St John the Baptist

A church has stood here since 1115, at the centre of a cluster of buildings, including manor house, guild house and rectory, all still surviving.

Penshurst, Kent

Opening times

Dawn to dusk every day of the year.


High Street
TN11 8BN

The church helps tell a country’s story through the eyes of single village; through its courtiers, soldiers, statesmen, politicians or priests whose lives appear on memorials or through its changing architecture, brasses, carvings, effigies and windows.

In the churchyard in front of the porch is a large stone table which was used once a year to distribute money to the needy of the village: this is one of only three ‘dole tables’ left in the UK.

Inside is the war memorial designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in honour of the 50 villagers of Penshurst who died in the Great War. They are honoured each Remembrance Sunday with each one’s name read out. A charity ‘There but not There’ was initiated by a villager which has grown nationally and is of particular significance, particularly in this centenary year of 2018.

One of Penshurst’s Rectors took the Royalist side at the time of the Civil War, and was chased out of Penshurst. However, he went on to become Chaplain to King Charles I.

St John’s plays an active role in the community through regular church services and community events. Sunday School and Messy Church are enjoyed by youngsters. Weddings are popular in the church with its beautiful setting and it is also an ideal venue for concerts and recitals.

The church is open every day for those who just wish to sit and think and pray or to look around this fine building. Church tours can be arranged for groups as well as school visits.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Mary the Virgin

Speldhurst, Kent

Though very close to Tunbridge Wells, Speldhurst has a pleasing village like feel and the Victorian gothic church fits in well.

Christ Church

Tonbridge, Kent

Congregationalists were gathering nearly 275 years ago in Tonbridge, eventually forming a church.