Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Visit to West Malling

Not surprisingly, this is a follow on to my post "A visit to East Malling" which I wrote a few weeks ago.

More specifically this post is about the village church of St Marys which, I think, is rather special, particularly if you are also interested in history like me.

From the outside,the church is not unpleasing to the eye .....

St Mary church, West Malling, Kent

However, on the inside, it's even better ....

Stained Glass Window - St Mary, West Malling, Kent

The stained glass windows are fantastic. Some of the best I have ever seen.

The church was originally built shortly after the Norman Conquest of England by Bishop Gundulf who was also responsible for the construction of Rochester Cathedral and castle.

Over the centuries many changes and additions were made including the construction of the spire in the 1700's. (The same spire was depicted on the back of ten pound notes during the 1990's)

One of the most interesting things to be seen inside the church is the ornate tomb of Sir Robert Brett who died in 1620. He had the grand titles of Gentleman Usher of the Privy Chamber and King's Sergeant and is buried alongside wife and son.

Tomb at St Mary, West Malling, Kent

Tomb at St Mary, West Malling, Kent

More macabre details on the tomb...

Bat and Skull on Tomb at St Mary, West Malling, Kent

Skeleton on Tomb at St Mary church, West Malling, Kent

One of the monuments was a stark reminder of how tragically high infant mortality rates were a couple of centuries ago.....

Memorial Tablet at St Mary, West Malling, Kent

Benjamin Hubble and his wife Ann outlived eight of their ten children.

Plaque at St Mary church, West Malling, Kent

A quote taken from the Bible (Peter). I believe the plaque was made during the reign of King James II (1685 - 1688) the last Catholic King of England who was ousted in the Glorious Revolution.

These are just a few of the interesting things to be found inside the church. My wife and I must have spent at least an hour or so looking around.

Grave of Squadron Leader A E Hall

The graveyard outside contains many reminders of the town's long association with Royal Air Force.

During the Battle of Britain, despite being heavily bombed the airfield was able to remain operational. Guy Gibson VC, later to become leader of the famous Dambuster raid, was stationed at RAF West Malling during 1941. In 1944, Spitfire aircraft were used to intercept and destroy V1 rockets (doodlebugs) before they could reach London.

After the RAF left in 1969, the airfield remained in civilian hands until around 1992 when it finally closed and was redeveloped into the new "village" of Kings Hill.

Squadron Leader Hall of 25 Squadron is buried next to his colleague and co-pilot Flying Officer Levett.

Grave of Flying Officer A G Levett

Squadron Leader Hall and Flying Officer Levett were both sadly killed on 4th February 1957 when their Gloster Meteor NF14 night fighter WS 753 flew into high ground four miles east of Oxford during a night navigation exercise.

If you have enjoyed reading this post, please leave a comment. They are always welcome.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Demolition of Blue Circle / Lafarge Cement Works Northfleet (part 2)

Following on from my blog post about the demise of the Blue Circle / Lafarge Cement works at Northfleet, a series of pictures taken for me by a friend showing the last moments of the iconic 550' chimneys on 28th March 2010.....

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If you have enjoyed this post, you are more than welcome to leave a comment. You may also enjoy the following posts too...

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