« PreviousContinue »
has been cut through) and a course of conventional flowers; over these mouldings appear to be the remains of a drip stone or hood mould. Above the west door are two ranges of Norman windows, the first range consisting of three, the second of two windows. The stonework about these is so much worn away by time and weather that it is now impossible to say whether they have been in any way ornamented.
The south-west tower is 77 feet 5 inches high from the ground to the top of the cross on the spire. The three lower stories of the tower are old. The topmost story and spire are modern, and replace a similar construction which was blown down through an explosion in a neighbouring powder mill. The second floor of the tower has been lighted by four windows, one being placed in the middle of each wall. One of these (facing north) has a triangular head, the rest having semi-circular heads.
The cloister was entered from the church by two semicircular headed doorways, quite plain; one was behind the present pulpit, the other is now used to enter the house from the church. At the southern end of the cloister is a similar doorway which formed the entrance to the refectory.
The north aisle appears to have been built about the year 1220, and is in the plainest style of Early English work. It is lighted by five lancet windows; the one nearest the west has a hood moulding, while the one nearest the east end is very much smaller than the rest. At the east end of this aisle was an altar dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene; a pointed arched piscina remains, and above the place of the altar is a small arched recess carried by small columns; on the right of the altar is a pointed arched doorway, now opening into the vestry.
In the north aisle, and beside the porch, is the so-called holy-water basin, supported on a modern piece of stonework. The basin is of Norman workmanship, and composed of Caen stone. It is about 1 foot deep and 1 foot in diameter. The lip is embattled throughout. The side is divided into seven arched compartments or panels, formed by flat pilasters with capitals, supporting circular arches, which are again
divided into two lesser arches, the space between being relieved by a circle or hole cut in the stone. Two of the capitals are very finely cut. The pilasters have been variously ornamented, two have lines cut obliquely upon them, three have simply one perpendicular incision, and two have small niches. Below the arcade or panels is a mould composed of zigzags, circles, and knots, and still lower towards the foot of the basin are seven tiny arches, depressed and receding, each covering a human head.
A pointed arched doorway to the west of the aisle communicates with the churchyard. The present east end of the nave is closed at the lower part by an ancient wall 9 feet high, through which on each side is a pointed doorway, now closed up, but formerly leading into the parish church, now destroyed. This wall does not appear to have been continued upwards. Its purpose seems to have been to divide the lower parts of the original church into two separate portions. The partition wall would be sufficiently high to screen the monastic from the general congregation, and the vaulting would bear a continuous appearance, viewed from either division of the church. At the eastern exterior of the church, in 1845, sufficient portions of the piers, with the commencement of arches on both sides, remained to shew that they were of the same type as those in the nuns' church. The eastern wall pierced by the three graceful lancets is modern; it replaced a rubble wall pierced by a wooden-framed window of three lights.
The monuments in the church are more or less interesting. The oldest slab appears to be one now placed at the entrance to the tower; the following words are all that is left of the inscription: "ERCY THOMAS," and "CY. DIEU." There is a stone coffin in the tower, which formerly was partly inserted in the north wall of the aisle, under an arched recess. A sculptured coffin cover was found in another part of the church. There appears to have been a large and handsome monument on the north wall of the aisle between the two easternmost windows; an elaborate fleur-de-lis finial is now all that remains. Among the brasses in the church two are very fine. On one are cut the figures of a man and woman
kneeling on each side of a Prie-Dieu, on which are open books. Behind the man a youth is kneeling; behind the woman is the figure of a maiden kneeling; on the ground two children are lying, swaddled. Above, in the centre, within an ornamental shield, is a coat of four quarterings; viz., 1. Ermine, a lion rampant-guardant gules, on a canton or an eagle displayed sable, for Edwards. 2. Azure, two lions passant in pale or. 3. A griffin segreant ermine. 4. Sable, three bulls' heads, 2 and 1, couped argent. This brass is to the memory of Anna, wife of John Edwards, who died 8 March 1613.
Another brass plate has upon it a figure of a woman kneeling at a table, on which lies an open book. Towards the left, within a lozenge, surrounded by a wreath, is a coat of arms, viz., Sable, a chevron between three leopards' faces argent. This brass is to the memory of Katherina Lashford al's Lyshford, dau. of Edmund Lychford, gent., who died 25 April 1616, aged 25.
Other slabs and plates are to the memory of the following: John Edwards, who died 9 June 1631, aged 87 years. Anne, wife of John Bode of Essex, gent., and of Davington Priory, dau. and heir of John Edwards of Davington Priory, buried 7 Sept. 1638.
Elizabeth Bode, dau. of John Bode of Davington Priory, gent., died 17 Aug. 1638.
Edward Bode, son of John Bode of Davington Priory, Esq., and Margaret his wife, died 26 May 1659.
Elizabeth, dau. of Robert and Anne Harrison, aged 4 months, buried 3 June 1722.
Edward Ward of Davington, died 4 Oct. 1729,* in his 59th year. He married Katherine, only dau. of Leonard and Cath. Mears of Faversham, by whom he left Edward and Mary.
Anna, wife of Robert Harrison, Rector of Luddenham, died 15 Sept. 1736, aged 34.
Mary Bennett, dau. of Barthow Bennett, died 22 Jan. 1780, aged 24 years. Also Mary Bennett her mother, wife of Bartholomew Bennett, died 27 April 1780, aged 62 years.
* Register gives 7 October 1729 as day of his burial.
John, son of Barth and Mary Bennett, died 24 Aug. 1781, aged 33 years. Also Bartholomew Bennett, died 22 Nov. 1795, aged 74 years. Also Thomas Bennett, Esq., died 12 Aug. 1813, aged 54 years, and Diana his wife died 22 Nov. 1826, aged 67 years.
Margaret, wife of Mr. Thomas, Surgeon, of Greenwich, died 10 Nov. 1785, aged 42 years, leaving two children, William and Margaret.
Hector Munroe, Esq., Lieut.-Col. in His Majesty's Service, died at Ospringe 31 March 1827, aged 54 years.
Robert Plaxton, 1831.
Harriott Jane Willement, died 20 Nov. 1851, aged 57
Katherine, wife of Thomas Willement, died 4 Aug. 1852, aged 56 years.
Arthur Thomas Willement, son of Thomas Willement and Katharine his wife, died at Oxford 5 June 1854 in his 21st year.
Mary Griffith died at Davington Priory 7 July 1866, aged 67 years.
Rev. Henry Cosgrave, M.A., Minister of Davington from 1849 to 1857, died 9 Nov. 1857, aged 70 years.
The pulpit and reading desk are modern and made of fir, on which have been attached carved panels of various dates. The glass, font, reredos, and screens are modern. The communion table cover is said to be made out of some Prereformation hangings.
Perhaps it will be best to describe the buildings next in order, beginning with the old entrance doorway. It appears that the buildings were surrounded by a wall about 12 feet high, and strengthened by buttresses; some of these remain to this day. In the east boundary wall was an entrance, which is now replaced by one commonly called the "Step Gate." The principal entrance was by a doorway in the west boundary wall. Here is a pointed arch which at first sight appears to be Early English, but the mouldings seem too shallow for that period, and one is inclined to give it a much later date. Turning our steps in a north-easterly direction we arrive at the entrance hall door; this is Early
English. On entering we find ourselves in a square chamber, lighted by a pointed window of the Decorated period, of two lights surmounted by a quatrefoil. A similar window appears to have existed in the opposite wall, admitting light from the cloister. The ceiling, which has been lowered for the sake of domestic arrangements, was originally 15 feet 5 inches high, and was supported by a wooden arch springing from two brackets, formed of human heads, on the east and west walls. The walls of the hall in its original form were finished by an embattled cornice of oak. Above the hall were some low attics. At first, the boundary of the hall extended far into the present dining room, taking in the south window there, which I may say is a reproduction of a dilapidated one found in the wall. From the entrance hall we enter the western alley of the cloister. The massive chestnut ceiling has been lowered like that of the entrance hall, to make way for bedrooms. The open arcade between the cloister and cloister-garth has been filled up, and small oak window frames, of the time of Henry VIII., have been introduced to give light to the cloister. A small portion of the south alley is still left which retains the arch of the ancient lavatory, and the Norman doorway that led into the refectory. The rest of the cloister has been destroyed. Passing through a pointed arched doorway in the cloister, we enter the prioress' parlour. This chamber has been so much adapted to modern requirements that it suggests little or nothing of the austerities of a monastic life. At one time a passage led from the cloister into the precinct, cutting off the end of this room, but the passage was done away with, the space taken into the room, and the exit made up by a wall, pierced by a window of two lights filled with Flemish (?) glass of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Retracing our steps along the cloister, we pass through a Norman doorway into the refectory; nothing but the foundations of the original chamber remain, the present drawing room and conservatory being built on those foundations. The refectory was destroyed by an explosion in 1781, and judging from the report of some who lived at the beginning of this present century, and who had seen it, it would seem to