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Remains of medieval church and churchyard at Halstead Place

A Scheduled Monument in Halstead, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3326 / 51°19'57"N

Longitude: 0.1275 / 0°7'39"E

OS Eastings: 548310.68673

OS Northings: 161426.220888

OS Grid: TQ483614

Mapcode National: GBR RC.SZ2

Mapcode Global: VHHPC.5R8T

Entry Name: Remains of medieval church and churchyard at Halstead Place

Scheduled Date: 13 January 2005

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021374

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22783

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Halstead

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Halstead St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

Details

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the medieval church
and churchyard of St Margaret, situated approximately 280m SSW of the present
church of St Margaret at Halstead which was built to replace it in 1880-1.
The medieval church, which was demolished in 1880, stood immediately to the
south of Halstead Place, an 18th century country house built on the site of
an earlier manor house. Halstead Place was demolished in 1952 and the
associated stable block and coach house, and the walled garden, are now
Listed Buildings Grade II.
The medieval church is thought to date principally from the 12th or 13th
century when it was rebuilt on the site of an earlier church; part of its
fabric and foundations may therefore be of early medieval origin. A painting
from the early 19th century depicts a small church consisting of a nave,
chancel, north aisle with north porch, and a west tower with spire and
buttresses; the windows in the chancel and north aisle are shown to have been
of two lights with square hoodmoulds. A photograph taken of the church in the
late 19th century, soon before its demolition, indicates that it remained in
this form throughout the century.
The only part of the church now standing above ground is an L-shaped section
of walling representing the north west corner of the west tower. This
fragment stands to a height of 0.7m-1m and is constructed of flint rubble
capped with mortar. Some collapsed walling is visible immediately adjacent to
the west of it. The rest of the remains of the church survive as buried
deposits, including the foundations of the medieval church, together with
associated flooring, burials and artefacts.
The churchyard has remained largely unaltered since it became disused in the
19th century. It is roughly trapezoidal in plan, measuring approximately 38m
east-west and 30m-38m north-south. The remains of the church are located
close to the western boundary of the churchyard, which takes the form of an
earthen bank standing approximately 0.5m above a trackway which runs outside
the churchyard. Fragments of brick walling are visible on the inside of the
bank. The northern boundary of the churchyard takes the form of a brick wall
standing up to 0.5m in height; on the southern boundary the remains of the
churchyard wall are now earth-covered, standing about 0.3m high. Fragments of
brick walling are also visible on the east side of the churchyard, where the
entrance was located.
The churchyard was closed for burials in the mid-19th century. There are a
number of gravestones still standing in the churchyard, including a number
adjacent to the standing remains of the church; although these date
principally from the 18th and early 19th centuries, the churchyard will
preserve a burial population dating back to the medieval period.
All gravestones are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and
containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for
Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on
Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated
into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in
its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and
are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides
accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the
priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes
provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional
altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west
end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon
and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish
churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south
or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation
were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were
rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of
the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little
fabric of the first church being still easily visible.
Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the
density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed
settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest
clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of
1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New
churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to
around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches
have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for
their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later
population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour
and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are
identified to be nationally important.

The remains of the medieval church of St Margaret at Halstead Place survive
well in the form of standing fragments and buried deposits. Although the
upper parts of the church were dismantled in the late 19th century, the lower
parts of the walls, the floors and foundations are likely to survive
relatively undisturbed. These structural features will preserve evidence for
the layout of the medieval and post-medieval church, and for the form and
date of construction of the earliest church on the site. Burials in both the
church and churchyard represent a unique record of the population of the
parish in the medieval, post-medieval and early modern periods, and will
preserve important evidence for early religious activity on the site. As the
remains of an ecclesiastical building no longer in use, the medieval church
at Halstead Place represents a rare opportunity to protect vital evidence for
a monument type which was central to the medieval and later landscape.

Source: Historic England

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