The Parish Church.

It is generally supposed that the old Church was built in the reign of Edward III, but it is known that a Church existed on the site before 1100 although no reference is made to a Church there in the Domesday Survey of 1086. The Church Register is among the oldest in the Country, dating back to 1538 when Parish Registers were first ordered to be kept.

On 23rd December 1790 the oak shingled spire of the old church was struck by lightning, and the spire and part of the church were destroyed by fire. In 1864 the main building was restored and enlarged.

The present church was rebuilt from its former structure in four main stages over a period of 18 years, and we are told that during the whole of the work not a single service had to be suspended.

In 1885 the Chancel and Vestry of the old building were demolished for the erection of part only of the new building, which included the North and South Transepts, part of the Nave, the Vestry, Organ Chamber, Chancel and Chapel. This first section was completed in 1886.

The second stage was carried out in 1887 when the remainder of the Nave, the North and South Aisles, the Porch and part of the Tower were added; and in 1890 the Choir Vestry was built. In 1902 a final effort was made to complete the church by finishing the Tower which was achieved the following year when the 8 bells were recast and re-hung, and dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Two additional bells were added in 1934, the gift of the Beckenham Branch of the Ancient Order of Foresters on the occasion of the celebration of the Centenary of the Society.

These brief notes are by no means a complete history of such an ancient church, but a look round the tablets inside, and the tombstones in the Churchyard, will recall the families who lived in the Village and whose members are laid to rest within the church precincts.

The Lych (or Lich) Gate is believed to date back to the 13th century and to be one of the oldest in the Country. It was restored after the first World War by the late Mr. T.W. Thornton in memory of two of his sons who died in that war. Bronze plaques on either side of the main cross beam record the history and restoration of this relic of the old Village days.


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