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© Mr Geoffrey Farrow

IoE Number: 179459
Photographer: Mr Geoffrey Farrow
Date Photographed: 03 April 2002
Date listed: 20 October 1954
Date of last amendment: 20 October 1954
Grade II*

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TQ 63 49 HADLOW CHURCH STREET7/23Church of St Mary20.10.54GVII*

TQ 63 49 HADLOW CHURCH STREET 7/23 Church of St Mary 20.10.54 GV II* Parish church. Saxo-Norman origins, much of the fabric from the late C12 or C13, partly rebuilt and extensively refurbished in the C19; chancel rebuilt in 1847, in 1853 south porch blocked and north aisle added; repaired in 1936. Local ragstone rubble with ashlar detail, some of the quoins of Tunbridge Wells stone, south side and chancel are cement-rendered like Hadlow Castle (q.v.) close by that side. Chancel roof is slate, nave and aisle roof are red tile with scallop-tile bands, and tower is shingled. Plan: Nave, north aisle with porch and transept-like organ loft, chancel with vestry on the north side, west tower. Tower has Saxo-Norman work. Chancel arch, south wall of nave and top of the tower are late C12 or C13. The rest is C19. Mostly Early English and Decorated style. Exterior: Single stage west tower with diagonal buttresses and low spire surmounted by cast iron weather vane. C19 2-light belfry lights. Late C12/early C13 lancets in north and south walls. West doorway, a 2-centred arch with moulded surround and hoodmould under the relieving arch for an earlier doorway. It contains a very good oak plank door, panelled with studded coverstrips and dated 1637 with the initials WB and ES, and good ironwork. South side of nave is cement-rendered. It has a 3-window front, all C19 replacement windows. Left window has Perpendicular tracery, others are Decorated with hoodmoulds and right one has label stops carved as human heads. East window an Early English-style triple lancet with continuous hoodmould, the others have Decorated-style tracery. Private porch on south side in the Gothick style of Hadlow Castle (q.v.); it has a small fireplace. The C19 north porch is timber-framed on stone sleeper walls; gabled with rows of trefoil-headed lights each side complete with their original leaded glass. Its 2-centred outer arch contains a large plank door with ornate strap hinges. north doorway a 2-centred arch with chamfered surround and hood. C13 south doorway is blocked but 2-centred arch with moulded surround is exposed. Interior: Saxo-Norman tower arch, round head on plain imposts. Late C12/early C13 chancel arch is 2-centred with double arch ring on simple moulded imposts. The rest is C19. Nave has a boarded barrel-vault ceiling. Chancel has a boarded angled vault with coverstrips and is painted with Tudor roses, stars and the like. Rere arches of the east window are moulded and have half-engaged shafts. Tall 2-centred arch to organ loft has a stone screen pierced by trefoil-headed lancets. 4-bay arcade to aisle. Centre circular pier and others are octagonal, plain moulded capitals and double- chamfered arch rings. Aisle roof carried on arch-braced trusses springing from plain stone corbels. The MacGeagh chapel at the east end of the aisle has ornate carved oak screens in Gothic style on 3 sides, made in 1926. Circa 1970 most of the aisle was floored and screened off for community use. Floor is mostly carpeted but flagstones show in the chancel and red and black tiles in the nave. Some old graveslabs. Walls are plastered. Fittings and Furniture: C19 Gothic reredos of 4 slate prayer boards in stone frame with carved spandrels and moulded hoods. Now behind curtains. In front is a carved oak crucifixion carving. It was formerly on the altar of 1885 with richly carved front in Gothic style which now sits in the MacGeagh chapel. C19 simple Gothic prayer desks and C20 stalls. Altar rail now between nave and chancel, oak rail on brass standards with foliate brackets. C19 Gothic pulpit, oak octagonal drum on stone base; brass lectern and C20 chairs in nave. 019 stone font has octagonal bowl carved with cusped panels, moulded base and octagonal stem on chamferedplinth. Aisle contains the Coverdale chair, presented to the church by T. E. Foster MacGeagh of Hadlow Castle in 1919. Made of oak, it is said to be the chair of the C16 Bishop Coverdale of Exeter and although the carving is magnificent it seems the chair was put together in its present form in the C19. Memorials: Apart from a couple of plain brass plaques memorials are confined to the walls of the chancel. The oldest and best is on the south side in memory of Sir John Rivers (d. 1583). The lower part, including the inscription is missing but the remaining part is good. Carved stone and marble featuring a kneeling man and woman at prayer facing each other over a prayer desk. Each is in a round headed arch on fluted Corinthian columns with moulded entablature surmounted by heraldic achievements. High on wall to right oval plaque in memory of Robert White (d. 1613) in a frame with broken pediment. The rest are C18 and C19 and of little more than local interest. Painted arms of George II in nowy headed frame over chancel arch and various C18 and C19 heraldic hatchments. C19 stained glass in the chancel, C20 stained glass in the nave. Sources: J. Newman. vest Kent and the Weald, Buildings of England (1969), p.312. Church Guide by W. V. Dumbrech (1963)

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