St Mary

St Mary's is a shared church used for worship and community, open seven days a week and with a significant 1000 year history.

Willesborough, Kent

Opening times

9am to 12pm Monday to Friday with cafe open.


Bentley Road
TN24 0YR

There is a reference that Pope Clement V in 1075 supplied chrism oil to the church at a cost of 7p per annum. However, it is thought that the church may date from Saxon times when a Saxon, in the time of King Alfred called Æthelfurth, left land of Willesborough to the Abbey of St Augustine.

The church remained in the possession of Augustine’s Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries when it was settled on the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. The west wall of the south aisle is thought to be an example of very precious early Saxon masonry.

The base of the church tower is dated 13th century with a fine shafted west doorway and lancet window on the southern side. There is a ringing chamber and eight bells in the tower with a Victorian clock above (with two external clock faces) which chimes the hours and quarters. In the chancel the sedila, pescina and north stained glass window are all 14th century. The glass in the top window on the east elevation over the altar, is 15th century work. There are medieval scratched sundials on the inside of the south door to the porch which were used by the clergy to determine the time for matins. The chantry was restored in 1868 when a new high Victorian style memorial in marble featuring the bearded and moustached face of Charles Wharton was installed.

The 19th century brought the construction of a north aisle and we were left with pine benches until the church was reordered in 2014 with design by Lee Evans Partnership of Canterbury. Reordering included a fully equipped café and kitchen area in a new room at the west end of the nave, removal of the Victorian pine benches to create a large flexible space, installation of underfloor heating below new sandstone flags and modern LED lighting.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • 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

  • Café in church

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • Cafe open five days a week 9am to 12noon.

  • Church of England

  • Cornerstone Grant, £10,000, 2020

  • Our Cornerstone Grants fund urgent repairs and essential community facilities such as toilets and kitchens to help keep churches open.

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