St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005

This church is well known for its unique detached octagonal, conical bell tower which stands 75 feet high.  Until 1936 it was covered with black tarred weatherboarding.  The original structure, an open frame, was built in the 12th century to carry a large bell to warn of flood and invasion.  The framework was exposed for about 300 years, until the 15th century when the church bells were put into the frame and the shaped roof put on.  There are about 11,000 shingles and 35,000 bronze nails on the tower, which was re-shingled in 1990 owing to the damage caused in the storms of 1987-88.

One of the bells is of pre-reformation date, the fifth and the tower carries a weather vane fashioned as a dragon.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

The church is entered through a 14th century north porch which has unusual "stable doors" on the outer opening.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

The nave, which is mainly 13th century, and the aisles, probably 14th century, remain much as they were when built.   The nave arcades are not symmetrical, with six bays on the north and seven on the south.  In addition the arcades are leaning very noticeably, a long standing result of subsidence on the poor marsh soil.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

In the north aisle there is an early decorated east window of three lights, with remnants of 14th century painted glass in the upper sections.  The photograph has been electronically corrected for perspective distortion to enable the glass to be seen more clearly.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

At the east end of the north aisle stands the pipe organ, installed in 1969 and replacing the old organ formerly in the south aisle.  It was made by Messrs. Osmond & Co. at Taunton and cost 2000.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

During repairs to the south wall in 1969, fragments of a 13th century wall painting were discovered which depict the martyrdom of St Thomas of Canterbury.  The painting makes interesting comparison with the one at St Peter's Church, Preston in Brighton, East Sussex.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

The circular leaden font is the most important of the thirty remaining in this country.  It has been ascribed to Norman or Flemish craftsmen of the 12th century.  Its chief interest lies in the ornamental arcading, under which are the signs of the Zodiac and beneath the lower, the occupations of the months.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

Above the south door hang the Royal Arms of George II, dated 1739.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

Here is a view of the building from the south, with the large buttresses supporting the walls against subsidence.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

And here is a view of the east end.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

The final view is the "classic" view of the north side of the church and the belfry from the road.

St Augustine, Brookland, Romney Marsh, Kent - 21st July 2005 - MTC

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