Lenham Church, Kent

A church seems to have existed here since the Saxon period and it was rebuilt in stone soon after the Normans arrived. Oddly enough the church seems to have been the victim of a deliberate attack of arson in 1297 and all that survives today is a piece of wall in the Chapel of St. Edmund and the north-east corner of the nave.

In 1298 Archbishop Winchelsea came to Lenham to excommunicate the arsonist(s) ‘in absentia’.

Rebuilding work began early in the 14th Century and the vast majority of what stands today is from this period with a few Victorian embellishments.

Inside stands on of the few stone altars to have survived in Kent – most were replaced with wooden communion tables in the 16th Century. This one avoided this fate because it had been buried in the Chancel floor and was not discovered until early in the 20th Century when it was re-erected.

The rest of the interior features some particularly fine Elizabethan carving, including the pulpit and box pews which somehow survived the usual Victorian bench replacements.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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