittings (and tiled
floor) in a much-raised floor. The pulpit and Rector's stall are at
the front of a "stage".
BUILDING MATERIALS (Incl. old plaster, paintings, glass, tiles etc.):
Much flint, tertiary sandstone, reused Roman bricks, tufa, Hythe stone
and some tiles are visible in the rubblework of the unrestored aisle
and tower walls. Caen (and some Reigate) stone are used for original
quoins, etc., as well as Kentish Ragstone (visible in unrestored
Some 18th century red brick repairs, and much 19th century knapped
flint and new (? Red) sandstone quoins and window jambs, mullions,
Hasted says that the east window contained glass with the arms of the
Black Prince and of Mortimer quartered with Burgh – also a figure of
Salome and John-the-Baptist being beheaded (this is now in the centre
light of the S. aisle (E. window). There is also the fine 1896 E.
window stained glass by Rosenkrantz (Newman N.E. & E. Kent
p.49 (3rd edition), 497.
EXCEPTIONAL MONUMENTS IN CHURCH
Rev. Alexander Young (ob. 1755) wall monument on S. side of chancel
(by Sir Robert Taylor), and Mary Young (ob. 1767) wall monument on N.
wall of chancel.
CHURCHYARD AND ENVIRONS:
Size & Shape: Larger irregular shape, with extensions to S.W.
Apparent extent of burial: Burial in churchyard first mentioned in
will of 1499.
Ecological potential: - A line of pleached limes runs to N. porch from
Green to the east.
HISTORICAL RECORD (where known):
Earliest ref. to church: Domesday Book
Late med. status: Rectory and Vicarage till 1322 when consolidated in
one (Regist. Reynolds - fo. 102v – Lambeth Pal. Lib.).
Patron: The Lord of the Manor - a fairly rich Rectory. By the mid 14th
century the manor was in the hands of the Earls of Kent (including
Joan "the Fair Maid", 1353-85).
Other documentary sources: Early wills (Test. Cant. (E. Kent
1907) 363-5) mention altars of St. John-the-Baptist (?5 aisle) and St.
Margaret (? N. aisle). "The holywater stock in St. Maragret's Ile"
(1532) is perhaps that just E. of the N. door. John Readhodes chantry
(1485) was at the altar of St. John-the-Baptist. A window is ordered
to be made in a will of 1510 in south side of Wickham church like the
window in Ickham to give light to the High Rood there.
"Also" Towards the Turnery of the Roodloft. Our Ladyile"
In 1767, Mary Young (niece of Rector, Rev. Alexander Young, who
rebuilt Rectory in 1713) left £100 in her will "to the
wainscotting and ornamenting of this chancel" (see Memorial
Tablet). This was removed in the 1878 Restoration, and only the Vestry
Screen (originally part of reredos to altar) remains.
Reused materials: Much reused Roman brick, particularly at W. end of
SURVIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS:
Inside present church: ? Good as chancel (and ? west end) floors
raised in 19th century.
Outside present church: - ? Good - only shallow drainage channels
around N.E. and S. sides of church.
Quinquennial inspection (date\architect): February 1990 Peter Marsh
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT:
The church and churchyard: An unusual example of a rural church,
attached to a secular manor, totally rebuilt in the 14th century.
Plans & drawings: Petrie view from S.E. in early 19th century.
DATES VISITED: 22nd December
REPORT BY: Tim Tatton-Brown