Sunday, 15 September 2013

Chapel in the Ferns.

It seems very obvious now that I know, but the name Capel-le-Ferne comes for this tiny, isolated church, the Chapel amongst the ferns. St Marys now sits on the downs among the sheep fields.

This north naive wall of this Norman church dates back to c. 1100, and it is possible that the core of the walls of the naive and the chancel date back to the original Norman Church.

The Church is approached from a track off of Capel Street which eventually leads to Alkham. Then through a  Lytch gate, given to the church by Captain and Mrs Alfred Morris to celebrate their wedding in 1894. There are other "Morris" connections, see later, but although my Fathers family lived in east Kent, at Ramsgate, during his childhood, I don't believe there is any family connection.

The church is no longer in use, but it is looked after by the "Churches Conservation Trust", detailed on the plaque outside the door.
 During the first half of the 12 Century, when Norman architecture was changing to Early English Gothic style, the western tower was built including the west doorway.

The Church is entered but the south doorway and porch probably added in the 13th century. There is now a note on the door, asking you to make sure you close it when you leave, to prevent sheep entering the building. This probably dates to the 21 century!

The triple chancel arch, serving also as a stone screen, and the window high in the north naive that lights to Rood in the loft, were added in the 14th century.

 I was intrigued by this plaque, commemorating John Morris (same name as my father), who financed the reatoration of the roof.

 Above, a prominent plaque to General Sir Charles Staveley. listing the battles at which he fought. There is another near by to commemorate his wife, Susan.

 One of the Stained glass windows mediaeval knights, and despite the unfortunate hand position on the right hand pane it is a striking window, although comparitively modern.

I Liked to heading of Loyalty, Faith, Hope and Courage.

Stained glass window from the south isde of the nave.

The roofs of the nave and chancel are of 14th century open timber construction. Some of  the roof beams have been renewed There was a major renovation of the church in the period 1866-1890, much of it paid for by the Morris family, noted above.

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