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Monument details

HER Number:TR 03 NE 118
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1100 to 1999.A parish church of 12th century origin, expanded in the 13th century with 14th to 15th century fenestration. The vestry was built between the 19th and 20th century. The church is built of ragstone with a plain tiled roof.

Grid Reference:TR 05262 39374
Map Sheet:TR03NE

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1100 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1276693: CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

Full description

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Description from record TR 03 NE 8 :
(TR 05253937) St. John the Baptist's Church (NAT) (1) 16/1 Church of St John the Baptist, Mersham. Parish Church. Chancel with South Chapel, Nave with South Aisle, South Porch and Tower at the west end of the Aisle. The south doorway and the 2 east pillars of the Nave arcade are Norman; the Tower and the west end of the South Aisle are C.13; the remainder of the Nave and Aisle and the Chancel are C.14 with C.15 ws., the east w. being a particularly fine w. of unusual design; the South or Knatchbull Chapel is C.15. The Nave and the South Porch have King-post roofs. (2) In normal use. (3) Upgraded to A. (4) St John the Baptist, the west window is unforgettable, wide enough to take all twelve Apostles in glass. (5) Additional bibliography - not consulted. (6-7)

The following text is from the original listed building designation:
7/94 Church of St. John the 27.11.57 Baptist GV
Parish church. C12 origin, expanded C13 with C14-C15 fenestration. C19-C20 vestry. Ragstone with plain tiled roof. Chancel and south chapel, nave with south aisle and tower and south porch. Three stage south western tower with triple offset clasping buttress and short shingled spire with weather vane. Paired lancet belfry openings, small lancets elsewhere. Flat pilaster-buttress to north-eastern vice. Clock on west face dated 1886. South aisle with lancet, restored C14. Decorated 2 light and C15 Perpendicular 2 light window. Reset C12 south doorway with nook shafts, filleted abaci and roll mould, with C15 water stoup. South porch with wave moulded outer door, moulded bargeboard, and nicely moulded roof of 3 short crown posts and tie beams. South chapel and chancel stepped in, the chapel with plinth, and hammer-dressed blocks to upper courses and diagonal buttress, with Perpendicular south and east windows (with ogee) and moulded bargeboard (similar to south porch) to gable. Chancel with restored ogee headed windows, and 3 light Y-tracery east window. C14-C15 windows on north side. C19 Decorated style vestry with large squat chimney stack, extended late C20 with parish rooms in brick. Simple cusped 2 light C13 window and 3 identical 2 light and 4 over Perpendicular windows to nave. West window c.1396, with 12 lights at base, with upper tracery with central quatrefoil and downward swept cusped lights (to incorporate the Trinity and downward-flying seraphim). Simple moulded doorway below. Interior: 5 bay arcade, C13 of slightly different dates to western 3 bays. Round piers, the eastern respond a simple abacus. Double chamfered arches. Roof of 4 tall octagonal crown posts on tie beams with quatrefoil pierced knee braces. South aisle with double chamfered tower arch without responds. Collared rafter roof. Chancel: no chancel arch, with hollow chamfered ogee headed window, now to the south chapel and large depressed hollow cham- fered arch to south chapel with head corbel to east. King post and trussed rafter roof, the easternmost tie beam with carved head. South chapel with outline and mouldings of earlier opening to chancel; trussed rafter roof. Fittings: C17 altar rail, with strapwork enriched rails and ball finials and foliage. Dado panelling to sanctuary with strapwork, dated 1611, with reeded panels and fretwork top piece. Restored ogee trecusped piscina. C19 choir stalls and light fittings. Screen to south chapel, C18, with barley sugar balusters on simple beaded panelled dado, with iron spike top rail. C15 cusped piscina. Font with square bowl, with quatrefoils on roundels and ogee arcading. Five round piers. Stained glass: fragments of the originally complex iconography of the west windows, and St. Michael and the Dragon in a north window. Monuments: an important series. Brass of priest c.1420, 14 ½ inches. Knight and Lady, c.1520, set on south wall, c.17 inches. In the chancel: Richard Knatchbull 1590, wall monument of knight kneeling at prayer desk with strapwork pilasters and coved enriched frieze with urns and achievement over. Bridget Knatchbull, 1625, by Nicholas Stone (1626 for £30). Wall monument with kneeling lady in draped baldacchino, with draped angels pulling back curtains. with fluted frieze and cornice to open segmental pediment with achievement cherubs heads and obelisk. Bracketed plaque below. Sir Norton Knatchbull d.1636. Standing monument, with stiffly moulded knight propped on one elbow on scroll-ended tomb chest, with double Ionic colonettes to segmental head with original spear headed rails with twisted and strapwork finialled principals. Katherine Knatchbull, Sir Wyndham Knatchbull (1740/1 and 1749). Pedimented wall plaque with scrolled sides, cartouche below and achievement over. In the south chapel: Margaret Collyns, d.1595 by Epiphanius Evesham. Very small white alabaster tablet, with simple inscription and shaped head with Arms and laurel wreath winged apron signed "Evesham fecit Sir Norton Knatchbull, d.1684. White and black wall plaque with raised and fielded apron, gadrooned base, festooned and scrolled sides, cherub and death's head, with arms, gadrooned urns and central urn on plinth over. Sir John Knatchbull, d.1676. Large white tablet, with palm-enriched scrolls to floriate side pieces on apron with cherubs, trumpets garlands and death's head brackets, with acanthus frieze to cornice with draped baldacchino with putti holding back drapes, before a pyramid and flaming urns, and Achievements. Simple wall plaque to Sir Edward Knatchbull, d.1749, with Arms and Trophies Sir Wyndham Knatchbull, d.1763. Simple plaque, designed by Robert Adam (who also designed Mersham-le-Hatch for Sir Wyndham), carved by William Tyler. Tilting helm in chancel of Sir Norton Knatchbull. Knatchbull hatchments, Royal Arms on nave north wall dated 1751, and lugged charity board dated 1777 in south aisle. (See B.O.E. Kent I 1983 423-5) .
Listing NGR: TR0504039348 (8)

Historic England archive material: AL2400/120/01 View of the west window of St John the Baptist's Church, Mersham The album has the note 'Smeeth?', but the window was identified in October 2013 by Dr Richard Morrice (via e-mail).

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<2> DOE(HHR) East Ashford RD Kent July 1955 39 (OS Card Reference). SKE41157.

<4> Corrigenda to Authority 2 Dec 1976 (OS Card Reference). SKE39308.

<5> Bldgs of Eng W Kent & the Weald 1980 423-4 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE37889.

<6> Parish Church of St John the Baptist Mersham 1955 (J H Edinger) (OS Card Reference). SKE48487.

<7> Field report for monument TR 03 NE 8 - November, 1962 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5081.

<8> English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Map). SKE16160.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: DOE(HHR) East Ashford RD Kent July 1955 39.
<4>OS Card Reference: Corrigenda to Authority 2 Dec 1976.
<5>OS Card Reference: Bldgs of Eng W Kent & the Weald 1980 423-4 (J Newman).
<6>OS Card Reference: Parish Church of St John the Baptist Mersham 1955 (J H Edinger).
<7>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 03 NE 8 - November, 1962.
<8>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #22721 Church, ]