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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 85 NE 1
Type of record:Listed Building
Name:Church of St James, Bicknor


Grade II* listed building. Main construction periods 1100 restored in 1859-61. It is constructed of chalk with cement render with closely packed flint and stone dressings. The roof is of slate.

Grid Reference:TQ 8605 5882
Map Sheet:TQ85NE

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1100 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (II*) 1185510: CHURCH OF ST JAMES

Full description

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[TQ 8605 5882] St James's Church [NAT] (1) Church of St. James, Bicknor. The interior is said to be Norman but the exterior was rebuilt entirely in 1860-1. (2) In normal use. (3) Parish Church of St. James. Grade II* Norman 12 c., restored 1859-61. (4) Additional bibliography. (5)

Outside of the church to the west of the porch there is a medieval decorated tomb slab. The decoration consists of a raised base relief expanded cross on a triple stepped plinth with three separate pairs of floriated arms along the length of the shaft. It is thought to have been moved to its current position. A second larger slab is preserved within the tower. These date to the 13th century. (7)

Description from record TQ 85 NE 92:
The following text is from the original listed building designation:
TQ 861 589 BICKNOR
7/45 Church of St. James 26.4.68. II*
Parish church. Norman C12, restored 1859-61 by Bodley. Interior of very smoothly ashlared chalk faced externally with cement render with closely-packed flint chippings and stone dressings. Slate roof. Continuous nave and chancel, south aisle to nave with west tower at end, south porch, north vestry, north aisle. Exterior entirely C19. 2-stage west tower, with base canted to west, and lighter flint chippings to 2nd stage. Pyramidal roof. Bold quatrefoil belfry lights set in circles. Tall west lancet. South porch on plinth. Chamfered 2-centred arched opening with hood-mould springing from impost, apparently -not fitted for door. Narrow original inner door to church with 2-centred arched head, hollow chamfer and broach stops. Door with stylised fleur-de-lys hinges. South aisle has single cusped east window. Chancel has 2-light window with idiosyncratic trefoil above, in south wall. East window with 2 quatrefoiled and one trefoiled light in circles in head above 3 pointed lights. North vestry: east door with square head and jambs and moulding reminiscent of keel moulding. Stone continues above door as flushwork 2-centred arch. Low square-headed 4-light north window. North aisle: north window of 2 round- headed lights with trefoiled inner heads and simple incised decoration linking the two. West window under round head with 2 low painted lights below a heavy sexfoil rose. Nave: Large quatrefoil light in circle in gable with 2 lancets below. Blocked round-headed tufa doorway, possibly inset in C19, with C19 stone surround. Interior: 2-bay north and south arcades, and tower arch, with round-headed arches and large rectangular piers with scalloped imposts. Vestry door with large C19 fleur-de-lys hinges. Low pulpit and low panelled screen between nave and chancel, C19, with panels lightly carved in relief with medieval- inspired tracery. Large pink and grey marble font similar to that at Hucking. Crenellated tie-beam between nave and chancel, with quatrefoil spandrels, bearing cross which reaches to apex of roof with its arms spanning width of building, braced in narrow diamond patterns up and down to shaft of cross, Tapering tomb slab with remains of brass cross inlaid in west end of south aisle. Plain rectangular stone wall monument with recessed panel, in vestry, to Elizabeth Elward d. 1676.
Listing NGR: TQ8647859317

The development of the building was charted in 2005/6 by Canterbury Archaeological Trust during restoration work utilising a number of historic sketches made before and after the 19th century renovation. A watching brief undertaken at this time on drainage works also exposed the foundations of the building. A church is recorded on this site in the Late Anglo-Saxon period, there are, however, no identifiable elements of the standing building dating to this period. There are though large boulders used as foundations, which have been linked to Saxo-Norman construction at other churches in Kent. It is thought possible that the pre-Conquest church was of timber and replaced in stone in the Norman period. Elements of the west wall of this first stone church have survived, in the form of a blocked centrally position west doorway. This is built from roughly dressed ashlar blocks of tufa, a material used elsewhere in early construction projects carried out by Bishop Gundulf (AD 1077-1108). Aisles were added in the late Norman period (second half of the 12th century), hence the square piers of the arcades. The tower was also probably added at this stage. The building was thereafter not greatly modified, though the windows were altered in the 13th century and new windows were added in the 15th century. A priests house, glebe or rectors house formerly stood on the north side of the church, attached to the aisle. A faculty was granted in 1824 for its removal. The renovations of the 19th century appear to have replaced most of the interior chalk block work and concealed many earlier features. (8)

HE archive material: BF008544 CHURCH OF ST JAMES, BICKNOR File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued. Copyright, date, and quantity information for this record may be incomplete or inaccurate

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

<2> MHLG Prov List 2153/11/A Hollingbourne R D Nov 1960 1a 7/1 (OS Card Reference). SKE47142.

<3> F1 ASP 28-Jun-63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42333.

<4> DOE (HHR) Boro of Maidstone Kent 20 July 1984 22 (OS Card Reference). SKE39880.

<5> Buildings of Eng-North east & East Kent 1983 141 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE38425.

<6> Field report for monument TQ 85 NE 1 - June, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4393.

<7> Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 2006, St. James' Church, South Green, Bicknor, Kent: An Archaeological Watching Brief during the refurbishment of St. James' Church, South Green, Bicknor, Kent (Unpublished document). SKE18277.

<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: MHLG Prov List 2153/11/A Hollingbourne R D Nov 1960 1a 7/1.
<3>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 28-Jun-63.
<4>OS Card Reference: DOE (HHR) Boro of Maidstone Kent 20 July 1984 22.
<5>OS Card Reference: Buildings of Eng-North east & East Kent 1983 141 (J Newman).
<6>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 85 NE 1 - June, 1963.
<7>Unpublished document: Canterbury Archaeological Trust. 2006. St. James' Church, South Green, Bicknor, Kent: An Archaeological Watching Brief during the refurbishment of St. James' Church, South Green, Bicknor, Kent.
<8>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #28013 chuurch, ]