Our newest addition
This twelfth century Norman church would have been used in the Middle Ages as a chapelry serving the Templars, who had a Preceptory just to the north where some of their buildings survive and are cared for by English Heritage. The position of St Peter’s church and the huge fifteenth century tower with views across the Kent downs suggests that it may have been used as a watchtower. The north aisle of the church is a Victorian addition that re-used some original material.
The church was in a sad state of disrepair and £320,000 had to be raised by the local Friends group to repair walls and stone dressings, strengthen the roof, repair the doors and windows and lime-wash its interior. We provided the majority of the funds but are grateful to our partners' contributions - English Heritage, local grant giving trusts and the Friends group who raised money by organising fundraising events.
The current phase of work is not yet finished but the church should be accessible to visit from January 2012, when it will be open daily from 10am to 4pm. Phase Two of the work next spring will provide kitchen and toilet facilities, while the church will remain open to visitors.
Rebecca Rees, Director – South East says
“We’re delighted to be taking on St Peter’s church it is a perfect example of a Kentish parish church and tells many stories about local history. Working in partnership with the local community can bring great results”
The charity protects historic churches at risk and has saved over 340 buildings; with the addition of St Peter’s church, Swingfield CCT looks after 17 churches in Kent. All CCT churches are Grade II* or above and hold the key to much of our history; they are open and ready for visitors all year round.
St Peter’s Church will be open daily 10am – 4pm from January 2012 for visitors.