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Church of St George

A Grade II Listed Building in Sevenoaks Weald, Kent

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Latitude: 51.2408 / 51°14'26"N

Longitude: 0.189 / 0°11'20"E

OS Eastings: 552900

OS Northings: 151348

OS Grid: TQ529513

Mapcode National: GBR MNJ.0MG

Mapcode Global: VHHPZ.729M

Plus Code: 9F3265RQ+8J

Entry Name: Church of St George

Listing Date: 10 September 1954

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1243722

English Heritage Legacy ID: 447463

Location: Sevenoaks Weald, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Sevenoaks Weald

Built-Up Area: Sevenoaks Weald

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Weald St George

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

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771/46/1116 GLEBE ROAD
(West side)

DATES OF MAIN PHASES, NAME OF ARCHITECT: 1820, original architect unknown. Chancel added 1872 by T G Jackson. Extension to N 2008-9.

MATERIALS: Ragstone with dressings of limestone (nave) and sandstone (chancel). Extension to N has rendered walls. Slate roofs.

PLAN: Nave, chancel, SE porch, W tower, N vestry/organ chamber, extension N of nave.

EXTERIOR: The 1820 church consists of a four-bay nave with a tower to its W end. The latter is of two stages, the lower having large diagonal buttresses and, in the W face, a pointed doorway with a large two-light Perpendicular window above. The belfry stage has one-light pointed and cusped openings to the E and W faces. The nave windows are of two-lights, each filled with cusped Y-tracery. Buttresses with offsets mark out the bays. At the SE end of the nave there is a porch. The chancel, slightly lower than the nave, has windows which, John Newman notes, are copied from medieval examples at Chartham. The E window is of four lights with a series of cusped trefoil and quatrefoil elements in the head. The C21 extension runs the length of the nave and is to a simple, modern design. There is a transeptal projection at its E end and a large lean-to roof (with three sky-lights) covering the rest. The fenestration consists of plain square and rectangular openings.

INTERIOR: The walls of the church are plastered and whitened. The most striking feature is the plaster ceiling from the 1820 phase. It is keel-shaped and rises from just below the springing level of the window arches heads. This means that the windows themselves cut into the ceiling and they are thus covered by triangular-shaped penetrations into the roof zone. The ceiling is divided up into large panels by thin ribs. Over the chancel the roof presents a major contrast with that in the nave, it being five-sided, divided into square panels and decorated with wreathed Chi-Ro and IHC emblems. The chancel arch has trefoil responds and is part of the 1872 work.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The church contains a number of items of interest. From the 1820 phase there is a W gallery, set on thin wooden posts and canted forward in the centre. The seating too appears to date from 1820 although it seems to have been extensively rearranged in Victorian times. Most of the ends are decorated with pretty Gothic detailing. The E end has Victorian work of some elaboration. Apart from the ceiling paintings noted above, there is a reredos which has five panels of mosaic by T Gambier Parry and depicts the Crucifixion in the centre flanked by Biblical scenes. Either side are two paintings, one of the Nativity, the other of the Marys at the Tomb, and which are perhaps executed on canvas, and nailed to the walls. The stained glass in the W window (1872) and N window (1874) is by Powell and Sons to designs by Jackson although now it is in poor condition. A brass band across the E wall is in memory of K D Hodgson whose death in 1879 seems rather late to explain any of the decorations, apart, perhaps, from the applied paintings. The organ has decorated pipes. The SE window has a drop-sill sedilia. The altar rail and stalls are conventional pieces. At the W end the octagonal font has quatrefoil detailing on the bowl.

HISTORY: The church was built in 1820 as a chapel of ease, and much work survives from that time. A difficult item to explain is a copy of a painting of the original church at the W end of the building. This shows the nave as it is today but there is no W tower visible. Although the nave and tower are usually stated to be of 1820 it is possible that the tower followed on a little after the nave as it is hard to explain the lack of a tower as an artist¿s omission. The church gained parish status in 1894. The modern extension contains kitchen and meeting rooms.

The designer of the chancel, Thomas Graham Jackson (1835-1924), was a leading architect of the late C19 and early C20. He was articled to George Gilbert Scott from 1858 and began in independent practice in 1862. He is best known for his secular work and in particular his extensive commissions within the University of Oxford. He was also a considerable scholar and wrote several books on historic architecture. He was created a baronet in 1913.

John Newman, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald, 1969, p 497-8.

The church of St George, Sevenoaks is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is a two-phase C19 building and shows a marked contrast between the late Georgian and the mid-Victorian work.
* The plaster ceiling of the nave, W gallery and nave seating are all of interest as survivals from the late Georgian period.
* The Victorian work is notable for the decoration of the roof, reredos and W walls.

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