Due to the surprisingly good weather, Mrs P and I paid an impromptu visit to the village of Shorne in Kent yesterday. It’s a small community about 3 miles east of Gravesend. Where most of the new houses are located in a shallow valley, the old village is built upon higher ground and has a great view of the Thames Estuary, stretching from Gravesend to Southend-on-sea. Shorne Wood Country Park is also nearby. This area of woods was once part of the large Cobham Hall Estate. In 1987 it came into the ownership of Kent County Council and was redeveloped for public use. There are several places of interest in Shorne such as Mill Cottages, Mill House and the remains of Shorne Mill. There are also some ancient barrows dating from Neolithic period. However, we had come specifically to visit St Peter and St Paul Church and place flowers on a friend’s grave.
St Peter and St Paul Church dates back to Saxon era, although the site has been extended several times over the years. The north aisle was built around the end of the twelfth century. Randall Chapel on the south side of the chancel was added in the late thirteenth century. The south aisle to the nave and its arcade were built in the fifteenth century as were the tower and porch. The Church also boasts some fine stained glass circa eighteen hundred and an opulent font with seven carved panels. The churchyard is still open for burials and had a recent extension in 2000. The older parts have graves dating back three hundred years. The village war memorial stands just inside the main gate. At present the church is having the roof retiled and the exterior is partially obscured by scaffolding. However, all services are being maintained and the visitors are still welcome.
We spent a very pleasant morning in Shorne. After visiting the churchyard we took a leisurely stroll around the village, taking in the various sites. There are several timbered cottages of note and Crown Lane commands a great view over the fields leading down to the estuary. The roads are somewhat steep and there are a few places where the narrow roads are without any pavement, so it is wise to keep on the right, facing the oncoming traffic. After some sight seeing we visited the Rose and Crown; a friendly local pub which dates back to the reign of Henry VII. This is very much the epitome of a rural “public houses” with low timbered ceilings and sedate atmosphere. The perfect place to pause and reflect after a mornings walking. Overall, Shorne is well worth a visit, especially for those who are interested in church history and architecture as well as country walks.