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Monument details

HER Number:TR 13 SW 67
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1067 to 1880. Late C11th and later

Grid Reference:TR 11975 34658
Map Sheet:TR13SW

Monument Types

  • MINSTER (CHURCH, Early Medieval or Anglo-Saxon - 600 AD to 700 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1067 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1101780: CHURCH OF ST STEPHEN

Full description

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Description from record TR 13 SW 3 :
[TR 11973466] St. Stephens' Church [NAT] (1) The Church of St. Stephen, Lympne, Norman and later, was greatly restored in 1878-80. (2) In normal use. (3) St. Stephen's Church. Built of Ragstone. There is a Norman central tower, but no transepts, just a N. aisle built in the 13th century and extended past the tower. Nave and aisle. A pedantic restoration by St. Aubyn in 1878-1880. The chancel is Early English, sizeable but quite plain and needing no more said than that there are along the N. and S. walls continuous stone benches. The question to be asked is: what was the original shape of the Norman church? At first one assumes that the tower was built to separate nave and chancel, as it does now. Its E. and W. arches are Norman. Enriched abaci. Head of the W. arch later rebuilt pointed. Why then has the west wall of the tower blank arcading of three sunk arches, like that on the S. wall?. Because, as Canon Livett pointed out, it was built, in the late 11th century, as a W. tower. The stumps of walling at its N.E. and S.E. corners belonged to the Early Norman nave, not to the chancel. The original E. end was excavated by Livett beyond the present E. wall. In the 12th century the tower became central when a nave was built W. of it. (4) Parish Church of St. Stephen, Grade I, Castle Close. Late 11th century, 12th century, 13th century and 14th century. Restored circa 1859. Further restoration 1878-80 by St. Aubyn. (For full description see list.) (5) It appears that when the church was first built, the tower was a W. tower, and had no buildings abutting on its W. face. The later Norman nave was added to this early Norman tower some 50-60 years after the church was built, and there was the opening out of two tower arches toallow communication between the new nave and the old one. The old one then became the chancel. Despite the fact that a small-scale excavation was carried out with a trench being dug along the E. end, it was not possible to determine whether the original chancel was destroyed or retained. Further work to the chancel, nave and N. chapel, and to a narrow N. aisle since disappeared, took place c. 1200. The destruction of this narrow aisle took place in the 14th century, the aisle widened by extending the western side-wall of the chapel. (6) Above the existing tower-arch there are three Norman arches (a fact disputed by (6) who does not believe that the Norman roof would be much lower than the present one). The E. arch appears to be original, but the W. arch was probably altered when the N. aisle was added after A.D. 1180. Around this time, the north chancel was also built. The present chancel was built at two different periods in the 13th century, and suggests that the Norman chancel was then entirely destroyed (as opposed to the view held by (6)). (7) Lympne church was visited by members of the Royal Archaeological Institute on 29th July 1896 and by members of the British Archaeological Institute on 22nd August 1883. (8,9) Additional bibliography - not consulted. (10)

A watching brief during the installation of new services found the possible line of a previous chancel that stood to the east of the current building, and a possible foundation stone to the north of the building. (12)

The following text is from the original listed building designation:

6/11 Church of St. Stephen 29.2.66 GV I
Parish church. Late C11, C12, C13 and C14, restored circa 1859. Further restoration 1878-80 by St. Aubyn. Small blocks uncoursed ragstone, with Caen-stone, tufa and ragstone dressings. Plain tile roofs. Late Cll tower, formerly with nave to east. Nave added to west in early-to-mid C12, and rebuilt or altered in C13. Former nave rebuilt, as chancel, in C13. North aisle to nave C13, possibly rebuilt in C14. North chapel to tower, now continuous with aisle, C13. C14 north porch. Nave: west gable end rebuilt circa 1859 with smell chimney stack, lancet, and pointed- arched west doorway. South elevation: two buttresses and three C19 lancets. Tower: 4 stages, with clasping buttresses. Stumps of C11 nave walls to east. Plain stone-coped and slightly cambered parapet. Two broad C19 lancets to each face of belfry. Blank arcading to base of south side of second stage. One blocked round-headed window to base of east side of third stage. Two conjoined restored lancets to south side of bottom stage. Chancel: two south buttresses and vestigial north buttress. Three restored lancets to each face, those to east with bulls- eye window above. Rainwater head dated 1872. North chapel and north aisle: gabled. Two tall, narrow east lancets. Five north lancets of uneven size. One C19 west lancet. North porch: Stone, with vestigial plinth. Small rectangular hollow-chamfered window to each side. C19 moulded bargeboards. Partly renewed pointed-arched hollow-chamfered north doorway. Narrow pointed-arched inner doorway with slightly rounded jambs. Boarded inner door studded AGCW Interior: Structure: two-bay C13 arcade to nave of 1708 lightly-chamfered pointed arches springing from chamfered imposts. Rectangular plain-chamfered piers with bar stops. Tower arches to west and east with enriched early-to-mid C12 imposts. East arch round-headed. West arch chamfered and pointed, rebuilt above imposts in C13. North tower arch similar to north arcade of nave. Blank arcading above west tower arch at base of second stage, visible from nave, and one blocked round-headed window above north tower arch. Broad,chamfered pointed-arched recess to each side of east tower arch, on west side of wall. Roof: continuous crown-post roof to north aisle and chapel with moulded octagonal crown- posts, hollow-chamfered tie-beams and pendant posts, and short solid- spandrel braces. Ashlar-pieces. C19 roof to nave and chancel. Fittings: plain-chamfered pointed-arched stoup with bar stop towards east end of south wall of chancel. Rectangular late C12 or early C13 font with shallow panelled bowl bearing defaced figures;, set on C20 shafts. Continuous stone benches to north and south walls of chancel. Monuments: low C17 stone chest tomb against south wall of chancel, with chamfered base and lid, chest carved with arcaded panels in low relief; defaced back panel with triangular head. Cusped C14 tomb recess in north wall of north aisle. (J. Newman, B.O.E. Series, West Kent and the Weald, 1980. G.M. Livett, Lympne Church, Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. XLIII, 1931).
Listing NGR: TR1192934655 (13)

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

<2> Kent 1935 213 (JC Cox) (OS Card Reference). SKE45676.

<3> F1 CFW 10-DEC-62 (OS Card Reference). SKE42511.

<4> Buildings of England West Kent and the Weald 1980 393 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE38423.

<5> DOE(HHR) District of Shepway 15 May 1986 9 (OS Card Reference). SKE41151.

<6> Arch Cant 43 1931 221-239 (GM Livett) (OS Card Reference). SKE35120.

<7> Arch Cant 18 1889 (WA Scott Robertson) (OS Card Reference). SKE34766.

<8> Arch J 53 1896 387 (OS Card Reference). SKE36652.

<9> JBAA 40 1884 233-234 (OS Card Reference). SKE44971.

<10> Country Life 28 682 (OS Card Reference). SKE39421.

<11> Field report for monument TR 13 SW 3 - December, 1962 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5379.

<12> Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 2009, St Stephen's Church, Castle Close, Lympne: Archaeological Watching Brief (Unpublished document). SKE16567.

<13> 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: Kent 1935 213 (JC Cox).
<3>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 10-DEC-62.
<4>OS Card Reference: Buildings of England West Kent and the Weald 1980 393 (J Newman).
<5>OS Card Reference: DOE(HHR) District of Shepway 15 May 1986 9.
<6>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 43 1931 221-239 (GM Livett).
<7>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 18 1889 (WA Scott Robertson).
<8>OS Card Reference: Arch J 53 1896 387.
<9>OS Card Reference: JBAA 40 1884 233-234.
<10>OS Card Reference: Country Life 28 682.
<11>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 13 SW 3 - December, 1962.
<12>Unpublished document: Canterbury Archaeological Trust. 2009. St Stephen's Church, Castle Close, Lympne: Archaeological Watching Brief.
<13>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #32154 Church, ]