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    Brookland
(13th century wooden spire)


Name Derivation

General Details

Brookland Kent - Saint Augustine Church
Brookland is a compact village which lies on Walland Marsh about 12 miles South East of Tenterden on the A259.

Its church is well known on account of the fact that it has a detached wooden bell tower. The tower is octagonal, and has a conical roof of three diminishing 'flounces'. Until 1936 it was covered in black tarred weatherboarding. It is believed the tower was built around 1260, and so is contemporary with the church itself.

The church is dedicated to St Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. On entering the church you will notice that the nave arcades lean outwards at a perilous angle. This occurred many years ago due to subsidence. There is still some settlement, and half an inch has been recorded since 1900.

The Royal Arms of George II hang over the south door, and on the south wall is a wall painting of Thomas a Beckett.

The chancel was restored in the 19th century, but the nave remains untouched, and has a Georgian pulpit and box pews.

Much has been written about the famous circular lead font. It is said to be the most important of the 30 leaden fonts remaining in this country. It is thought to have been of Flemish or Norman origin. It depicts the months and the signs of the zodiac. It is unknown how or why this amazing font came to Brookland Church, but it is possible that the font was raided from a French church during the 100 Years War .

In the churchyard can be found a headstone adorned with an oval terra cotta plaque depicting a basket of fruit and flowers. It is inscribed 'HARMER FECIT'. Jonathan Harmer and his son were stonemasons at Heathfield in East Sussex. They made these tombstone plaques in the late 18th century using the local clay from Heathfield Park.

Other examples can be seen at Burwash , Wadhurst , Salehurst , Glynde , and in other sussex churchyards. This would appear to be the only example that strayed across into Kent.

In February 1821 the Battle of Brookland took place between the Customs and Excise men and the Aldington Gang of smugglers. The smugglers had sent 250 men down to the coast between Camber and Dungeness . The party was seen by the Watch House at Camber and a fight took place over Walland Marsh, the outcome was that one of the leaders of the gang Cephas Quested was captured. The injured were treated by Dr Ralph Hougham who lived in Brookland at Pear Tree House.

St Augustines at Brookland is one of those churches supported by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust .


Services

Brookland Kent - Pretty view
Brookland has a few local village services, but the nearest major shopping area is at Ashford about 16 miles north east. The nearest smaller town is Rye about 8 miles west.

The nearest train service is from Appledore about 5 miles north west providing an hourly service to Hastings and Ashford .


Views

Brookland Kent - The Village
Brookland is on Walland Marsh, and is very flat for miles around, this gives the feeling of wide open spaces.

The church with its unusual spire its leaning walls and its Harmer Terracotta gravestone is a pretty place to visit.

 
       
 
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