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Christ Church herne Bay Parish Church

A Grade II Listed Building in Herne Bay, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3704 / 51°22'13"N

Longitude: 1.1288 / 1°7'43"E

OS Eastings: 617873

OS Northings: 168133

OS Grid: TR178681

Mapcode National: GBR TX5.45L

Mapcode Global: VHLG2.JT39

Plus Code: 9F3394CH+5G

Entry Name: Christ Church herne Bay Parish Church

Listing Date: 14 May 1976

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1336851

English Heritage Legacy ID: 170770

Location: Canterbury, Kent, CT6

County: Kent

Electoral Ward/Division: Heron

Built-Up Area: Herne Bay

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

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Herne Bay


(East side)
(East side)

DATES OF MAIN PHASES, NAME OF ARCHITECT: 1834-5 probably by A B Clayton. 1867-8 chancel and transepts added, W end altered, and base of a projected (but uncompleted) NE tower built and now forming the clergy vestry: architects George and Vaughan. 1878 lobbies removed from beneath the gallery and W end reconstructed with a narthex with N and S entrances; nave reseated (architect said by Newman to be Thomas Blashill but he is only mentioned in the detailed history of the church as the designer in 1886 of another unrealised tower). 1897 clergy vestry built. 1974 church centre at E end when the N and S vestibules were removed from the W end and a new W entrance created.

MATERIALS: Stock brick with a little red-brick and stone polychromy in the 1860s parts. Slate roofs.

PLAN: Nave, W porch, chancel, N and S transepts, SE organ chamber, NE vestries, parish centre to E, crypt.

EXTERIOR: The nave represents the original building, a wide, utilitarian structure with tall windows with plain Y-tracery. At the W end, dating from 1878, there is a central gable with a pair of tall, narrow lancet windows to each side of which is a further lancet at a lower level. In the centre is the remnant of the W narthex under a lean-to roof, the vestibules to the N and S having been taken down. The transepts have large, bold wheel windows with twelve spoked divisions. The chancel, lower than the nave, has a five-light window with plate tracery. The E end of the church, now fronting directly on to Underdown Road, is comprised of a long, single-storey parish centre of 1974.

INTERIOR: The interior is plastered apart from the arches over the transepts, chancel entrance and its flanking openings. These are of stock brick with red-brick polychrome details. The nave is wide and is covered by a plain tie-beam roof with queen-posts and struts. The chancel has arch-braced roofs

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The most important item is the W gallery which dates from the original building. A fairly extensive amount of 1878 pewing remains: the shaped ends have brass umbrella holders affixed to them. Over the chancel arch is a painted band with a text of the kind popular in mid-Victorian churches but now quite rare. The font and pulpit are conventional Gothic Revival pieces and date from the C19 and early C20 respectively: the tester came from St Peter, Canterbury, in 1931. Many of the principal windows are embellished with stained glass.

HISTORY: The church seems to have been built by John Brough, a local inhabitant and opened between June 1834 and June 1835. In 1837 it was purchased by a Thomas Wilson and an effort made to unite all parties of worshippers by the partial use of the liturgy of the Church of England. This did not succeed fully and Wilson resold the building to some members of the Anglican Church in 1839. It was consecrated on 13 October by Archbishop Howley.

The subsequent structural evolution of the building has been outlined in `Dates of Main Phases'. This followed the customary Victorian course of building a structurally distinct chancel and refurnishing the building with open seats in contemporary style.

Architects: Alfred Bower Clayton (1795-1855): the attribution to Clayton as the 1830s architect is due to the fact that he is known to have exhibited a design for a church at Herne Bay in 1834 (Colvin). He spent time in the office of D R Roper and then assisted George Smith, notably on the latter's Greek Revival London Corn Exchange (1827-8). In 1837 he moved to Manchester. The architects for the 1867-8 work were the London-based (later Sir) Ernest George (1839-1922) and his partner between 1861 and 1871, Thomas Vaughan (1836-74). George went on to a very distinguished career in secular architecture and was knighted in 1911. Thomas Blashill (1830-1905) was a London-based architect. He became superintending architect to the Metropolitan Board of Works, 1887-99.

`T A B', The Parish Church (Christ Church), Herne Bay, Kent, 1980, 15pp (draws extensively on a history of the church in the Herne Bay Press, 12 February 1887).
Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 6589.
John Newman, The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent, 1983, p 349.
Howard Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 1995, p. 252.
Antonia Brodie et al., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, vol 1, 2001, pp 200-1, 715; vol 2, 2001, pp 864-5.

Christ Church, Herne Bay, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is a plain, late Georgian building in origin which was extended and restored in the later C19 and which retains some of its C19 furnishings.
* It plays a prominent visual role in this late Georgian seaside resort.

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