St Mary, Burham, Kent - 13th September 2008

This ancient church remains consecrated but is no longer used for regular worship.  It was abandoned by the congregation in 1881 when a new church was built nearer the village.  That 'new' church has since been demolished and the ancient building was rescued during the 1950s by the Friends of Friendless Churches and is now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

The church has been given basic furnishings from other churches - a few pews, an altar and lecterns.  This makes the building 'feel' more like a church; however it is the interesting architecture that grabs the attention.  The basic structure of the nave is Norman.

St Mary, Burham, KentSt Mary, Burham, Kent

This view of the nave clearly shows the 13th century north and south arcade arches.  The original Norman windows are also clear to see; some remain blocked.    In addition, the base of the former rood stair case (built into the north wall where the white pews start) has been exposed, and in the right lighting conditions the outline of the place on the wall where it once emerged is visible.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

The arcades were demolished in antiquity, and the arcades filled in.  They are visible on the inside and outside of the building as this view of the north side clearly shows.  The flint and ragstone construction is also clear in this view.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

Here is a closer view of the same arches on the inside.  There are similar arches on either side of the chancel, so the aisles ran the full length of the building.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

The church contains two ancient fonts, the square one is the original.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

This second one comes from another church, which one?

St Mary, Burham, Kent

We visited the church to attend a concert organised by our friend John Vigar.  This meant that we had the opportunity to climb the tower, something not often possible.  Here photo of the dark, steep spiral staircase.  We arrived at the top festooned with cobwebs!

St Mary, Burham, Kent

Here is a view into the former bell chamber.  The bells were stolen during the building's 'unloved' years, the remains of one of the bell mounts hangs on the wall at the base of the tower.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

Here are some views from the top of the tower.  Looking east, over the church and west over the grave yard, which is still in use for burials.

St Mary, Burham, KentSt Mary, Burham, Kent

South down into the grave yard.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

These brilliant angels are perched on the poles supporting the altar back drop.

St Mary, Burham, KentSt Mary, Burham, KentSt Mary, Burham, KentSt Mary, Burham, Kent

The east end as the sun was going down.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

Here is a final view of the building from the south.  The three stage tower was added to the building in the 15th century.

St Mary, Burham, Kent

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