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Churches which still retain west gallery features or connections

Acrise, Dedicaion not known West gallery and family pews.
Ashford, St Mary A cruciform church with magnificent tower and two galleries constructed in 1616 and 1637.
Badlesmere, St Leonard A small church with twin east lancet windows (a local Kent feature), and with box-pews rising in level at the west end, a three-decker pulpit, choir stalls and Victorian oil-lamps. (CEPC)
Brenchley, All Saints Church mainly 13th C. and later, with hammer-beam roof in chancel and 16th C. carved screen. Linenfold panelling on front of west gallery. 
Brookland, St Augustine A long low 13th C. church with twin east gables. Detached timber bell tower with conical cap. King post roofs, box pews and clear glass. See below.
Chatham, St John the Divine Built to the designs of Robert Smirke in 1819-21, this is one of the last surviving 'Waterloo' churches.  Consists of chancel, north and south vestries, nave with north and south galleries, west entrance flanked by stair halls and west tower. It is listed Grade II*.  

The Church was For Sale in 2003/4.

Deal, St George Church 1715, built in the classical style; Nelson worshipped here, and William IV erected a tablet to his memory. Carved civic pew. (CEPC)
Deal, St Leonard Mediaeval church largely rebuilt in 1684 and enlarged in 1819. Gallery 1705, the gift of the pilots of Deal. "Looks earlier" (Pevsner)
"A charming Queen Anne gallery." (CEPC)
Dymchurch , St Peter & St Paul A predominantly Norman church, although much enlarged subsequently. Gallery probably about 1821.
Fairfield , St Thomas of Canterbury A tiny church somewhat resembling a barn, with brick walls and an interior of timber and plaster. It stands in the middle of a windswept field in Romney Marsh, surrounded by a ditch, and sometimes sheep. Basically 14th C, refashioned in the 18th C, and restored by Caroe in 1913, it retains its box-pews, three-decker pulpit, text-boards and altar-rails.
*Fordwich, St Mary Another small church of Norman origin, with a tall, narrow 13th C. tower arch. It still has box-pews and a Royal coat of arms dated 1688.

The ringers' gallery in the tower has late 17th C. turned balusters. 17th C and 18th C box-pews, including "the large south-west pew, traditionally known as the 'singers' pew'.  (Church Guidebook)

Gillingham, St Mary This church contains a three-sided gallery, dating from the 17th C.
Graveney, All Saints Chiefly 14th C., but originally Norman, the church contains box-pews, along with choir stalls, screens, sedillia, a Grinling Gibbons pulpit and brasses.
Hildenborough, St John the Evangelist A Gothic revival church said to be designed with an anti-tractarian interior . . .
Ightham, St Peter Mostly 14th C., but with box-pews from the 16th C.
Old Romney, St Clement The church is chiefly 13th C, but the interior contains a complete set of 18th C. fittings and a gallery of that time. The gallery is supported on four sturdy Doric columns.
Paddlesworth, Nr. Snodland, St Benedict

TQ684621 Near Pilgrim's Way, this church was built in the 11th century though some parts may even be older. It originally served a small village that surrounded it, but this was wiped out in the Black Death in 1349, and has been used as a barn for most of the time since then. It was restored in 1935 and is once again regarded as a church. It has the simplest of west galleries.


This picture is taken from
www.geograph.org.uk/photo/21542

© Copyright Hywel Williams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 


Under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. :-

On the Pilgrimís Way below the trees that crown the North Downs here, this tiny building is set nicely in a group with an 18th century red-brick farmhouse and its barns. For centuries the pilgrims must have passed the church on their way to the Medway crossing from Snodland to Burham, but in 1678 it was abandoned and for 250 years was unused for religious purposes. Some stone and flint work is possibly from the Saxon period but the two simple Norman cells of nave and chancel must surely give the feel of a village place of worship 900 years ago.

Rolvenden, St Mary the Virgin The gallery is circa 1825. "Of the decadent fittings deplored by 'The Ecclesiologist' nothing remains except the west gallery, seeming to cave in under the weight of the organ, and a family pew." (Pevsner)

The family pew is for the Gibbon family, they were cousins of the historian. The church, like others in Kent, has three eastward-facing gables.
Stelling, St Mary Contains box-pews and a pulpit of the 18th C. There is an unrestored 18th C. gallery in the aisle.
Trottiscliffe, St Barnabas The high-canopied and carved pulpit was removed from Westminster Abbey and installed here in 1824.
Tunbridge Wells, The Church of King Charles the Martyr The oldest church in the town erected 1676 and enlarged twenty years later. It possesses a beautiful moulded plaster ceiling, round-headed windows with clear glass, texts, galleries round three sides, and a three-decker pulpit with tester. Damaged by fire some five years ago. Current state??
Upper Hardes, St Peter & St Paul A small parish church rich in beautiful possessions, including mediaeval glass, roof timbers and a west gallery.
West Peckham, St Dunstan A remarkable Squire's pew.
   
   

Churches which are known to have had west gallery features or connections

Birchington, dedication not known West gallery was in situ by 1830, and was probably built in the 18th C.  It was removed in 1863. (Church Guide)
Brookland, St Augustine Wooden blocks remain at west end that supported pillars of gallery - perhaps built in 1740 when the box pews were added. It was removed in 1880. See above
Chiddingstone, St Mary In 1720 a carpenter called Chapman received £19 18s for building a west gallery.
Goudhurst, St Mary the Virgin In 1770 a west gallery was built for singers and instrumentalists. A flute, serpent and violoncellos are mentioned in19th C. accounts. Later, a "finger organ" was installed in the gallery. P resent organ was built in 1854 - date of removal of gallery?
Lenham, St Mary The west gallery was removed mid-19th C.
Pluckley, Dedication not known "The condition of the church fabric greatly perplexed me. It was extremely well kept, and so profusely painted and varnished that you could almost see your face reflected as you walked up the aisle - and yet the pews were so high and so ill assorted - and the reading desk and pulpit so inconveniently placed, and so ungainly in appearance, with a ponderous gallery overhanging the west end, that I longed to reconstruct the whole. 

But how was the consent of the parishioners to be obtained ? To appeal to their taste would have been absurd, to their pockets equally so - the people loved their church, gallery and all. The squire too could not bear the thought of seeing the dear old building turned inside out, but he and several others most kindly yielded to the prejudices of the new rector - so we reseated the church and much improved it ! The choir was my next difficulty. It was by no means a bad one. There were some beautiful voices both among the men and also the boys; but it had been a gallery choir and the singing uncongregational. This I was anxious to change; but how to effect so great a change without giving offence taxed all my powers. 

A peaceful solution was brought about. Lady Dering presented us with a very nice organ. I induced the parishioners to present an address of thanks. They would by this unconsciously bind themselves to its use instead of retaining the various instruments to which they had been so long accustomed. By this stratagem the matter peacefully righted itself." (Autobiography of Rev. Ashton Oxenden, rector 1848-69.)

St Nicholas-at-Wade, St Nicholas Had a "Psalmsingers' Gallery" of 1753 at west end.  "From here the singers accompanied by at least two oboes sung the metrical psalms Sunday by Sunday until 1868 by which time hymns had brightened up the rather unattractive repertoire [ !!! ] and a harmonium had replaced the oboes."     (Church Guidebook)
Sandwich, St Mary West gallery added in 1723 by 44 parishioners, who occupied it for services. Removed 1873-4.  
Smarden, St Michael ". . . during the Georgian era . . . the interior of this church, like that of many others, was subjected to acts of vandalism induced by ignorance and prejudice. A brick chancel arch was inserted, the roof timbers were hidden by a plaster ceiling, many features were walled in and a huge gallery was built at the west end of the nave, the rest of which was filled with high box pews. Happily, however, much of this misguided work was undone in the third quarter of the 19th century..." (Guidebook)

The guidebook states that the above is a "reproduction of the original text prepared by the late Mr. H. G. Askwith" - what date was this ?
Westerham, St Mary the Virgin A west gallery was built in 1704 and removed in 1882.
Wye, St Martin & St Gregory South and west galleries were removed 1878.
   
   
Asterisks denote churches in preparation

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