Kent Archaeological Review extract
 

The Original Church of All Saints,
Murston, Near Sittingbourne, Kent.
by Robert Baxter, R H Rees, and Esme M Grisdale.

Since the work involved in this project was completed, renovation of the existing structure has commenced under the auspices of the Kent Archaeological Society Churches Committee in association with the Swale and North Downs Society and the Friends of Friendless Churches. It is intended that the building be used as a meeting hall for local Scout troops.

The few existing remains of the original Church of All Saints at Murston are steadily decaying, and the Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeological Research Group considered it worthwhile to attempt to make a record of the remains before all was lost forever.

The church stood to the North-West of the intersection of Church Road and Gas Road in Murston, (NGR TQ 921 648) about 2.5 kilometres from the A2 Sittingbourne to Faversham road, and about 0.5 kilometre to the East of Milton Creek.

Although not mentioned in the Domesday survey, the church is featured in a survey for taxation purposes carried out in 1291. See footnote [1] In 1578 the church served 42 communicants and Hasted mentions See footnote [2] that the church was "a large building, of three aisles and three chancels, having a square tower, with a wooden turret, in which are three bells". An impression of how the church stood in 1803 is given in two anonymous See footnote [3] drawings (Figures 1 & 2). The predominant style was transitional Norman with two sets of two pillars on each side of the nave.

See Footnote [1]

See Footnote [2]

See Footnote [3]

In 1873 the church was almost entirely demolished See footnote [4] leaving only a fragment of the central chancel (or in one opinion See footnote [5] the South chapel) to serve as a mortuary. Several photographs of the church exterior and interior were taken just prior to demolition. See footnote [6] Several pieces, including the brass of J Eveas (1488), the pillars, the "15th century" screen and several corbels, were removed to the new church when it was built nearer to the London-Canterbury road (presumably to follow the shift of population from the creekside towards the road). The surviving flint-built fragment is in an advanced state of decay (Figures 3 & 4) but the perpendicular style East window (Figure 4) and West doorway are still to be seen, as is a small window in the South wall. The structure stands in a recently built encircling wall which encloses a grassed graveyard (Figure 5). Several of the ledger-stones in the floor of the chapel and many of the gravestones have legible inscriptions. These are listed opposite.

See Footnote [4]

See Footnote [5]

See Footnote [6]

REFERENCES:

Footnote 1.

Hussey, A H Notes on the Churches in the Counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. J. Russell Smith, London, 1852. Return to the paragraph.

Footnote 2.

Hasted, E The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. vi Canterbury, 1797. Return to the paragraph.

Footnote 3.

Brain Collection, Kent Archaeological Society Library, Maidstone Museum 1803. Return to the paragraph.

Footnote 4.

Grayling, F Counts' Churches of Kent ii, London 1913, pages 50-51. Return to the paragraph.

Footnote 5.

Newman, J The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent. Penguin Books, 1969 page 384. Return to the paragraph.

Footnote 6.

Original Drawings, Engravings and Photographs presented to the Kent Archaeological Society, KAS Library, Maidstone Museum, 1873. Return to the paragraph.

Ledger-stone inscriptions.

  1. Memoriae sacrum. Hic facet Johanes Plummer de Murston gens qui obyt 14 et Sepult 18 die Marty ano salutis 1679, aetatis 23. Vixi peccavi poenitui naturae cessi. Sub hoc tumulo etiam facet Anna filia Johanis et Franciscae Plumer quae obyt 14 et Sepult 18 die Augusti ano salutis 1680, aetatis 2. Hoc monumentum posuit chanssima (?) defuncti mater Anna Henman vidua.
  2. Here lyeth interred the body of John Yonge sonn of Henry Yonge of West Dreher in the county of Dorsett and nephew to ye Reverend Mr Robert Yonge formerly rector of this parish who departed this life the 16th day of November in ye yeare of Our Lord 1688, and of his age 45.
  3. Here lyeth interred ye body of Israel Spencer of this parish who departed this life May ye 20th 1720. Aged 32 years left issue one daugher and ... Also here lyeth one son and daughter Israel (Anna) Spencer Jeffery dyed.
  4. In curam hujusce paraeciae pastoralem patris sui viri pii et venerabilis, cui supervixit annos plus tredecim, baud degener successor, Egerton Leigh, patronus et rector. Longo et gravi corporis delore fractus fiducia tamen in Deum inconcufsa sustentatus. Morte placida quievit. Anno Christi 1788, aetatis 53.
  5. Underneath this marble are deposited the remains of the Revd. John Hargrave Stan(den), Rector of this parish who departed this life the 30th of November 1801 in the 44th year of his age.
  6. .. Henry son of William and Mary Denne who died the 13th of November 1811 aged 10 years.
  7. To the memory of Elizabeth wife of the Reverend John Poore, DD who died the 20th of February 1838, aged 64 years. The Reverend John Poore DD 52 years rector of this parish died 5th April 1866, aged 88 years.
  8. (Illegible except for the name Clark).

Gravestone inscriptions.

Arranged in order of earliest date mentioned, if legible.

  1. In memory of Mary Ann wife of John W . . . of this parish, yeoman, who departed this life on December 7th . . . John and Ann of this parish. Yeoman. Thomas T ... 1761 ... 1702 William departed this life .. 10 ..
  2. In memory of John Gull, yeoman of this parish who died the 6th Nov. 1718 aged 31 years. Also 3 sons and 2 daughters .... daughters.
  3. In memory of John Wilc .. who died in .. 0 1755 aged 45 years. Also his wife, died Mar. 13,1712, aged 33 years.
  4. (Here) lieth the body of James Horner, m. Oct. 24th 174 .. aged 31 years (Here) lieth the body of Elizabeth his wife, died August 7th 1741, aged 31 years.
  5. Memory of . . . wife of J ... of this parish, who departed this life the 21 of October 1810 aged 42 years . . . . . the right hand sons of the above B ned wi ... d 17 August 1801, aged 2 years. S ... and died I . . . 1805.
  6. Lemmey, yeoman, d. this life September 1828 aged 65 years. a widow, sons and 2 daughters viz. Thomas, John, George, Mary Ann and Sarah .. also Sarah, s wife of the above John Prall Lemmey who departed this life 6th of December 1830 aged ... years.
  7. ... memory of Elizabeth wife of James Cooper who died 25th January 1837 aged 62 years. Also the above James Cooper who died 19th June 1856, aged 73 years.
  8. Sacred to the memory of Sarah daughter of John Prall and Sarah Lemmy of this parish who departed this life the 2nd of February 1840 aged 39 years.
  9. (Sacred) to the memory of Thomas White son of Thomas and Sarah White of East Hall in this parish who was drowned in the Atlantic Ocean off Oporto, July 11 1844. Aged 22 years.
  10. Sacred to the memory of George Monk Tracy, MD of this parish who died September 29 1845 aged 66 years 6 months. With patience to the .. e did submit and . . . ur'd not at ... e Lord thought fit but ... a Christian o ... did resign his soul to god at his apointed time."
  11. Beneath this stone rest the mortal remains of Marianne, the beloved wife of the Rev D W S Brewer, MA, curate of this parish. She died Dec.r. 5th 1853, in her 27th year.
  12. In memory of Seath White son of Thomas and Harriet White of East Hall in this parish died March 23 1864 aged 27 years. In memory of Charles John White son of Thomas and Harriet White of East Hall in this parish died June 9th 1871 aged 37 years.
  13. Mary Simeons died July 2nd 1863 aged 89 years. "Where I am there also shall my servant be."
  14. In affectionate remembrance of Fanny the beloved wife of Henry Sidders who died at Murston March 10th 1865 aged 28 years. 'So He giveth His beloved sleep". Also Maria wife of John Sidders who died at Murston, April 7th 1876 aged 93 years "They were lovely and pleasant in their lives and in death they were not divided"
  15. In memory of Henry William, the fourth son of William and Eliza .. a .. enter departed t . . . In memory of Sarah Eliza first daughter of George and Tamer Carpenter, of Sittingbourne, who departed this life the 14th of Nov. 1871, aged four and a half years "When children die in their infancy, they are just like flowers newly blown. God that sent them only lent them. He takes them all back as his own".
  16. Sacred to the memory of Henry Putland who departed this life August 28th, 1873 aged 73 years. Also Mary wife of the above died September 23rd 1884 aged 81 years "Be ye also ready".
  17. In memory of William Carpenter, died October 24th 1879 aged 63 years .. a.d and warm and sincere friends. Eliza Carpenter died November 2 1878 aged 61 . . "Not gone from memory. Not alone from love. But gone to her Savior's home above".
  18. Ar .. of .. ed the 29th of December 2 years and 6 months Allso Sta. Tyson of 19th of September aged 6 years . ey who died the 17th of May 1889 aged 6 years and 5 months daughters of the above.
  19. Died at Ui . . . . ah . . . aby Elizabeth Standen aged 67 years. For 30 years a faithful servant of this Rev .. Poor and rector of this parish who had er ... to u ... her memory. (no dates legible).
  20. No inscriptions discernible.
  21. No inscriptions discernible.
  22. No inscriptions discernible.
DRAWING: The Church of All Saints, Murston, 1803, viewed from the North-West.

Figure 1. The Church of All Saints, Murston, 1803, viewed from the North-West (drawn by P.Vujakovic, from an engraving).

DRAWING: Figure 2. The Church of All Saints, Murston, 1803, viewed from South-East.

Figure 2. The Church of All Saints, Murston, 1803, viewed from South-East. (drawn by P.Vujakovic, from an engraving).

PHOTO: Figure 3. Surviving portion of All Saints, Murston, showing West door. viewed from South-West.

Figure 3. Surviving portion of All Saints, Murston, showing West door. viewed from South-West. (photo: R H Rees).

PHOTO: Figure 4. Surviving portion of All Saints, Murston , viewed from North-East.

Figure 4. Surviving portion of All Saints, Murston , viewed from North-East. (photo: P Cox).

PLAN: Figure 5. Plan of All Saints Church, Murston, showing the surviving structure, the outline of the original church (conjectured from pictorial evidence), the surrounding wall and existing graves and ledgerstones.

Figure 5. Plan of All Saints Church, Murston, showing the surviving structure, the outline of the original church (conjectured from pictorial evidence), the surrounding wall and existing graves and ledgerstones.

Acknowledgements.

Thanks are extended to the Rev A Luman for access to the site, to Mr D S Cousins, DMA, ALA for his help in locating references, and to Mr D B. Kelly, BA, AMA for assistance in finding pictorial records and to the members of the Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeological Research Group who took part in the project.

 
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