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Christ Church

A Grade II Listed Building in Dartford, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4455 / 51°26'43"N

Longitude: 0.2021 / 0°12'7"E

OS Eastings: 553125

OS Northings: 174134

OS Grid: TQ531741

Mapcode National: GBR TN.MM4

Mapcode Global: VHHNT.GX5R

Entry Name: Christ Church

Listing Date: 25 September 1975

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1336346

English Heritage Legacy ID: 172110

Location: Dartford, Kent, DA1

County: Kent

District: Dartford

Town: Dartford

Electoral Ward/Division: West Hill

Built-Up Area: Bexley

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Dartford Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

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Description

741/1/25

DARTFORD
CROSS ROAD (south side)
Christ Church

25-SEP-75

II
Church, built in a residential area on the outskirts of Dartford. 1909 by Caröe in a free Byzantine style, completed (tower) in c.1960, parish rooms at east after 1960; west porch 1986.

MATERIALS: red brick with tile and toothed brick banding; tiled roofs.

EXTERIOR: four bay nave with clerestory, narrow aisles, north transept; west tower; original porch on north side between transept and aisle; west porch; parish rooms to east. Clerestory, brick bellcote. Buttressed nave with lancet windows under wide segmental arches and massive east end buttresses with decorated gables to the east. North and south sides decorated with carvings in roundels and lozenges. The north side (show front) has a tall two bay buttressed transept with two gables to the north and round-headed windows under wide segmental tiled arches; blind decoration and roundels in the gables. Flat-roofed buttressed aisle with parapet and small round-headed windows. Hipped roof porch with a studded door with curly strap hinges. The west bay of the south aisle is similar to the north but the remainder is wider and taller with triple windows and a blind canted east end. Chancel has lower roof than nave, chunky square on plan buttresses (one serves as a chimney stack) with brick decoration and blind arcading to the north and south walls; east window is a three-light triple lancet. The c.1960 tower has a saddleback roof and very tall west window divided into lights of plain glass and flanked by lean-tos with copper roofs. West porch. Gabled church room/vestry blocks attached to east and north east of the chancel.

INTERIOR: Plastered with tile and brick dressings and bands. Round-headed chancel arch to plain barrel-vaulted chancel. Sedilia of simple stepped seats in round-headed tiled recess. Flat nave ceiling divided into panels, the cross beams on corbels with capitals continued as a stone cornice, corbels supported on continuous stone piers that form clerestory recesses and the aisle bays. Narrow aisles of low round-headed arches, two aisle bays to each clerestory bay. The aisle arcade continues across the north transept, the east bay floored for the organ chamber. On the south side the arcade is doubled with tiled cross ribs into the south chapel with a low segmental tiled arch to the sanctuary. Marble font with a shallow round bowl on a shaped stem; timber drum pulpit on a stem with timber brackets. Elegantly simple bench ends to nave benches.

HISTORY: W.D Caröe was originally commissioned to build Christ Church in 1904. The design was at least in part based on the 6th century Church of St Appollinare in Classe, Ravenna. Caröe probably derived ideas for the plan form of the church as well as the decorative use of thin tiles and style of the nave arcades and chancel. When consecrated, in 1909, the church was incomplete with only three of the present four bays of the nave. An appeal, ten years later, for £10,000 to complete the church shows the three bays and north transept built, with the temporary west end propped. The church was never completed to Caröe's design with the most obvious departure being the west tower which was added in 1963 along with the final bay of the nave and the south chapel. The original design intended a tower at the east end of the nave with a gabled west end.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Grade II as a good example of a Caröe church of c.1909. The exterior, with c.1960 and later additions (not by Caröe) is less successful architecturally than the fine interior.

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