Graveney Church, Kent

There has been a church here at Graveney since the early 9th Century. In 811 AD Canulph, King of Mercia took over the Kingdom of Kent and sold the manor of Graveney to Wilfrid, Archbishop of Canterbury. It seems that he is the likeliest founder for the earliest church here.

At the time of the Domesday Book the land here is tenanted by the “de Gravene” family which is likely where the village name derives.

The structure that survives today is no earlier than the mid-12th Century with the tower being added in the 14th. All was restructured by the Victorians around 1823 when the box pews were installed inside. The local parishioners hated them, saying they were uncomfortable, and moves were planned to take them away in the 1920s only to be scuppered by costs and so the pews remain – an unusual survivor.

Although there is nothing documented, it seems unlikely that Graveney Church was not involved in the rife smuggling activities that went on around Seasalter and Faversham. It stands in a spot so convenient as a drop off spot between landing cargo at Seasalter and stashing it at Faversham that it would be a shock for some activity not to have centred here.

The church stands on a high ridge overlooking the marshes north and west and is often open for tea and biscuits.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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