St Margaret's church, Bethersden :: Shared Description
Grade I listed.
14th and 15th century builds mainly of Kentish ragstone which has weathered badly. Much of the stonework was heavily restored with Bath stone in 1873.
The Tower was built around 1420, and commands a good view of the countryside. There are six bells. The nave has north and south aisles.
The church reached its present width by about 1360, but the upper part of the walls were rebuilt when the perpendicular windows were inserted.
The chancel is 15th century and the floor was originally level the nave floor but was raised in this century. Like many churches there was originally a rood screen which was later removed.
The North Chapel belonged to the owners of Frid manor. It is now occupied by the organ. The South Chapel was built in 1460 for William Lovelace who died in 1459 and was buried in the chancel. His brass is now on the wall of the North aisle. There is also a brass to Thomas Lovelace (1591). The Lovelace family are Bethersden's most famous family. They prospered in the 14th and 15th centuries in industry and commerce in London. In Elizabeth I reign the head of the Bethersden branch was William Lovelace Sgt at Law, who bought the site of GreyFriars, Canterbury. His grandson was Richard Lovelace the poet.
At the west end of the churchyard are unusual burial vaults called "Oven Vaults". (Others can be seen in Smarden and Tenterden). The Bethersden vaults were constructed in 1796 for the Jackson Wilmott and Witherden families. It is said the vaults contain funeral helmets.
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Created: Mon, 14 May 2012, Updated: Mon, 14 May 2012
The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2012 Julian P Guffogg, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.