Link to printer-friendly page

It should not be assumed that this site is publicly accessible and it may be on private property. Do not trespass.

Monument details

HER Number:TR 02 NE 79
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1100 to 1899. A parish church with a Norman tower. The chancel and nave with aisles are 13th century with some later alterations and the porch is 16th century. Alterations were made in the 19th century.

Grid Reference:TR 06492 27989
Map Sheet:TR02NE

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1100 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1061102: CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN

Full description

If you do not understand anything on this page please contact us.

Description from record TR 02 NE 2:
[TR 06482798] St. Mary's Church [NAT] (1) The Church of St Mary the Virgin, St. Mary-in-the-Marsh, is mainly Early English, c.1270, but the church is of Norman foundation, the tower dating to about 50 years later than the original church. (2,3) In normal use. (4) Church of St Mary, Grade B, St. Mary in the Marsh. Chancel, nave and north and south aisles. The tower is Transitional - Norman, the chancel and nave with aisles 13th century with some later workings, the porch is 16th century. (For full description see list). (5) Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Grade I, St. Mary in the Marsh. 12th century, c. 1800 and 19th century. (For full description see list). (6) St. Mary's Church. The church is a delight, almost unrestored, yet fresh and neat within and without. The tower is Norman, but generally the rest is of c. 1300. The chancel is wide and consists of two bays with large lancet windows. The nave arcades have three bays divided by circular piers. (7) Additional bibliography. (8)
The earliest visible remains in this church are of the mid to later-12th century west tower. Various round headed windows can be seen in the north and south faces of the tower - small ones in the lowest stage, larger ones in the first stage (blocked on the north) and smaller ones in the top (belfry) stage. The upper west face has been largely rebuilt. The slightly-pointed tower arch has scalloped capitals on half-round columns (all now rather obscured by the 1990 organ). There is as yet no real evidence for the west wall of the nave being earlier than the tower, though Elliston Erwood has suggested this.

During the mid to later 13th century 3-bay aisles were added to the nave, but only the arcades for these now survive (and the eastern arch in the north aisle, and its respond were rebuilt in c. 1910). They have deeply moulded capitals with round pillars of Reigate stone. The western arch of the north arcade ends in a fine carved head (part of the capital), while its southern counterpart is a plain Bathstone replacement (c. 1910). At the eastern end of this arcade is a semi-octagonal capital/springer, possibly a 15th century replacement. The arches themselves mostly have double hollow-chamfers, and are of Reigate stone. However, in the southern arcade, particularly where Caenstone voussoirs are used, there are quite a few outer flat chamfers.

The chancel was rebuilt in the very late 13th century, and has a fine 4-light early Decorated east window with a wide 2-centred rerearch on wall-shafts and capitals with an internal roll beneath. The outer jambs of the window (largely unrestored) are of Caenstone with Ragstone mullions and tracery. The east end of the chancel also has quite large contemporary angle-buttresses with large flat chamfered plinths and weatherings. On the south side of the chancel are two contemporary late lancets with internal rerearches, and (unusually) external rebates, which are presumably for wooden window frames. There is also a small priests doorway with a mass-dial on it. There is one wide northern lancet (with rerearch, but no external rebate), and there are traces of a second to the east (now completely blocked up). Inside the chancel is a fine sedilia with double piscina to the east. These are also late 13th century, and like most of the lancets have carved internal head stops. They also have pyramid stops, and one unusual stop (between the sedilia and piscina) which is both a bar and a pyramid stop. In the south-west corner of the chancel is a wide niche of unexplained purpose, just beyond it the probable 13th century chancel arch has been removed (perhaps in the 15th century). A pyramid stop at the bottom still survives on the south, with a bar-stop on the north where it joints the arcade. The jamb here had been repaired in c. 1910. The chancel roof is a simple rafter and collar affair, which has racked to the west.

The west doorway into the tower is repaired but also has a bar stop at its base. All around it much making good and heavy buttressing of the western side of the tower has taken place - perhaps in the late 13th or 14th century. As usual differential settlement was a problem on the marsh.

Both aisles were completely rebuilt in the later medieval period, again no doubt due to settlement problems. The south aisle was rebuilt perhaps slightly earlier than the north one with the buttresses having hollow chamfers on the plinth. The south porch appears to be contemporary with the buttress it is part of on the east, though the doorway inside it appears to be late 13th century (with a bar stop). The windows in the south aisle were all built in the late Middle Ages, but the tracery in them was perhaps renewed in the 18th century (with round-heads) and then again recently.

The north aisle, also completely rebuilt in the 15th century, has windows with Perpendicular heads and square hood-moulds. There is also a 15th century north doorway with a rounded head, hollow chamfer and pyramid stops.

The nave and both aisles were all given new roofs in the 15th century. Each is a separate 3-bay crown-post roof with moulded wall-plates and tie-beams. (Some later tie-beams have been added in the aisles.) The nave roof also has wall-posts on corbels and spandrel-pieces.

At the top of the tower Perpendicular windows have been added in the east and west faces, and a timber spire has been added on top, all in the 15th century. The belfry contains there bells (one cracked) of c. 1371-92 (2nd), c. 1400 (3rd) and c. 1450 (Treble). The octagonal font bowl is perhaps 15th century, but has beneath it rounded rough `capitals' for the tops of four angle-shafts.

There is the doorway into the rood-loft in the south-east corner of the nave.

The main restoration was in 1910, but this was carefully done. The high box-pews were replaced by plain pinewood ones at this time (one box-pew is a cupboard in the vestry). The south wall of the porch was also repaired with cement and pebble-dash, and a new pulpit was put in. (9)

Dendrochronology dating of the spire gave a date of 1475/6. (10)

The following text is from the original listed building designation:
7/104 Church of St. Mary the Virgin 9.6.59 GV I
Parish church. C12, circa 1300, circa 1800 and C19. Mixed stone, partly rendered. Plain tile roof. Wood shingles to spire. West tower, virtually continuous nave and chancel, north and south aisles to nave, and south porch. West tower: C12. Three stages to north and south, lower two incorporated to west. Clasping buttresses. Splay-footed octagonal spire. North and south sides each have small chamfered round-headed opening to first and third stages and broader round-headed opening to second stage (blocked to north). Single trefoil-headed light to top stage to west. 2-centred arched west door with plain chamfer and broach stops, now rendered. South aisle: probably circa 1300. Narrow and gabled, with 3 buttresses. No west window. Two 2-light south windows of circa 1800 with round-headed cavetto-moulded lights and segmental hoodmould with dropped verticals. Chamfered, round-headed east window, possibly inserted. South porch: coped, with rounded kneelers of rendered tiles. Rectangular lights to east and west. Chamfered 2-centred arched outer doorway and similar inner doorway with broach stop. Chancel: C12, extended circa 1300. South-east and north-east angle buttresses. Battered plinth to east. 2 tall rebated south lancets, that to west longer and broader. Small doorway to west of centre with pointed arch, plain chamfer and broach stops. Cusped 4-light east window of circa 1300, with 3 quatrefoils to head, cavetto mullions, hollow-chamfered architrave and no hoodmould. One tall chamfered north lancet towards west end. North aisle: circa 1300. No plinth. Gabled, with moulded stone coping. 4 evenly-spaced north buttresses on moulded plinths. 2-light east window with cinquefoiled head , square top and hoodmould. 2 similar windows to north in outer bays. Central hollow-chamfered north doorway with broach stops and almost pointed head. No west window. Interior: Structure: 3-bay nave arcade with pointed arches of 2 hollow-chamfered orders and columns with bell capitals and bases. Arcades rest at east and west ends on moulded imposts, that to north-west forming tall moulded hat slung low over carved head beneath. No chancel arch. Tower arch plain chamfered and pointed (a later alterarion?). Springing from attached columns with scalloped capitals and bell bases.East window flanked either side by slender shaft with bell capital and base set within the hollow-chamfered architrave of the window.Hollow-chamfered rere-arch with roll-and-fillet hoodmculd.String below east window rounded but not undercut. Inner arches of 2 south lancets spring from small carved heads with bell "hats". Small moulded imposts to north lancet. Rectangular stone to east of centre of chancel in north wall said to mark extent of C12 chancel. Broad rectangular blocked opening at west end of south chancel wall. Narrow round-headed rood-loft doorway just above nave arcade at south junction of nave and chancel. Roof: 4 crown-posts to nave; 2 to centre octagonal with moulded capitals and bases, that to west end rectangular with broad chamfered sides, that to east end plain. Sous-laces, ashlar-pieces and moulded cornice. Moulded tie-beams, those to centre with pendant posts and solid braces. Chancel roof of common rafters with collars, sous-laces, ashlar- pieces and chamfered cornice. Straight central plain-chamfered tie-beam. 4 short, rectangular, chamfered crown-posts to north aisle on heavy cambered moulded tie-beams. Sous-laces and ashlar-pieces. Moulded cornice to north. 3 plain straight intermediate tie-beams. South aisle roof similar, but with taller crown-posts. Fittings: 2 stepped sedile and unusual double piscina under continuous roll-and-fillet hoodmould with mask-like face between sedile and piscina and priest's head between sedile. All 3 have trefoil-heads, hollow chamfers and broach stops. Medieval floor tiles to chancel. Octagonal Medieval font with octagonal shaft on square stone plinth to west of south door. Painted wood font cover, probably C17, with knob finial. Slender moulded beam to west end of east bay of south aisle, set towards springing of arcade and probably the head of a screen. C18 north door to north aisle and C18 doors with fielded panels to tower arch. C18 hexagonal pulpit with fielded panels and balusters. Royal arms 1775 over north door. Italianate triptych on west wall of south aisle. Monuments: Plain tablet above font to Edith M. Nesbit 1858-1924. Brass to Matilda Jamys, d.1499, and brass to William Gregory, d.1502 in nave. (J. Newman, Buildings of England Series, West Kent and the Weald, 1980). Listing NGR: TR0669627125 (11)

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

<2> Arch Cant 37 1925 204-6 plan illust (F C Elliston Erwood) (OS Card Reference). SKE35054.

<3> Arch Cant 42 1930 260-1 (Miss A Roper) (OS Card Reference). SKE35116.

<4> F1 ASP 15-MAR-63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42127.

<5> DOE (HHR) St Mary in the Marsh Shepway Dist Kent June 1956 16 (OS Card Reference). SKE40614.

<6> DOE (HHR) Dist of Shepway Kent April 1985 54-55 (OS Card Reference). SKE40353.

<7> The Buildings of England West Kent and the Weald 1980 503 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE50238.

<8> Field report for monument TR 02 NE 2 - March, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5034.

<9> Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown), 1994, St Mary in the Marsh, St Mary:Diocesan church survey (Unpublished document). SKE29498.

<10> Vernacular Architecture Group, ADS Dendrochronology Database, Vol. 41, Pg. 104 (Website). SKE17391.

<11> 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: Arch Cant 37 1925 204-6 plan illust (F C Elliston Erwood).
<3>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 42 1930 260-1 (Miss A Roper).
<4>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 15-MAR-63.
<5>OS Card Reference: DOE (HHR) St Mary in the Marsh Shepway Dist Kent June 1956 16.
<6>OS Card Reference: DOE (HHR) Dist of Shepway Kent April 1985 54-55.
<7>OS Card Reference: The Buildings of England West Kent and the Weald 1980 503 (J Newman).
<8>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 02 NE 2 - March, 1963.
<9>Unpublished document: Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown). 1994. St Mary in the Marsh, St Mary:Diocesan church survey.
<10>Website: Vernacular Architecture Group. ADS Dendrochronology Database. Vol. 41, Pg. 104.
<11>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #31823 Listed building, ]