St Augustine, Brookland

St Augustine Church Photographed by Emma Batten
St Augustine Church

St Augustine's church at Brookland was built c1260 to replace an open framed structure built in the 12th century.

St Augustine's is best known for its odd, detached bell tower, made entirely from wood, sitting alongside. The tower is octagonal and has a conical roof of three diminishing flounces. It was built separately from the church because it was felt that the marshy ground could not take the weight of both the church building and its six bells.

The bell tower is believed to have been changed from a square to an octagonal plan in 1450 when it was also clad for the first time. The cedar cladding we see today dates from 1936. More about the bell tower

The nave and chancel here flow seamlessly one to the other without any chancel arch. The chancel is c13 Early English, although the east window is a c16 replacement. It would be fair to say that throughout this church the windows are models of plain and restrained functionality and to the eye are in keeping with the somewhat austere feel of the main body of this church. Elaborate window tracery and stained glass would have changed this church very much for the worse, In my view. The nave is also c13, although the aisle arcades are probably c14. The arcades are oddly - and surely unnecessarily, asymmetrical with seven arches on one side and six on the other. On both sides, the aisles lean alarmingly due to long-standing problems with uneven settlement of the subsoil Apparently. the south aisle already leans beyond its point of theoretical collapse - and the church is still subsiding!

The church possesses an excellent font made around 1200. It is circular and made of lead. There are two courses of decoration: the upper course shows the signs of the zodiac, and on the lower course the agricultural labours appropriate to each month of the year are depicted. On an arch above each labour, the month, in early French, is shown.

On the east end of the south wall of the south chapel is the surviving part of a painting depicting the martyrdom of Thomas Becket in 1170; this was discovered in 1964 and is thought to have been painted in the second half of the 13th century.

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Inside of St Augustine

Inside St Augustine

St Augustine's Lead Font
St Augustine's Lead Font

St Augustine Brookland
St Augustine Church