Thursday, 31 July 2014

An unusual church in Brook.

I was recently treated to a fascinating visit of Brook church, near Ashford in Kent, by a very knowledgeable friend, David Eaves. The building is early Norman, dating from circa 1100 AD, and is constructed in a mixture of what I would call 'rough flint' i.e. it had not been knapped, and local stone with some quoins in Caen stone from France and some portions in Quarr stone from the Isle of Wight.

St Mary's Church, Brook, Kent.
The massive tower houses a secret. Halfway up it there is a chapel. You can see the window just below the clock. The chapel has a view directly onto the nave below. This layout is apparently common on the Continent, particularly in Germany, and can also be found in some large cathedrals in England but is very rare in a village church.

A small portion of the pattern
of mediaeval floor tiles.

At the eastern end of the church, the floor is laid in a pattern of mediaeval tiles. The usual fate these decorative patterns is at some time during their life to be taken up, shuffled and then relaid at random during some restoration work or other. The tiles at Brook have remained in their place since the 1300s. They were manufactured at Tyler Hill in Canterbury.

Happy face.

If you look at the section illustrated above, in the top left hand corner you can see this individual tile depicting a happy face.

Sad face.

Except that if you happen to be facing eastwards, the chap does not look so happy.

I sometimes have days like that.

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