Exploring Kent's Past

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Monument details

HER Number:TR 15 SE 11
Type of record:Listed Building
Name:St Peter's Church, Bridge

Summary

St Peter's Church (Norman work)

Summary from record TR 15 SE 259:

Grade II* listed building. Main construction periods 1100 to 1861


Grid Reference:TR 1834 5411
Map Sheet:TR15SE
Parish:BRIDGE, CANTERBURY, KENT

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (CHURCH, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SITE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1100 AD to 1861 AD)
  • CHURCH (CHURCH, Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (II*) 1336512: CHURCH OF ST PETER

Full description

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[TR 18345411] St. Peter's Church (NAT) (1) The Church of St. Peter Bridge, was almost wholly rebuilt in 1859-60 but contains some Norman work. (2) In normal use. (3) Church of St Peter, High Street. Grade II*. Chancel, nave with aisles, tower at west end of the south aisle with broached shingled spire. Stone. Originally a chapel of ease to Patrixbourne, but heavily rebuilt by Scott 1859-61. Norman doorway reset in the north transept, and one to the west wall of the nave with waterlead capitals. Arcades contain some remains of C12 and C13 work. (For full description see list). (4) Additional bibliography. (5)(6)

Unfortunately the church was disastrously over-restored in 1859 by Scott (John Newman, B.O.E. (N.E. and Kent 3rd ed. 1983), 159, says it was 'done with grotesque insensitivity'). However, with the help of Glynne's description (of 1846), and various early 19th century views, as well as the few surviving medieval features, it is possible to work out something of the architectural history. Externally it has been completely refaced with heavy knapped flint, and Bathstone dressings, but the core of all the main walls, except the Vestry on the north-east and the tower stair-turret must be medieval. The west end of the north aisle also appears to have been extended westwards in 1859.

There had been an earlier small-scale repewing in 1836, followed by a restoration by Scott in 1857. The complete rebuilding took place in 1859-60, with most of the money coming from Mrs Gregory of Bridge Hill.

From the surviving remains, there is no doubt that the nave, chancel, south aisle and tower-base all date from the 12th century. It is also possible that the nave itself dates from the late 11th century, but there is no visible evidence for this. The west doorway to the nave is of a mid- to later 12th century date, and unlike virtually everything else on the outside of the church was not totally renewed in 1859. There is a decorated round-headed archway with water-leaf capitals, and much original Caenstone survives. The internal north jamb to the doorway is also mostly of original diagonally-tooled Caenstone blocks. On the north-east side of the chancel is a round-headed (c. mid-12th century) window, which was unblocked in 1859. Glynne in 1846 refers to two 'closed' windows on the north side of the chancel, and 'on the south a fine doorway and two windows, now closed; the former has fine chevron mouldings'. This doorway was reset on the east side of the north-east vestry in 1859, but its fine chevroned arch, over scalloped capitals, is still visible as an entrance to the vestry lobby.

The south aisle and south-west tower seem to have been added in the later 12th century. The arcade had already gone by 1846, but part of a respond (with nook-shafts) still survives at the extreme east end. Just beyond this, in the east wall, a fragment of the north jamb of a 12th century window survives. This south aisle had a low southwall until 1859, and its steep-pitched roof continued the line of the main nave roof. The tower at the west end of this aisle has 1859 round-headed arches, on the north and east in a 'decorated Romanesque' style (? designed by Scott). Glynne tells us that originally they were 'very rude semicircular arches'. The south and east windows into the ground floor of the tower may be based on earlier 12th century ones.

During the earlier 13th century, a north transept chapel and north aisle were added. Glynne tells us that 'the north aisle is very low and narrow, divided from the nave by three rude pointed arches with large wall piers having no capitals or impost mouldings'. The pointed arches survive, though a fourth has been added on the west, as well as three extraordinary double piers. The eastern respond is mostly original, however, with bar-stopped chamfers. Another original arch (with bar-stopped chamfers) divides the north aisle from the north-east transept chapel. Glynne also says that there was a lancet at the west end of this aisle. The north-east chapel still has a pair of original lancets on the north (restored externally), and earlier there was apparently a hagioscope from this chapel into the chancel. The upper stage of the tower may be 13th century.

The one later medieval feature that survives is the 3-light early perpendicular window in the west wall of the nave. This too still contains quite a lot of original masonry, and may date from the late 14th century. The 2-light east window, now rebuilt, was probably early 14th century ('poor Middle Pointed' according to Glynne). The early 19th century views show a pair of two-light late perpendicular windows with square hoods on the south side of the chancel.

The chancel still contains some early 16th century fittings, and a roodloft was documented as being made in 1522 (see below). On the north side of the sanctuary are two low rectangular niches which contain the two halves of the effigy for Macobus Kasey (ob. 1512). Above and just to the west of this is some relief sculpture (also ? early 16th century) in a tympanum panel. Was this set originally inside a 12th century doorway? Above this is an early 17th century painting of Robert Bargrave (ob. 1649). On the chancel south wall (at the west end) are fragments of a relief memorial to a vicar, Malcolm Ramsey (ob. 1538). He was vicar of Patrixbourne and Bridge for 44 years. These include part of an inscription.

The tower appears to have been given brick south-east and south-west buttresses in the 17th or 18th century. These were removed in 1859 when a south-east stair-turret was added to the tower. This was apparently restored in 1891. (7)

Description from record TR 15 SE 259:
The following text is from the original listed building designation:
1. 5273 BRIDGE HIGH STREET (south-west side)
Church of St Peter TR 1854 19/184 30.1.67
II* GV
2. Chancel, nave with aisles, tower at west end of the south aisle with broached shingled spire. Stone. Originally a chapel of ease to Patrixbourne, but heavily rebuilt by Scott 1859-61. Norman doorway reset in the north transept, and one to the west wall of the nave with waterlead capitals. Arcades contain some remains of C12 and C13 work. Unusual carved panel of good quality of the Late Perpendicular period in the form of a Norman tympanum reset in chancel wall. Early C16 reclining effigy monument. Body stones to the churchyard and tombstones carved with shells, cherubs' heads and skulls.
Listing NGR: TR1834554112

In 2007 a watching brief was maintained on works to install new toilet and kitchen facilities. The pew floor was removed and found to consist of a sprung wooden plank surface supported by spanning joists over a ground surface that had been reduced during the 1859 works. Two stone slabs were moved from next to the nave's west door. One of these slabs was a late medieval tomb top, with recessed positions for brasses of two figures with children over a rectangular footplate. Hasted records such a tomb on the north side of the churchyard. An inspection chamber dug against the west wall of the nave found a section of masonry foundation pre-dating the late 12th century church. (8-9)


<1> OS Card / NAR index entry, OS 6" 1961 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<2> OS Card / NAR index entry, MHLG (1953/11/A, Dec 1960) 17 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<3> OS Card / NAR index entry, F1 FGA 21-JAN-65 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<4> OS Card / NAR index entry, DOE(HHR) Dist of Canterbury Kent Mar 1980 53 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<5> OS Card / NAR index entry, BOE NE and E Kent 1983 159-160 (J Newman) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<6> Field report for monument TR 15 SE 11 - January, 1965 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5479.


<7> Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown), 1994, Church Survey - St Peter's Church, Bridge. (Unpublished document). SKE7597.


<8> Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 2008, Archaeological watching brief at St. Peter’s Church, Bridge Hill, Bridge, Kent (Unpublished document). SKE17837.


<9> Weekes, J., 2012, Canterbury Archaeological Trust Interim Reports, Archaeologia Cantiana CXXXII 2012: 298 (Article in serial). SKE25119.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. OS 6" 1961.
<2>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. MHLG (1953/11/A, Dec 1960) 17.
<3>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. F1 FGA 21-JAN-65.
<4>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. DOE(HHR) Dist of Canterbury Kent Mar 1980 53.
<5>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. BOE NE and E Kent 1983 159-160 (J Newman).
<6>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 15 SE 11 - January, 1965.
<7>Unpublished document: Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown). 1994. Church Survey - St Peter's Church, Bridge..
<8>Unpublished document: Canterbury Archaeological Trust. 2008. Archaeological watching brief at St. Peter’s Church, Bridge Hill, Bridge, Kent.
<9>Article in serial: Weekes, J.. 2012. Canterbury Archaeological Trust Interim Reports. Arch Cant CXXXII: 291-305. Archaeologia Cantiana CXXXII 2012: 298.
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