Dedicated to St Peter,
the church is situated just over the brow of the
Quarry Hills overlooking the Weald, as are the
neighbouring churches of Linton, Chart Sutton
and Sutton Valence.
St Peter's Church is a
Grade II* listed building.
It has been suggested
that such churches were built on the site of old
Roman temples which were placed in prominent
places. This idea could tie in with a more
feasible explanation of their position - that
they were adjacent to ancient trackways. It is
generally accepted that there was an old track
running along the crest of the hills, roughly
parallel to and between Heath Road and the
Church and there is a footpath that follows this
description contains information about the
Church building, the construction of the floors,
stonework and tower.
were extensively restored in the early 1990's.
The oldest of the 6 bells is over 400 years old,
and the history of each along with technical
details of each bell is included.
with spectacular views over The Weald, has much
of interest to offer. Tombs from the 17th
Century to the present day and a magnificent wisteria
that blooms in early June.
dates from the 15th Century and is Grade II*
Inside the Church, many memorials
can be found including a number of paintings.
A number of stained
glass windows, including
the unique Millenium
Window have been added over the period since the 19th
Century to the present day.
Floors beneath the pews
and choir stalls are of suspended timber
construction. The west end of the church, aisles
and porches are finished with clay tiles.
The stonework of the
walls of the church is of three types:
fragmented, rough hewn and dressed stone and
together with the windows, tell the story and
history of the building.
The tower is built
mainly of fragmented ragstone with some Caen
stone. The wall at the east end shows some
fragmentary and some rough hewn stone and it has
been suggested that some of the fragmentary from
the original sanctuary was used in the
The extensive 19th Century rebuilding can be
seen in the difference of the stonework of the
south wall, the last bay of the north wall, the
west wall and the surrounding stones of the main
arches and two west windows compared with the
first three bays and windows of the north aisle.
In 1988 The Whitechapel
Bell Foundry conducted a full inspection of the
bells, bell frame and tower. At the end of 1992,
when sufficient funds had been raised, the bells
were dismantled by members of the Kent
Association of Change Ringers and transported by
parishioners to the Foundry in London where the
recommended restoration was carried out.
This work included iron headstocks for the
Treble and 2nd bells, adjusting the notes and
principal partial tones of all six bells under
the tuning machine, turning the bells to present
an unworn surface to the clappers and drilling
the crowns for new supporting bolts.
New ringing fittings were also fitted for each
bell and a rope guide was fitted to steady the
ropes in the ringing chamber.
1992 saw the 400th anniversary of Bell No 3
which is listed for preservation by the Council
for The Care of Churches. This special
anniversary was utilised by the PCC in its
fundraising for the restoration.
The redundant elm headstocks were transformed by
Mr Roy Frankland, a member of the choir, into an
assortment of wooden crosses (necklaces,
brooches, ornaments) which were then sold for
church funds. He also made some altar
The bells were rehung at the end of December
1992 and ready for use again in January 1993.
This work was the last in a long list of major
restoration that had taken place during the
previous five years and in February 1993 the
Bishop of Dover, The Right Revd Richard
Liewellin, led a Thanksgiving and Dedication
service for all that had been achieved.
The hand chiming
apparatus situated behind the Curate's chair in
the tower was renovated in 1993 and a protective
wooden housing fitted.
The bells form a ring of
six as follows (weights given following the
restoration in 1992)
Wedds CW …1727 John Waylett London
Hatch made me JC.CW.1614"
Turner Church Warden made me 1693"
Knapp Rudstone Esquire 1592" It has
an ornamental border above the
inscription and between each word there
is a crowned rose.
||John Warner &
by John Warner and Sons, London, 1880
'Deum timette regem honorificate suseito
vos in commonitiono'"
||John Warner &
by John Warner and Sons London 1880. 'Dicit
Petro Dominus tu sequere me Deo gloria
et imperium in Saeculorum'"
The churchyard with its
position overlooking the Weald, is well worth a
visit with its panoramic view of the
countryside. Visitors can also see the deer
grazing in the extensive and beautiful park of
Boughton Monchelsea Place which is situated to
the north of the church.
If, after passing through the lychgate you climb
the steps on the left hand side you will find,
to the left of the notice board a very old
tombstone of 1634 with the following
Heer resteth the Bodie of John Al cock late
serva nt to John Aic horn, the elder esquire
deceas ed and to John Aichorn the you nger now
live ng 28 yeares and who died March AnoD 1634
To the left of this is the tomb of William Page,
Freemason - died June 7th 1672 aged 51 - and
Robert Page - died January 4th 1682 aged 63.
Close by (to the right of the notice board) is a
table tomb in memory of William Reiffgins who
died on November 20th 1613 (see note under North
Porch) SYMBOLS USED ON HEADSTONES REPRESENT THE
FOLLOWING Skull and crossed bones: mortality A
scythe: death (the reaper) Serpent with its tail
in its mouth: eternity sometimes within this
circle is an eye: the all-seeing eye of God)
Hour Glass: the sands of time are fast running
out A book and pea: the Recording Angel Inverted
torches: death, darkness and night Torches
pointed upwards: light and day
Proceeding further, in the north east corner of
the churchyard, behind three table tombs is a
square stone building with a domed roof, often
called the Rider Mausoleum. This is listed as a
building of historic interest. Mr LRA Grove, a
former Curator at Maidstone Museum, pointed out
that the shield over the door is not of the
Rider family but of Walker Head, who lived at
Wierton Place, Mr Grove provided the following
"The Baronetcy was created in 1676 and the
Head family came from Higham. near Rochester.
The Rev Sir John Head, Bart, Perpetual Curate of
Egerton, was born January 3rd 1773, succeeding
his father on November 21st 1796. He was Rector
of Rayleigh Essex and married Jane Walker on
October 8th 1801. Edmund Walker Head was born in
1805 and his sister Anne in 1807.
The Register shows that they were both baptised
in Boughton Monchelsea Church.
Edmund became the 8th Baronet on the death of
his father on January 4th 1838 and he married
Anne Maria, daughter of the Rev Philip Yorke (gi~andson
of the 1st Earl of Hardwick) on November 27th of
There was no surviving male offspring and the
baronetcy became extinct on Sir Edmund's death
on January 4th 1838.
A memorial tablet in Rochester Cathedral records
inter alia, that Sir Edmund Walker Head was
Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, 1848-54
and Governor of British North America 1854-61.
As to the shield itself, it is interesting to
note that the Boughton shield differs from that
at Rochester. Both have the arms of the Head
family on the dexter side, but the sinister
side, at Bougliton bear the Walker arms whereas
at Rochester they are those of Yorke. This would
seem to date the building of the Mausoleum as
prior to 1838 either by Sir Edmund or his
father. The motto in both cases is 'Study Quiet'
If you walk southwards from the Mausoleum you
will pass the line of "body" tombs
laid in line alongside the wall of the church.
Opposite these is a large tomb enclosed by
railings erected by Ann Cole in memory of her
husband John (died 9 October 1822), John's
father (died 21 John and Ann's August 1822). It
also bears the inscription "It is appointed
unto men once to die".
A little further on are two large headstones for
members of the Elliot family. That for Edward
Elliot, a mason - died 1786 aged 50 - has a
sculpture, still just visible, depicting a man
leaping out of his stone coffin at the sound of
the last trump. The Angel of Life is breaking a
dart or "sting" over his knee and
there is a broken scythe and a skeleton whose
crown has fallen off his head, symbolising the
conquering of death.
The other tomb is in memory of Edward Elliot
Senior, also a mason -died March 1st 1769 aged
80. This shows the Elliot Arms.
Moving round to the south side of the church,
adjacent to the wall, is a table tomb to the
memory of Sidrach Fowle, Freemason who died
A little further on is a headstone with the
following curious inscription:
"In memory of Sarah Tomkin who having been
blind for 12 years was restored to sight on
Ocule Sunday, Third Sunday in Lent, March 19th
Ocule or Oculi Sunday was an old name applied to
this day because the antiphon12 appointed for
this Sunday was "Mine eyes are ever to the
Lord" (Psalm 25).
Further to the east and down the slope, enclosed
by iron railings is the Joy family tomb. This
includes Thomas Joy (29.11.1784 - 24.1.1851) son
of Thomas and Mary Joy and who was Churchwarden
at the time of the fire in 1832 and father of
Musgrove (18 12- 1866) and Susanna (1813-1862).
Musgrove was the artist and donor of the oil
painting "Christ at Emmaus"
At the west end of the church, facing the wall
the fifth stone from the path is a now barely
decipherable "cherub" tombstone. It is
in memory of William Martin who died on July 4th
1754 and depicts a cherub, an hour glass,
crossed bones and a serpent with its tail in its
As you walk south to the lower churchyard you
will see on either side of the path two stones
in memory of casualties of the First World War.
On the left in memory of Stoker Petty Officer WL
Laight of HMS Spey who died on March 7th 1917;
the stone shows a foul anchor and a cross
On the right in memory of Private WF Russ who
died on January 14th 1918; the stone shows the
Regimental badge of the East Kent Regiment (The
Buffs) above and a cross below.
Further down on the right is the grave of
Richard Frank Jolly GC (awarded posthumously)
who was killed in action when commanding HMS
Mohawk, 16 October 1939.
These are only a few of the tombstones of
interest in the churchyard which contains many
types of headstone. Sadly some have weathered
badly and the inscriptions are barely
decipherable. However, thanks to the dedication
of members of Kent Family History Society the
church does now have a record of inscriptions of
all of the headstones in the churchyard.
In 1993 a faculty was granted so that the
kerbstones in the area of the churchyard
immediately surrounding the church could be
removed, mainly for ease of maintenance of the
Those kerbs bearing inscriptions were resited in
the north-east corner of the churchyard wall.
The following note about
the Wisteria was written by George A Brooker on
28 May 1953
"One day, in the early autumn of 1922, the
late Mr W Letham and I sat on the churchyard
wall discussing various ideas as to what could
be planted beside the south east corner of the
church, with a view to forming a train on the
church tower for summer time foliage and bloom
and which might in time be something to admire.
I eventually suggested a Wisteria and Mr Letham
promptly obtained an 18 inch (450mm) cutting
from Wierton Grange. In preparing the site I
discovered the area a foot (300mm) below the
surface to be full of stone slabs, probably old
headstones of years ago. I cracked and broke the
slabs sufficiently to prepare a bed, filled up
with good soil and planted the cutting. The
following spring it commenced to shoot and break
out, but it was three years before any growth of
wood was made. I then staked it and I believe
the same stake remains entwined in the tree at
the present time. The young tree continued to
thrive and grow and I trained it as far as the
bottom of the tower, but when Mr Letham gave up
his services as caretaker, his successor had
varying ideas to our original plans, hence it is
to be seen in its present form. It is glorious
and beautiful and I have always blessed the day
when the idea was born, for it has fulfilled our
The Wisteria now covers a trellis between
the vestry and chancel walls (the south east
corner of the church) and is marvellous when in
full bloom, usually around the second week in
Built in 1470 the
lychgate is one of the oldest in the country. It
is formed of three oak trussed frames, simply
finished with a straight pitched roof of plain
clay peg tiles and is listed as a Secular
Building Grade II*
"Lych" is the old Saxon word for
"corpse" and it was the custom for the
priest to conduct the first part of the funeral
service under its shelter.
In medieval times only the rich were buried in
coffins. For others, the corpse was brought and
placed on a stone or wooden table within the
gate, draped in a shroud.
Opposite the lychgate is the church mounting
block, dated 1717.
Chancel East Wall
The Reredos13 (behind
the altar) was given by Mr William Moore, iii
memory of his wife who died in 1882. The figures
are carved in alabaster but the remainder is in
stone. The inscription at the foot is
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried
An Ancient Aumbry can be seen on the right hand
side of the altar.
Sculptures of St Peter and the Blessed Virgin
Mary are situated either side of the east
Tower North Wall
Mounted on the wooden
housing for the hand chiming apparatus is a
brass plaque to the memory of Jackie Ralph
(1970-1992) and Peter Brown (1927-1992). Both
were bell ringers. Underneath this there is a
stone plaque to the memory of George Cyril
Sayers who was a member of the choir for more
than 50 years and who regularly sat in the
Curate's stall which is below the plaque.
Memorial tablet to
William Moore who died September 18th 1893 and
his wife Anne who died May 22nd 1882. Mr Moore
financed the restoration and enlargement of the
church in 1874. The tablet was designed by JN
The bronze sculpture depicting Christ's Head and
Hands was donated to the church in 1996 by the
sculptor, Barbie Plastow, wife of Sir David
It was cast at the Meridian Fine Arts Foundry,
Above the door on the
outside of the south porch is a sundial which
was formerly situated on the south side of the
tower. It was placed here at the restoration of
the church in 1874-1875.
In medieval times there
were a large number of images of saints in the
church and several bequests by parishioners for
maintaining the lights which burned before them.
In 1467 John Haselot gave 12 pence for the light
before the High Cross on the rood screen and in
1535 two ewe lambs for the lights of St Anthony
and St George. Among the 18 images listed, some
of the less known saints were St Erasmus, St
Osythe and King Henry.
Hanging above the vestry
door at the east end of the south aisle is the
oil painting "Christ At
donated to the church by the artist. Thomas Joy.
Formerly it was the reredos.
Further along the south wall a triptych entitled
"A Time For Dancing" is displayed on a
shelf when the church is in use. This etching by
Graham Clarke was presented to the church by the
artist in 1989.
At the far west end of the south wall beside the
font you will find a List of Incumbents in a
A printed and framed poem by Cyril Sayers
"An Eventide Poem" is to be found in
the south porch.
In the Tower, above the reliquary hangs a framed
list giving details of the bells.
The organ loft is one of
the few areas in the church which can be used
for storage so it is not easily accessible
On the left hand side of the archway to the
tower is a memorial to Thomas Rider, died 1783
and his sister Harriet Rider, died 1789.
Above the north-east door is a brass memorial
within a frame of rubbed stone to the memory of
Belknapp Rudston, died May 27th 1613. It reads:
"Within this lIe resteth the body of
Belknapp Rudston esquier sonne of Robert and
Anne his wife, who after 62 years passed in this
life with the deserved reputation of a wise and
religious man, on the 27th May 1613 delivered
upp his blessed soule, with much quietness and
confidence, into the hands of his gracious
Redeemer. Leaving to his friendes fair
testimonies of his love, to the poore of his
charities to the worlde of his virtue".
Just inside the organ loft on the north wall is
a tablet in three sections with Latin
inscriptions on black marble. At each end of the
tablet is a pilaster of brown marble with a
Corinthian Capital. The memorial was placed by
Belk Rudston in 1600 in memory of his parents
Robertus Rudston (who died in 1589) and his wife
Above the door is a
memorial to two benefactors, William Reiffgins
and Thomas Hulkes.
William Reiffgins, a native of High Germany who
died 20th November 1613. He gave the poor of
this parish an annuity of £4 for 34 years after
his death and £60 to purchase land, the rent of
which to be applied to the relief of such poor
widowers and widows as do not receive parochial
relief. The distribution to be made by the
Minister and Churchwardens.
Tradition says that he left his savings to the
poor of Boughton Monchelsea in gratitude for the
kindness he received when, as a beggar in his
youth he came to live in the village.
Thomas Hulkes, an Alderman of Rochester, gave by
will dated August 22nd 1805 the sum of £86 6s
8d (£86.37) 3% consols the interest of which to
be distributed in bread to the poor of the
parish not receiving parochial or other relief,
yearly on the Sunday preceding 22nd February.
Facing the north wall,
near the roof by the pulpit is a large white
tablet, with scarcely readable Latin
inscription, surmounted by two calcined busts.
This was the work of Nicholas Stone who was the
Statuary and Master Mason to James I and Charles
I. The receipt for payment of this monument is
in the Sir John Sloane museum.
It was erected in 1633 in memory of Elizabeth,
wife of Sir Francis Barnham. Elizabeth, who died
in 1631, was a sister of Henry, the 12th Lord
Dacre. Sir Francis died in 1640.
Chancel South Wall
Clement Archer, Lt Col
16th Regt of Light Dragons, died November 1817.
Marie Loiuse Leoni, died 1949, wife of Parker,
Captain, RN, also John Trevor Mauleverer Parker,
Flying Officer, RAFVR, killed in action,
September 10th 1940.
Brigadier-General Rodney Charles Style, died
October 30th 1957 and Helen Pauline Style died
April 26th 1975.
Gravestones can be seen in the floor of the
An Ancient sedilia and Ancient piscina can be
seen in the south wall.
Chancel North Wall
Richard Savage, died
January 11th 1792 and Margaret Savage died
December 10th 1780. This memorial is signed by
the artist, R Chambers.
Lt Col Maurice Charles Aifrey DSO killed in
action July 1st 1942.
Lt Col Charles Henry Balston died March 2nd
1957. Charles was a former Church Warden and the
memorial was erected by his wife.
Barnham Powell, eldest son of Sir Nathaniel
Powell, died October 16th 1695, and other
members of the family.
Lt Col George Bluett Winch died August 26th 1948
and Ethel May Winch, died January 29th 1953.
Lt Anthony Desmond Winch, Grenadier Guards.
Killed in action, January 24th 1945. The
sanctuary lamp was given by his parents in his
The large sculpture by
Belgian sculptor P Scheemakers is in memory of
Sir Christopher Powell and members of the
family. It is constructed of parian marble. This
memorial was moved from the chancel during the
19th Century restoration. Beneath the south
aisle window there is a brass memorial
indicating that the window was given by Sarah
Elizabeth Joy in 1876, to the the memory of her
parents and siblings.
All are by Hardman and
except two in the west wall of the north and
south aisles which were given by Mr William
Sanctuary and Chancel
East Window Geometrical
tracery; subject The "Te Deum"
North Wall Two trefoiled lancets, subject
"Angels ministering to Jesus in the
wilderness" and the
Sussex ironstone is used for these windows
South Wall Trefoiled lancet; subject "Women
at the empty tomb"
2 Light Tudor Window, four subjects "After
South Wall: A sculptured glass window (trefoiled
lancet) by Allen Hawes. It was the first
installed in any church and was given in memory
of Herman and Marguerite Kleinwort in 1942 by
their seven daughters.
Perpendicular tracery (Gothic revival) windows
dealing with the events of the life of St Peter,
the Patron Saint of the Church.
These three windows are not alike. The one
furthest east (nearest the vestry) is wider than
the other two, and the jambs are smooth as
against the others which are of rough stone
similar to the walls of the church. This window
is within 13cm of the same width as the window
almost directly opposite on the north wall of
In addition, on the outside, there are two
corbels to the arch of this window and not on
the others. An old picture of the church, before
the south aisle was built, shows a window (with
corbels) in what was the south wall of the nave
so it would seem that this was utilised in the
rebuilding. If this is so, then this most
easterly window is basically medieval and the
other two Victorian Gothic revival.
Perpendicular (Gothic Revival). Subjects:
"Baptism of Christ by John The
Baptist" "Baptism of the Ethiopian by
Philip" and "Suffer Little children to
come unto Me". Given by Sarah Elizabeth Joy
in 1876 in memory of her grandparents and other
members of the Joy family.
The middle window is of Perpendicular tracery
with five cinque-foiled lights (Victorian Gothic
revival). Subject "The Ascension".
North aisle: Square headed window of 15th
Century style in memory of a former Vicar, the
Revd WF Scott and his wife, subscribed by
parishioners (1928). Subject "A Light to
lighten the Gentiles". This window, other
than the glass, was transferred from the west
wall of the pre-restoration church.
All other windows in the
church are of plain glass except one on the
south side of the Tower, overlooking the vestry,
which has a small fragment of painted glass in
the apex, bearing the initials "HR".
Henry VIII became Supreme Head of the Church of
England in 1529 and he died in 1547 so it would
appear that it might have been between these
dates that the painted glass was incorporated.
This fragment is interesting in that it probably
means that the whole window had been painted and
that it was smashed in the wave of destruction
by Cromwell's troops.
Philpott, in his History of Kent (1659) states
that the church glass was destroyed during the
reign of Charles I or later. This would
therefore be a piece which was missed. On either
side of this window there is a corbel indicating
a previous opening in this position.