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Maplescombe Church Stone

Christianised Site

<b>Maplescombe Church Stone</b>Posted by juameiImage © juamei
Nearest Town:Farningham (4km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   TQ562637 / Sheets: 177, 188
Latitude:51° 21' 1.19" N
Longitude:   0° 14' 35.92" E

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<b>Maplescombe Church Stone</b>Posted by juamei


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Made a spring attempt on this today, but the site is so seriously overgrown, and the flint/mortar walls are so spread, I doubt anyone could find a sarsen in there without professional help. The surrounding field is absolutely smothered with flint, as flinty a field as you're ever linkely to find. The chapel itself is tiny, maybe 20' x 15', and a lot of the fallen wallstone is inside the building, though the siting of the whole thing is a little strange, on a false level floor halfway up the southern incline of Knatts Valley [itself a strange place - fields and no hedgerows]. Not really dug into the hillside, rather a built level surface proud of the soil level. Found a beautiful piece of jet-black flint, most Kent flint being grey/blue in colour, so quite unusual. slumpystones Posted by slumpystones
24th March 2007ce
Edited 24th March 2007ce

[visited 7/11/03] A possible site, not 15 miles from Medway, how could I refuse! This site is a touch tricky to find, however I eventually located it behind a disused battery chicken farm.

Now on an astonishing birthday weather wise, after an amazing summer, I wasn't that surprised to find the ruins of the church completely overgrown. Trouble being, so overgrown as to make it impossible to ascertain the presence or non-presence of any sarsen stone(s).

Anyone wanting to attempt this one should wait till January or turn up with lots of people prepared to clear a lot of foliage...
juamei Posted by juamei
8th November 2003ce


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Situated in a long, dry Kentish valley which runs upwards in a Southerly direction towards the escarpment of the Chalk [...] one may see the forlorn wreckage of Maplescombe church. This church, which had a semi-circular apse, still partially remaining, has been in ruins for three centuries. My attention was first called to the spot by Mr Benjamin Harrison, of Ightham, an archaeologist whose knowledge of his native district is unsurpassed. On visiting the ruins in 1904, I found a large, partially sunken sarsen stone (3'.0" x 2'.0" x 1'.6") occupying what appeared to be the site of the ancient altar. A few smaller sarsens were also discernible, and other specimens, Mr Harrison states, have been carried off, at various times, by hop-pickers, to build hearths in the fields.
One for the Christianised Sites fans (though one has to surely bear in mind that any stone is useful when building?).

There's a plan here:

and the following page gives details of other Kent churches that might be similar.

from 'Byways in British Archaeology' by W. Johnson (1912).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th January 2010ce
Edited 17th January 2010ce