Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2017 and is filed under KAS News.
My thanks to the vicar, the Reverend Ian Parrish and members of his congregation for their friendly welcome and interest in this transcription. I would also like to thank Ted Connell for his work in putting this and other monumental inscriptions onto the Kent Archaeological Society’s website.
All Saints Church, Maidstone, which was built by Archbishop Courtney, from 1395, is a major church building in the perpendicular style, the finest of this style in Kent. The interior is over 90 feet in width, with an equally impressive length and height. The pavement is “choc a bloc” with ledger stones, mainly of the 18th and 19th centuries (inscriptions can be seen online on the church website). There are some impressive medieval tombs, including that of Archbishop Courtney, himself. Other monuments to note are the Astley monument with life sized figures wrapped in shrouds, inspired by the monument of John Donne in St. Pauls cathedral and the monument of Lawrence Washington, died 1619, a relative of General George Washington, with the Washington coat of arms, including “stars and stripes”, from which the American flag derives.
The churchyard is rather smaller than one might expect from the scale of the church and contains no earlier, readable monuments, than the late 17th century.
I have divided the churchyard, taking advantage of the paths, into 5 sections, A, B, C, D and E. (section F is the detached burial ground, east of the church, behind the archbishop’s tithe barn)
Section A is a narrow area, to the west of the church; section B is on the south of the church and west of the path from the medieval priests’ college to the church; section C is east of the latter path and extends to the path which runs from near the south east corner of the churchyard past the east end of the church and which is used as a public thoroughfare, there being no footpath on this part the adjacent road. Section D is the section east of the latter path and is adjacent to the road. Section E is north of the church on each side of the path which leads to the main entrance of the church.
Section F is the detached burial ground across the road from the church and east of the archbishops’ stone tithe barn. The footpath through this ground is also a public thoroughfare. All, but one, of the headstones have been moved to the east and north walls
In the churchyard, some of the ledger stones have been resited, in fairly modern times, on the paved areas and are included in the adjoining sections.
Many of the monumental are eroded, especially those of portland stone, some completely.. I have done my best to be accurate but some mistakes are likely to slip through. I have not checked dates in the parish registers due to the pressure on time it would incur but have made use of the family search and the genealogist websites. I am sure I could have transcribed more inscriptions by using chalk to enhance the worn stones. But I did not seek permission because I felt inhibited, not wanting to encourage graffiti on this very public site in the middle of the town.
The layout of the inscriptions follows the originals, I have not tried to follow the original fonts and hope that the concise wills put some flesh on the bones.
I have not attempted to map the churchyard and position of the monuments, this being well beyond my ability but hope my simple photographic guide will make it clear where the sections are located. It should be borne in mind that if anyone should wish to locate a particular monument those in the worse condition will be difficult to identify unless the weather and sunlight are most. Favorable, raking sunlight can sometimes be vital but this is hindered in some areas by tree cover.
D.E. Williams, Borstal, Rochester, St. Andrew’s day 2016