St Laurence, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004

The church was extensively damaged during World War II by a German flying bomb which fell in the south east churchyard.  Restoration work took 13 years and included replacement of the central roof, rebuilding of the south arcade and south wall, much new tracery and all new glass.  Owing to the number of lovely stained glass windows in this church, their photographs are shown on a separate page.

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

The oldest part of the building is the Chancel and North Chapel.  There the lower masonry is of rough, unsquared stone with slender foundations.  These walls were originally lower and had smaller windows that at present.  The original height is still shown by the remains of an ancient stringing course just above the low window on the north wall, outside.  Probably the original church stood on the site of the present chancel and north chapel, ending a little to the west of the present chancel arch. 

Here are two pictures of the nave, the first looking east from the west gallery, the second looking west from the chancel showing the font with its towering cover (a gift of a parishioner in 1962). The font dates from about 1450 and is decorated with shields and roses.  The gallery was added in 1994 and the round table on the gallery is made from the sounding board of the old pulpit.

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTCSt Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

In the 14th century considerable additions and alterations were made in Transitional style.  The east window, three north windows of the north chapel, and the easternmost window of the south chapel have been dated to this period, 1350 - 1360.  About 1450 the nave was lengthened and raised, the Perpendicular aisles, North and South Porches and Tower were added together with the squared stone parapets leaving the building much as we see it today.

This nice carving of the last supper hangs on the north wall.

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

Click on this image of a fragment of 15th century glass to see the rest of the glass in this church.

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

These are the royal arms of Elizabeth II. 1957.

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

Here is the pipe organ (the organist has to sit in a narrow dark cave behind the choir screen!).

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

The porches on both the north and the south have rooms above them and were built in about 1450.  The south is more elaborate and has this lovely vaulted ceiling.  The room above the north porch was used in medieval times by Custos of Battle Abbey to receive his rents.

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

The final view is of the church from the north.  I couldn't get quite far enough away to get the whole of this large building in frame - the sun was in the wrong place!  The tower is 23 metres high and contains eight bells and a sanctus bell, known locally as the "Clink".

St Laurence Parish Church, Hawkhurst, Kent - 11th November 2004 - MTC

The Kent Archaeological Society has an interesting early picture of this church, here.

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