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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 72 NE 101
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1300 to 1957. Church 14th/15th century and later

Grid Reference:TQ 75596 29449
Map Sheet:TQ72NE

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1300 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1120819: CHURCH OF ST LAURENCE

Full description

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Description from record TQ 72 NE 13 :
[TQ 75592945] St Laurence's Church [NAT] (1) Hawkhurst Church (St. Lawrence). The chancel arcades are decorated and the aisle windows are late 14th century. The tower and nave aisle windows are Perpendicular. (2) Church of St. Laurence. Grade A. Chancel with North and South Chapels,Nave with Aisles, North and South Parvise Porches and West Tower. C14-C15. At present under restoration after bomb damage. (3) St Laurence's Church (all notices etc. give this spelling). In normal use. (4) Listed Grade I. (5) A watching brief during excavation of a water pipe trench involved the lifting of existing paving within the church, revealing brick and mortar rubble attributed to refurbishment in 1859. Within the churchyard parts of several graves and at least 2 brick burial vaults were exposed. The service trench was diverted and reduced as a result. (6)
The earliest apparent work which may be of the late 13th cent. is on the N.E. side of the church (ie. N. chapel area). The lower part of the E. wall of the N. chapel has two blocked rectangular windows in it, and the adjacent N. wall has a battered plinth. Three bays to the west (immediately west of N. turret) is rubble walling with a broken high stringcourse and an inserted 14th cent. window. Inside this wall is seen to be thicker than the neighbouring ones and has a high offset (to later parapet wall). Jeffreys (op. cit 243) records finding two ? earlier parallel walls 'along either side of the western half of the present nave. They were formed of concrete, and were as hard as adamant.' (? early Nave walls). In c 1360, the whole of the eastern half of the church was rebuilt externally with a magnificent late 'Decorated' large east window (+ blind window in gable above) and reticulated 4-light windows in the S. chapel and more 'Decorated windows in the N. chapel. The whole of the nave arcades (4 bays), the very tall chancel arch, and the west arches into the N + S chapels are also mid 14th century.

In the 15th century the outer walls of the nave were completely rebuilt with new windows and new almost flat roofs over them (the crenellated beams for them survive only in the N. aisle roof). At the same time a western tower was built and a north and south porch, both with spiral stairs in the west from the church up to first-floor chambers. The south porch also has a ribbed vault. A battlemented wall was built along the tops of the aisle walls (and on the tower) and this was continued along the top of the N + S chapel walls and around the east end to the central gable. The porch tops are also battlemented. The later walls have a plinth all the way round. There is a fine later 15th cent. font with an octagonal bowl with shields and roses.

Later in the 15th century, when the rood screen and loft were built, the walls on the north side of the chancel arch was cut through to connect the rood loft in all three aisles (these passages were reopened in 1859), and a stair-turret was built on the north to allow entry into the rood loft and to go up to the roof. Only the south porch turret continues to the roof. There is also part of an ? earlier spiral stair to the central rood loft in the north pier.

Late 15th/early 16th cent. wills indicate that the South chapel was the Lady Chapel while the north chapel was probably dedicated to St. Nicholas. There was also an altar of St. Stephen (? on the north).

In the early 16th century (and probably referred to in the will of 1513 - see below), the arcades to the north and south chapels from the main chancel were probably rebuilt with very flat four-centred arches.

There is a 17th cent. reredos.

In the 18th century, five galleries were put into the church for the expanding population of the parish (they were removed in 1859 and a new church of All Saints was built at Highgate). For entry into these galleries the existing stair-turrets were used but new doorways were cut directly into the porches and from the upper part of the south stair into the gallery through the upper aisle wall. A doorway also apparently led from the north porch chamber (parvise) into the gallery on that side (now only a niche). The south porch chamber (parvise) contains shelves and still houses parish records, a table, etc. It was used by the vicar in the 19th cent. for writing sermons, etc.

The first major restoration was in 1849 when R.C. Carpenter replaced the wooden mullions in the west window with perp. tracery. He also roofed over the late medieval vestry east of the east end and made a new doorway from it into the north chapel. He added two east facing buttresses above the vestry on either side of the great east window. In 1849 Jeffreys tells us that the chancel roof was shingled while the north side of the nave roof was tiled and the south side slated. A decade later it was all covered in slate, and these in turn were replaced in tiles in the 1950s restoration.

The second restoration by William Slater was in 1859. This saw the galleries removed and the roofs reslated (see above) as well as various other repairs. Much new stained glass by Clayton & Bell was put in but this was destroyed in 1944. (The late medieval glass, destroyed in the mid 17th cent.) is partly described by Kilburne. The 'Parclose screens' also date from this time and the boarded ceilings (the latter removed in the 1950s).

On 13th August 1944 a flying-bomb landed in the churchyard and blew out the south windows and badly damaged the roofs. These were completely replaced in the early 1950s, except the north aisle roof, and new tracery was made for the south aisle windows. (8)

The following text is from the original listed building designation:
TQ 7429-7529 (south side)
Church of St Laurence
Parish church. C14 and mid C15, restored and extended 1849 by R C Carpenter, 1853-9 by W Slater, and 1955-7. Squared sandstone with plain tiled roofs. Chancel with chapels, eastern sacristy, nave with aisles and north and south porches and western tower. Two stage tower with offset angle buttresses, string course and corbel table to battlements, and with south-eastern stair turret. clock faces to north and south, 2-light belfry openings and renewed west window over hollow moulded western doorway. Attached to south of tower a railed area with chest tomb. South aisle rebuilt C19, with plinth, offset buttresses, corbel table and Perpendicular style fenestration. Fine south porch, with wood and iron twist railed gates, with wave-moulded outer doorway, hollow chamfered inner doorway, vaulted ceiling and stair-vice. South chapel roof stepped down, with plinth, buttresses, corbel table and battlements, restored Perpendicular
windows, blocked southern door, and restored Reticulated east window. Very fine chancel east window of 2 paired lights and centre single to ogee head with centre enclosing sexfoil, with cusped cinquefoil gable light and cross finial. Projecting low sacristy. North chapel with earlier rubble walling to base, with segmentally headed decorated windows and added battlements separated by octa-gonal stair-vice from conventionally Perpendicular north aisle, with north porch with roll and hollow moulded doorways and hollow chamfered door to newel stair to upper floor. Interior: tall tower arch on octagonal responds with chamfered arch and double hollow chamfered surround. Four bay arcades, with double cham-fered arches on octagonal piers with moulded capitals and bases. Renewed truss rafter roof. South aisle with moulded cross-beamed roof, eastern window reveal taken down to floor level, hollow chamfered south door (besides porch entry) and double wave-moulded arch on octagonal responds to south chapel. North aisle
with similar arch to north chapel, crenellated cross-beam roof, hollow chamfered rood-stair doors, and eastern window bay reveal brought to ground level. Very high double roll-moulded chancel arch, restored. Chancel with 2 bay arcades, with rounded double chamfered arches on octagonal piers. Trussed rafter roof. Cross-beamed roofs to chapels. Fittings: Early C17 reredos, panelled with strapwork frieze cornice and enriched fluted pilasters. C19 wood twisted balu-ster altar rail with enriched moulded rail, and parclose screens, choir stalls etc all c.1859. South chapel with 3-bay Perpendicular style screen erected 1922 as World War I monument, and iron scrolled lectern, and early C20 panelled rere-dos south chapel with shelved trefoil headed piscina. Nave with wooden pulpit, with polygonal base, branching stem and polygonal arcaded side panels with intricate wrought iron panelled balustrade. Octagonal Perpendicular font with
shields and roses, with wooden font cover of 1960. Aumbry in north aisle. Monuments: brasses, John Roberts of Elfords, d.1495, with Alice plus 12 children with 18 inch figures; Richard and Margaret Boys, 1572 and 1606, Marie Boys, 1602, Richard Austen, 1610 and Elizabeth Reynolds, with John Avelyn, gent on reverse, 1612, all simple brass inscription plates. Fine series of ledger tablets in north chapel with one to Richard Kilburn, Kentish Historian, in Latin
(d.1678). Cross fashioned out of wooden propellor as memorial to Captain Alwyne Lloyd, d.1917 (Royal Flying Corps). Four standards. South chapel with wall plaques to Samual Boys, d.1753, a simple aedicule with arms over. Nathanial Lardner, DD, 1768, oval, with sunburst and gospel of St James over, shield and palm fronds below (erected 1789). Identical pedimented plaques in south aisle to Jesse (d.1824) and Catherine (d.1819) Gregory. Royal Arms of 1917, contem-porary window glass. Tower with large benefaction boards, mid to late C18. Crudely executed C17 wooden relief of Last Supper, and a copy of Sarto's Holy Trinity ...... on the walls (see BOE Kent, I, 1980, 315-6).
Listing NGR: TQ7559529452 (9)

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

<2> Kent 1935 181-2 (JC Cox) (OS Card Reference). SKE45673.

<3> DOE (HHR) Hawkhurst Tunbridge Wells Dist Kent Nov 1960 60 (OS Card Reference). SKE40568.

<4> F1 ASP 4.2.63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42367.

<5> Field report for monument TQ 72 NE 13 - February, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE3700.

<6> DNH List 22-Jun-1989 p.169 (OS Card Reference). SKE39777.

<7> CAT Annual Review, 1993-4. (OS Card Reference). SKE38717.

<8> Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown), 1992, Church Report - St. Lawrence Church (Unpublished document). SKE7560.

<9> 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 181-2 (JC Cox).
<3>OS Card Reference: DOE (HHR) Hawkhurst Tunbridge Wells Dist Kent Nov 1960 60.
<4>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 4.2.63.
<5>XYBibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 72 NE 13 - February, 1963. [Mapped feature: #38395 church, ]
<6>OS Card Reference: DNH List 22-Jun-1989 p.169.
<7>OS Card Reference: CAT Annual Review, 1993-4..
<8>Unpublished document: Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown). 1992. Church Report - St. Lawrence Church.
<9>Map: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.