Outside The Church

BELL TOWER : Built towards the end of the 14th. Century,  the tower houses eight bells, five of them dating back to 1656, one from 1810, with the remaining two dating from 1930.   Ringers came from far and wide to ring them. The bells were rung most Sundays to summon worshippers to Church. We also have a set of Hand Bells and the main tower bells have a ‘hand chiming system’.  The bells have been  silent for a few years due to the church tower being unsafe and needing restoration. Which we are glad to report has now been completed.

CLOCK : This was incorporated in the tower in 1873 with two clock faces towards the south and west. The clock has been repaired and re-gilded, and shines brightly once more

ROOF : The roof was badly damaged in 1790 as a result of lead being stolen, and a committee was appointed by the Vestry to carry out repairs.  Ancient battlements were demolished, and it was said it was the inherent barbarism (of the churchwardens and committee) that led them to disfigure the sacred edifice by the construction of the present incongruous roof. It took about 2 years to complete the work which led to the church being closed during this time.

Looking up one can see ‘corbels’ jutting out of the walls, 14 in all, which used to support the old roof. Seven being grotesque heads, one with flowers, one plain and five with human heads,  said to represent the benefactors of the church at the time it was built.

THE SOUTH PORCH : The porch dates back to late eighteenth century. This entrance was closed in 1819. Outside you can still see the remains of the pre-reformation church with the ‘water stoop’ used by worshippers as they entered and left the Church.

SUN DIAL : An elaborate sun dial, dating back to late 1700’s is above the South porch. An inscription over the dial reads “TRIFLE NOT, YOUR TIME’S BUT SHORT”- a timely reminder to us all that life is short.

TOMBS : Amongst the tombs and gravestones you will find a tomb of the ‘MUNGO-PARK’ family, one of whom was an explorer with Dr. Livingstone. On another you will find, as well as a cross a ‘scull & cross bones’ suggesting the deceased might have been a ‘pirate’. The churchyard is now closed to burials but we do have a ‘Garden of Remembrance’.

 LYCH-GATE : A memorial to Robert Palmer VC, erected after the Second World War. A picture of Robert remains in Gravesend Grammar School hall where he was a pupil.

SIDE-GATE : An elaborate wrought iron gate at the East Milton Road entrance contains the coat of arms of the Borough under the Charter of 1568. Again in recent years this gate has been restored and repainted.