Charles Igglesden (1) surmises that the Saxon survivors of the destruction of Great Chart, by Danes, would have built a Church in their new settlement that became Eshetisford.
The earliest mention of a church here was in the Domesday Book in 1086.
Sir Reginald Blomfield opined that the remains of the old window in the South Transept are of Early Decorated style dating back to the beginning of the14th century (1).
A great remodelling of the Church started in mid-fourteenth century, when practically all the pillars and arches were rebuilt (2).
Between 1475 and 1483 the church we see today was completed by Sir John Fogge who was at that time “the lord of the manor of Repton. He died in 1490. His tomb stands in the church near to the high alter. The church before his time had a much smaller tower. This was again made higher and now stands at 120 feet. The vanes on the top are still the highest building in Ashford.
The wooden galleries were added in 1616 and 1637, the latter for the pupils from he Grammar School (3).
In 1827 the side aisles were widened at which time a perpendicular porch on the north wall of the nave was removed, to be rebuilt in the premises of Messrs Murdoch in Maidstone (3). In 1860 the nave was extended by one bay. Following these alterations few of Fogge’s windows remained in there original position. Some were removed to the Vicar’s garden to stand “naked and ashamed” (2). It is believed that some ended up as a folly in the garden of Dr. George Wilks at 22 North Street. The structure was demolished during building works, but some parts were rescued and rebuilt, in a fashion, at the boundary of the North Street properties in Park Street.
The churchyard has some buildings that also go back to John Fogge’s time and it is now at the centre of Ashford’s main conservation area.
One interesting grave stone is to commemorate a local family. “Old William”, William Walters who died on June 17, 1816 aged 90 years and his wife Mary who died the year before worked as domestic servants for a local wealthy family for over 40 years and spent their lifetime in the town.
- Igglesden, Charles. Ashford Church. Ashford : The Kentish Express, 1924.
- Collins, Rev. A.H. The Church of St.Mary the Virgin Ashford – Its architecture and objects of interest. Ashford : W.R. Geering, 1914.
- The Story of St Mary’s Church Ashford. s.l. : The British Publishing Company Limited.
Name: PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN
List Entry Number:1071114 ➚
Date first listed: 24-Sep-1951
750/1/43 THE CHURCHYARD 750/2/43 PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN 24-SEP-51
I Parish church. Late C13 church enlarged and heightened in the C14 with the central tower heightened and the walls and roofs of the nave, chancel and transepts heightened in the C15. The width of the nave was increased in 1837 and extended by one bay in 1860. A vestry was added in 1927.
National Grid Reference: TR0102042744
Refer to List Entry on Historic England for full details
Name: CHURCHYARD OF PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN
Date first listed: 04-Jun-1976
- 5344 THE CHURCHYARD Churchyard of Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin TR 0142 NW TR 0042 NE 1 & 2/43B II GV
- This contains some C18 table tombs, some C18 headstones with cherub, skull, hour-glass or book of judgement motifs, some oval bodystones and some early C19 headstones with shell and scroll motifs.
All the items in the Churchyard form a group, together with Nos 51 to 61 (odd). 61A, 63 to 67 (odd), 67A, 69 to 71 (odd), 75 and the rear part of No 75 High Street.
Listing NGR: TR0103242714
Name: THE RAILINGS OF THE CHURCHYARD OF THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN
Date first listed: 18-Jun-1971
- 5344 THE CHURCHYARD The Railings of the Churchyard of The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin TR 0142 NW TR 0042 NE 1&2/43A 18.6.71 II GV
- Iron railings of arrowhead pattern, completely encircling the Churchyard, made by the firm of Dunday of Ashford and erected between 1835 and 1837. They have the name of the maker on them and form an unusually long expanse of high quality.
All the items in the Churchyard form a group, together with Nos 51 to 61 (odd) 61A, 63 to 67 (odd), 67A, 69 to 71 (odd) 75 and the rear part of No 75, High Street.
Listing NGR: TR0105442741