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Church of St Mary the Virgin

A Grade II Listed Building in Herne Bay, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3683 / 51°22'5"N

Longitude: 1.1768 / 1°10'36"E

OS Eastings: 621224

OS Northings: 168040

OS Grid: TR212680

Mapcode National: GBR VYK.4BR

Mapcode Global: VHLG3.CV0Y

Plus Code: 9F33959G+8P

Entry Name: Church of St Mary the Virgin

Listing Date: 14 May 1975

Last Amended: 14 May 1976

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1318906

English Heritage Legacy ID: 170745

Location: Canterbury, Kent, CT6

County: Kent

District: Canterbury

Town: Canterbury

Electoral Ward/Division: Reculver

Built-Up Area: Herne Bay

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

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RECULVER LANE (south side)
Church of St Mary the Virgin



1877-8 by Joseph Clarke. Choir vestry 1963.

MATERIALS: Knapped flint-faced with limestone dressings. Red clay tiled roof.

PLAN: Nave, chancel, south west porch, north vestry/organ chamber, south vestry.

EXTERIOR: The church is built in the style of 13th century Early English architecture whence the single lancet windows that predominate in the fenestration, and the two-light Geometrical windows which light the east bay of the nave. The east wall has a pair of lancets with an uncusped circular window above them. The nave and chancel are placed under a continuous ridge: the chancel is slightly narrower than the nave. The south doorway is a 13th century one reused from the ancient church at Reculver and has a multi-moulded arch and keeled nook-shafts with simple foliage capitals. At the west end there is a gabled bellcote with single bell. A slender buttress extends up the W wall to the level of the bellcote. On the north side the organ chamber/vestry is under a catslide roof. On the south a flat-roofed vestry was added in the 1960s and has a pair of three-light mullioned windows in its south wall. There is a small south west porch.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened. A few stones from the ancient church of Reculver have been reused, for example at the junction of the nave and chancel. There is no arch between the nave and chancel, the distinction between the two marked by the slight narrowing of the chancel and a change in roof type. The nave has tie beams with crown posts, the chancel a seven-sided roof divided into square panels.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The plain octagonal medieval font is said to have come from the lost chapel of All saints in Thanet. The church is seated with pews with rounded shaped ends and has choir stalls with open frontals. Some 17th century memorial slabs from the old church are set into the floor. The organ, by F.H Browne of Canterbury, was installed in 1955 with a case designed by Caröe and Partners. There is stained glass in a number of windows dating from the early 20th century.

HISTORY: In one of the great tragedies of English architectural history the ancient, Saxon church at Reculver, much of it dating from the 7th century, was mostly demolished in 1809 in the belief that it was at imminent risk from the encroaching sea (but shortly afterwards it was safeguarded by the addition of sea defences). It was replaced by a new building a mile further inland which incorporated stonework from the old church. The new church was consecrated on 13 April 1813. This in turn was replaced by the present, smaller structure in the 1870s (consecrated 12 June 1878) designed by the diocesan surveyor, Joseph Clarke (1819 or 1820-1888). Clarke was a London-based architect whose practice was very largely concerned with church-building and restoration. He was diocesan surveyor to both Canterbury and Rochester and, from 1877, the newly-created diocese of St Albans. These posts helped bring in numerous commissions in these three dioceses but he also gained jobs over a much wider geographical area and examples of his work can be found in most parts of England. He was consultant architect to the Charity Commissioners.

John Newman, The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent, 1983, p 431.
Harold Gough, The Parish of Reculver [guidebook], 1995.
www.stmaryreculver.co.uk/page18.html. (Accessed June 2009)

The church of St Mary, Reculver is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special interest as a Gothic Revival church in the Early English style dating from the 1870s by a well-known church architect.
* It retains some stonework brought from the largely demolished medieval church at Reculver and a medieval font resited from elsewhere.

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