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Sunday, 21 April 2013

St Nicholas Church, Barfrestone, Kent.



The eastern end of the 12th Century Church, showing the Norman arches and the wonderful Wheel Window.



Detail from the above photo, showing the carving of part of the Wheel Window.

Deep in the heart of East Kent is the tiny hamlet of Barfrestone, where the beautiful Church of St Nicholas can be found. This wonderful little church can truly be called a gem, I hope my photos will convey a little of the beauty of the Norman architecture, and the peace that can be found here.


The South front, note the ‘grotesques’ all along the top of the wall.


The beautiful South Door


As you can see it was a beautiful day, my daughter was busy with her dissertation, so I went on one of my ‘jaunts’ as the family call them. I have visited the church a number of times but not for a very long time, I had forgotten just how beautiful it is.


Looking towards the Wheel window and the Altar. A tiny church but just perfect!


The view from the Altar looking to the western end of the church, the carved pillars are beautiful.


The stained glass in the wheel window.

The stained glass in the church is all relatively modern, I was surprised to find that the centre window of the three stained glass windows below the Wheel Window is in memory of Jane Austen. Sadly not the famous novelist, but I suspect a relative of hers in a later generation!

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St Nicholas holding his church Smile

The carvings of this church are world famous, with most of the carvings being on the outside of the building. On the North side of the building is a blocked up door, only when you get up close to this do you see the amazing carvings.


The blocked up North door

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As I mentioned there are carved figures all round the church under the eaves of the roof, below are a few of these, I may have to go back to get more photos of them…..


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This one is my favourite:


It appears to be a wolf riding on the back of a monkey Smile

Below are some of the carvings which surround the South door



One of the reasons I wanted to re-visit this church is because I knew that St Marys Church at Betteshanger had copied at least part of this church when it was built. The Tympanum on both churches is remarkably similar, as are the three small pointed windows and the wheel window on the eastern end of both churches. The Tympanum is the semi-circular carving over the main South door of each church. Below are photos of both church doors for you to see the comparison. Please check out my earlier blog on St Marys Church, taken in April 2012: http://poppysplace-poppy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/st-marys-church-betteshanger-kent.html


The Tympanum at St Nicholas Church, Barfrestone


The Tympanum, St Marys Church, Betteshanger.


  1. Ho Poppy thank you for sharing your little outings, some great captures there.
    Hugs Sheila x

  2. very neat and very old! even weathered, the details are still amazing.

  3. that looks good, I love old churches and gravestones. I remember as a primary school child being told about the Norman architecture of our local church and it stuck with me for the rest of my life. I would love to visit this church. XXX Don

  4. Beautiful images you brought to us, thanks Val.

  5. Love that you showed us both inside and outside Val. What a wonderful structure so full of history!

  6. That certainly is a little gem, beautiful church. Nobody puts that much time or effort into such a structure as this anymore. Awesome!