Upchurch, Kent
Sunday 13th November 2016

Welcome Nave Artefacts Good Bye Thank You Read Me

Upchurch Church

The parish church of St Mary's dates back to 1187, and was originally linked to the Abbey of Lisle Dieu, in Normandy. The Grade I listed church has an interesting "candle-snuffer" steeple with an octagonal pyramid surmounting a square one; the "candle-snuffer" construction suggests that the steeple may have been used as an easily recognisable landmark for ships on the Thames. Sir Francis Drake's father was "prayer-reader" to the Medway fleet and then became the church's vicar in 1560.

We approached on one side of the church, ... .

... but it was only at the entrance that its interesting steeple really became apparent.


We enter the church by the nave, with its interesting roof. We have come on time; the churchwarden has not yet locked up, and she leaves the lights on for us to enable us to appreciate the historical and artistic features of this church.

Point of entry is on one side of the nave ...

... with its interesting roof.


The church in Upchurch has some interesting artefacts, although the parish church in Newington definitely wins on the "artefact score". Amongst the items in Upchurch's church to catch our gaze is an almost obligatory "List of Benefactions to the Poor", as well as a monument, high up on the wall, to a particular John Peek Esq..

Benefactions to the poor are often stated in English parish churches: we saw a typical example in Newington, and here in Upchurch there is yet another example. The text reads as follows.




-------------- o --------------

Six shillings and eight pence out of the Parsonage
due at Michaelmas.

Ten shillings out of the field called High field
Otram [Otterham?] Farm due at Michaelmas.

Ten shillings worth of Bread out of the Farm
called Slains [?] Farm given on Maunday Thursday.

Two Acres of Woodland lying at Herst Wood,
which said piece of woodland has, with the
unanimous consent of a Vestry meeting been
EARL of THANET, for another piece of woodland
called Little Breachwood, containing two
Acres, two Roods, situated adjoining to and on
the west side of Breach Lane in this parish.


It is not clear who John Peek Esq. was, or indeed what his claim to fame may have been; however, in a church noticeably bereft of monuments, John Peek Esq. may have been someone of reasonably significant local importance.
Questions as to the age and cause of his demise went unanswered - at least by us.

A Stained Glass window depicting biblical scenes graces the altar.

Whether these two brasses of presumably a mediaeval gentleman and his better half were actually connected to the church and indeed to each other, is uncertain. However, they look nice. The light shining on the gentleman does not suggest in any way that he was more pious than his (presumed) wife. It merely indicates the reflection from the ambient lighting in the church!

Good Bye

It's time once again to take our leave of our short dip into local history. The homeward "leg" of our walk beckons, so that we can reach Newington "before candlelight".

Here's a last look at the "candle snuffer" tower, whose time-honoured clock clearly tells us that it's gone quarter past three. In an age of wrist watches, Android and iOS, church clocks are no longer as important as they once were, but still lend an air of importance to the village scene.

Our departure is framed by two trees
which have welcomed parishioners and church visitors alike in ages past.

Thank You

We visited this church on Fraser and Vera's enjoyable late autumn walk on 13th November, 2016. (I give the link in case you reached this page from other pages not directly connected with the this walk). Thank you, Fraser and Vera, and thank you to all on this walk for your enjoyable company.