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Church of St Catherine

A Grade II* Listed Building in Faversham, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3103 / 51°18'37"N

Longitude: 0.8924 / 0°53'32"E

OS Eastings: 601682

OS Northings: 160768

OS Grid: TR016607

Mapcode National: GBR SW3.Y57

Mapcode Global: VHKJW.FB3D

Plus Code: 9F328V6R+4W

Entry Name: Church of St Catherine

Listing Date: 29 July 1950

Last Amended: 10 December 2010

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1115766

English Heritage Legacy ID: 175973

Location: Faversham, Swale, Kent, ME13

County: Kent

District: Swale

Civil Parish: Faversham

Built-Up Area: Faversham

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Tagged with: Church building

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St Catherine's Church
TR 0160 12/142 29.7.5O.

The church has pre-Conquest origins, but only loose fragments of Anglo-Saxon sculpture survive. By the C12 it had a S aisle. The SE tower is C13. The chancel was rebuilt in the late C13 and remodelled c.1320. There was some further work in the later middle ages, including widening the S aisle. The church was greatly altered in the mid C19. The S arcade was rebuilt in 1853-5 to designs by R C Hussey, replacing the earlier arcade. The N arcade, aisle and porch were added in 1867. The chancel E window, designed by G Austin and said to have been intended for Canterbury Cathedral, was inserted in 1854, and the spire is also mid C19. The church was refurnished in the mid C20.

MATERIALS: Flint with stone dressings. Tiled roofs.

PLAN: Chancel, nave with N and S aisles, SE tower over E bay of S aisle with rounded E stair turret, N porch.

EXTERIOR: The exterior was very heavily reworked in the C19, and the N aisle and N porch are entirely C19. The chancel E window has Geometric style tracery and was inserted in 1854. The chancel N and S walls have C13 lancets, mostly renewed in the C19, and there is also a renewed C14 window with flowing tracery in the western part of the chancel S wall. The S aisle has a low pitched roof, with S windows of two cusped lights and a late Perpendicular W window of three ogee lights in a square frame. Perpendicular style nave W window and the C15 W door retains much original masonry. The C19 N aisle has lancets. The C13 SE tower is of four stages, and has a broach spire added in the C19. The half round E stair turret is also a C19 addition. C19 N and S porches in a simple late C13 style with continuously moulded outer openings with hood moulds.

INTERIOR: The chancel is the best preserved and most significant part of the building. The lancet windows have shafted rere-arches, a continuous hood mould with headstops and a moulded string below. Very fine early C14 sedilia in the S wall, probably related to the insertion of the early C14 window above it and to the ogee headed tomb recess in the N wall. The C19 E window also has a shafted rere-arch and hood mould with head stops. Tall late C13 chancel arch with head corbels. There is a rood stair door in the S side of the chancel arch. The C19 N and S nave arcades are late C13 in style, and have chamfered arches on round piers with moulded capitals. There is a blocked, possibly C13 window in the W wall of the S aisle, probably relating to an earlier, narrower aisle. The base of the SE tower is enclosed and has a door with continuous mouldings to the nave. Organ gallery over W end of nave.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The church has a number of good fittings, both medieval and modern. Unusually elaborate piscina and sedilia of c.1300-20 in the chancel. The piscina has an ogee trefoil opening with foliage on the extrados and a foliate finial. Harshly restored in 1877, the sedilia has a vaulted canopy on shafts with foliate capitals and high, polygonal bases. The gabled and trefoiled arches have been restored without ogees. Fine, unrestored carved heads peep through trefoils in the gables, and there are further carved heads within the vaulting. The back has Westminster-style diaper with traces of original colour. There are some medieval tiles with geometric patterns in the chancel. Probably C15 ogee piscina in S aisle. Late C15 or C16 choir stalls with poppyheads, shaped ends and an embattled top rail. The desk on the N side has much graffiti, including several late C16 dates. There is a fine set of fittings of 1947 by Martin Travers, including the excellent hanging rood, high altar, reredos, statue of the Virgin and bishop's chair.

The S aisle roof is late medieval and has a panelled canopy of honour over the E bay.

One window with some fine C13 grisaille glass, said to be Belgian, in the chancel N wall. Chancel S windows by Clayton and Bell, 1879.

Good monuments, notably a large and fine alabaster monument for Roger Boyle, d. 1576 and his wife Joan, d. 1586, of Preston, erected in 1629 by their son, Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork and made by James White. Life-size reclining figures on a tomb chest, surrounded by kneeling figures of their children, that of the Earl also life sized. Several brasses, including Valentine and Cecilia Baret, d.1440 and 1442; William Mareys, d.1459, very complete in superb armour with surrounding inscription tags, and a female figure for Bennet Finch, d. 1612 with an additional wall monument for her and her husband d. 1615. Chancel N wall, early C14 ogee tomb recess. Some good ledger slabs in the floor, including Charles Hulse, d.1678 with a coat of arms.

A loose fragment of Anglo-Saxon interlace ornament probably came from a cross.

HISTORY: A church at Preston is mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was held by Canterbury Cathedral. No trace of this church survives, although the 'thick arches' in the S aisle removed by R C Hussey in 1853-5 are suggestive of pre-Norman work. The chancel was rebuilt in the later C13 and was refitted with the fine sedilia and piscina in the early years of the C14. The ogee tomb recess is probably connected with this work, and may have been for the patron. The S aisle was widened C14 or C15 and retains its late medieval low-pitched roof. The very harsh restorations of the C19, which saw the complete demolition and replacement of much medieval fabric. Carried out during the incumbency of James Peto, vicar 1837-78, this was typical of early Victoria restoration, which often preferred new, medieval-style work to the real thing. The Travers fittings were a memorial to John Hankins Martin, vicar 1912-38.

Pevsner, N, Buildings of England: North-East and East Kent (1977), 313-4
Taylor, M, Guide to St Catherines (sic) Church. 1991, rev 2002
Mattieson, O, 'The stalls of St Catherine's church at Preston', Archaeologia Cantiana, 77 (1962), 77-81

The Church of St Catherine, Preston-next-Faversham is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Parish church with fine C13 chancel, nave arcades rebuilt in the mid C19.
* Outstanding early C14 piscina and sedilia, heavily restored.
* Late medieval choir stalls.
* Excellent monuments including the Boyle tomb and good brasses.
* Very good mid C20 furnishings by Martin Travers.

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