History of the Church

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The development of West Wickham between the two World Wars necessitated the formation of two new parishes - St Francis of Assisi and St Mary of Nazareth. The parish of St Francis was formed as a conventional district in 1933 out of the old parish of West Wickham. The chapel of St Augustine in the High Street was then re-dedicated to St Francis and utilised until the new church was built. The foundation stones of the current church were laid in October 1935 and the new church was dedicated in October 1936. The architects were J E Newberry and C W Fowler. The chapel on the High Street was used for some years as a church hall. The current hall was built in 1960 on the site originally earmarked for a vicarage.

The original church building comprised nave, chancel, south aisle, tower and vestries/ rooms.  The north aisle was added in 1974. The nave is divided into five bays by lofty slender stone pillars with brick arches and a small clerestor, and the walls are faced externally and internally with cream coloured sand-lime bricks. The entrance is through a south porch at the western end of the church. This porch contains glass windows given by a parishioner in 1954. Above the porch door is a carved stone from Canterbury Cathedral. The style of the building is late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century English Gothic, freely treated and adapted to modern methods.

The church was badly damaged during the 2nd World War, resulting in the loss of the East window, the organ and part of the north wall. A temporary East window was replaced in 1980 with a double-glazed window showing St Francis with his animals. This was replaced in 2010 with a new stained glass window on the theme of St Francis, designed and built by Andrew Taylor.

There is a carillon of eight bells which are chimed.

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Page last updated: 16th Nov 2010 10:32 PM