Friday, 18 January 2008

St Peter's Church, Church Whitfield.

Once again the inclement weather prevented me from birding, but on the way back from Homebase (the modern equivalent of a church?) I stopped at St Peter's in Church Whitfield. I've featured a lot about Churches, but if the "Devil" has the best tunes then "God" has the most interesting buildings.

According to "The Kent Village Book" by Alan Bignell there has been a church here for many centuries. "In AD 772, King Offa of Mercia (who held sway over Kent at that time) gave part of the area to St Augustine's at Canterbury and there was a church here St Peter's in about 1070. The present building still has two of the original Saxon windows. The church has never had a tower and the single bell has been housed in successive wooden bellcotes. The present bell is said to be the oldest in Kent, dating from the early 13th century and possibly a little earlier.
At the entrance there is an interesting lytch gate. They were originally designed to protect the coffin and its pallbearers from the weather while they waited for a priest to attend them. Nowadays it often serves a far more picturesque purpose acting as an attractive and historic backdrop for wedding photographs. The lytch gate has an inscription to Edward Worsfold Mowll, who established the firm of Solicitors in Dover that still bears his name.

Any one interested in the history of East Kent will find a huge amount to investigate in this churchyard.
Had I mentioned its been wet! On the way back I passed a partly flooded field on the way into St Margaret's that had at least 250 Common Gulls feeding on it, but there was too much traffic to stop and scan for anything more interesting (which there probably wasn't!).

1 comment:

paultheviola said...

Hi there

St Peter's holds special memories for me as I went there alot with my grandparents on sunny afternoons in school holidays!
They are both buried there now... it has the unusual distinction of being location close to a pig farm, if I recall correctly! :)