Wednesday, 3 November 2010

St. Giles, Kingston

     I made my way here having just photographed Lyminge church and, although St. Giles is not as grand and cannot quite claim the historical pedigree of the former, it is still something of a rarity.  Being early Norman it is constructed of flint but, like Elmstone, is one of only a few Kent churches where the corners are not dressed with quoins as the stone was expensive to import.  It possesses an aisleless nave and lower chancel, and has not undergone a great deal of enlargement - a 14th century tower, north porch and an extension to the east end of the chancel being the only additions.  It stands on an elevated churchyard above its small village, and I found this old and compact little building very easy on the eye as I made my way up the path to the accompaniment of the nesting birds in the trees alongside.

     The first listed rector here was Alexander de la Knolle in 1265, but there must have surely been others before this in a church dating from the 11th century.  In 1647, a Nicholas Dingley was appointed "in the tune of the Commonwealth" but at the Restoration, an attempt was made to eject him and Miles Barnes, the rector of Brooke, was appointed on August 2nd 1660.  He, however, failed to replace him and Mr. Dingley continued in possession until his death in 1671.  Good for him!

     I found the welcoming interior most interesting.  There is an Elizabethan pulpit dating from the 16th century; a somewhat time-worn corbel head under the tower overlooking the font, which I think is supposed to represent St. Augustine; a Norman font with octagonal bowl on shafts, with two sunken arches and round-topped each side ( a rarity for a Norman font); and there is supposed to be a complete set of armour with tabard, but I didn't see it myself.  Perhaps it has been removed for safekeeping, and this was why I found the church to be open (Syms notes that when he visited he found it locked).

     There is a fascinating story concerning the font.  It dates from the very beginning of the 13th century and was apparently cast out of the church on account of its age and used to hold pig food!  It was rescued "from profanation" (to quote the church pamphlet) by one, Bryan Faussett in 1775, and kept in his summer-house at Heppington where it remained until it was finally restored to Kingston church - after an absence of one-hundred-and-sixty years - in 1931!

     I really enjoyed my visit here, and even the weather smiled on me as the sun finally put in an appearance for the first time that day.  I used a warm-up filter to enhance the winter sunshine and a grey graduated filter to slightly darken the sky.  Following Lyminge, it was the perfect culmination of a days photography.

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