Church of All Saints, Barling Magna

Article by Richard Kirton

The Church of All Saints in Barling Magna is built of Kentish ragstone and is a fine example of Norman Church architecture. It comprises a Nave, a north Arcade, a Chancel with Vestry attached and a fortified Tower.
























The south wall of the 12th Century Chancel is buttressed between two windows each of two cinquefoiled lights with moulded four-centred arches and labels. An angled buttress supports the east and south walls of the Chancel which was extended in the 15th Century to form the existing Nave. The north Vestry and Tower were later added and the Chancel was partly rebuilt in the early part of the 16th Century. The North Aisle, Arcade and South Porch were added a little later and the Vestry was rebuilt in the19th Century. There are signs on the east face of the Tower that the existing red tiled roof above the Nave, was higher and steeper.

The parapet wall at the top of the Tower is crenelated and has a concave chamfered band at the bottom whilst the other two stages have sloping bands. The north, south and west faces of the Tower have 20th Century chamfered round headed windows. There is a flint flush work chequered band to the second stage of the West Face with a central cinquefoiled niche and two-centred arch. There are angled buttresses supporting the west facing corners of the tower and these are adorned with ornamental flint crosses high up. The Stair Turret in the north east corner has a flint flush work band below the second stage. The first stage west window has cinquefoiled lights with tracery over and a two-centred head and a moulded label. To left and right of this window are trefoiled two-centred arch niches each with a carved statue. The west Doorway has a moulded two-centred arch and label with a vertically boarded Plank and Muntin Door.

There is a Clock to west face of the Tower below the Bell Chamber. Each face of the Bell Chamber has a restored window with two trefoiled lights under a square head and moulded label.

The east wall window (circa 1500) has three cinquefoiled lights with segmental head and brick repairs over. The three windows on the north wall each have two cinquefoiled lights with segmental pointed heads and labels. The north Doorway has a moulded two-centred arch and label with head stops. The Door is made of ridged battens with fillets over joints.

Restorations made in the 19th Century and later include:

The upper part of the gabled South Porch is 16th/17th Century. The moulded timber square headed outer entrance has two bays with chamfered arched braces to chamfered and cambered tie beams with side seats.

The 19th Century South Doorway has a chamfered two-centred arch with foliate label stops. The rear Arch may be 12th Century. On the west of the South Porch are two windows of two cinquefoiled lights with cusped lights over, the one to the west being 14th Century, and the one to the east being 19th/20th Century.

The two-centred arch Doorway and vertically boarded Door on the south wall to the west of the buttress is 19th Century except for the rear splays.

Church Interior





















The Nave has a plastered four cant roof with a square red tiled floor. The south west window was glazed with Stained Glass in 1902. The octagonal 15th Century Font has a rude date, June 1585, cut upon it and has quatrefoils and shields to its panels with moulded pilasters to the stem and moulded bases.

The two-centred Tower Arch has two chamfered orders. The Bell Chamber formerly had three Bells. One went missing and another, which was dated 1666, cracked and was bound with an iron hoop concealing its maker although it is believed to be John Hodson. The third Bell is believed to be made by John Dier in the late 16th Century.

The Clock in the Tower was a gift from George Holmstead and his children in memory of a much loved wife and mother, Mary Ann Holmstead, who died on 31st March 1919, aged 78 years.

The North Arcade has four bays and the 15th century arches that divide the Arcade from the Nave are sustained on fluted octagonal columns, with moulded capitals.  A hanging framed Painting on the north wall of the Arcade portrays Christ carrying the Cross and the north doorway has a chamfered two-centred arch. The Rood Loft stairs on the north wall have an upper doorway with simple segmental head and lower doorway with chamfered pointed segmental head. The north Arcade has a plastered side purlin roof of seven bays and a red square-tiled floor. There is a Floor Slab at the western end of the north Aisle which is well worn and not readable.










The Chancel has a five cant roof and has two bays which are ribbed and boarded with bosses at the intersections with moulded and crenelated wall plates with shields of arms. A central moulded tie-beam on the wall posts is supported by corbels. A fine Victorian Eagle Lectern stands close to the Altar and is cast in solid brass and is particularly lifelike with good definition, its talons gripping a half orb on a sectional column plinth with a conical base with four lion paw feet. The eagle was the symbol used to depict John the Apostle, who’s writing most clearly witnesses the light and divinity of Christ. The eagle was believed to be the bird that flew highest in the sky and was therefore closest to heaven, and symbolized the carrying of the word of God to the four corners of the world.

There is no Chancel Arch but there is a red, blue and gold coloured marble pattern inlay to the Reredos behind the Altar and the wrought iron Altar Rails are scrolled with flowers. The Churchwarden's Wands are two oak staves, topped with brass ‘mitre’ and ‘crown’ emblems. These wands are used by the Wardens on special occasions. The mitre represents the vicar’s warden and the crown represents the people’s warden. A narrow vertically planked door leads to the north Vestry which has a moulded cast iron fire surround with a shell back.

The Organ, label reads “The Positive Organ Co. Ltd, Cassons”. During the last twenty years of the nineteenth century, two men appeared who did much for the British organ, though neither of them was an organ builder originally. Thomas Casson was a banker, and Robert Hope-Jones an electrician.

The east window of the Chancel was glazed with Stained Glass in the 19th Century. There is a Piscina on the south wall with a trefoiled two-centred arch and round drain. The window cill to one of the windows is low and has two defaced carved Figures on it.

The 17th century Pulpit is made of carved panelled oak and ornamented with flowers and foliage on an octagonal base.

The following Floor Slabs are visible in the Altar:

Sources

Personal visit by Richard Kirton on 12th February 2012.The upper part of the gabled South Porch is 16th/17th Century. The moulded timber square headed outer entrance has two bays with chamfered arched braces to chamfered and cambered tie beams with side seats.

The 19th Century South Doorway has a chamfered two-centred arch with foliate label stops. The rear Arch may be 12th Century. On the west of the South Porch are two windows of two cinquefoiled lights with cusped lights over, the one to the west being 14th Century, and the one to the east being 19th/20th Century.

The two-centred arch Doorway and vertically boarded Door on the south wall to the west of the buttress is 19th Century except for the rear splays.

Church of All Saints - Exterior Church of All Saints - Interior


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