St Peter & St Paul

Farningham lies in the valley of the river Darent, 17 miles from London.

The Parish Church, built of flint, which is abundant in the area, stands midway between the two ends of the village.

The exterior is faced with split flints, a traditional material in this part of Kent, but red brick was used for repairs carried out in 1790.

The earliest part of the church, built in the Early English period around 1240, is the chancel. From this a plain pointed arch leads into the 13th – 14th century NAVE which is 9ft wider. The TOWER at the west end was added about a century later.

In the 19th century the appearance of the church changed considerably, especially in 1830 when the EAST WINDOW was rebuilt and battlements and a turret were added to the original flat-topped tower increasing its height by 7ft.

From time to time GALLERIES have been erected in the nave, like one at the east end, which was reached by a narrow staircase built into the buttress beside the pulpit. This was demolished in 1871 and replaced by a small gallery under the tower (removed around 1900). The same year, red and black tiles were laid in the nave and below the tower, and the pulpit was replaced by the present one.

In 1949 the choir was moved from the chancel to the nave, and in 1965 the present choir stalls made from pine from British Columbia were installed.

The Font
The eight panels of the 15th century font show the Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. This is the only example in Kent; there are 28 in East Anglia and one other in Somerset. Counting clockwise from the side nearest the west window the first three panels depict Confirmation, Penance and Holy Communion. The fourth panel also shows the administration of Holy Communion, a feature that distinguishes the Farningham font from the others. The remaining four panels show Extreme Unction, Ordination, Matrimony and Baptism.

The Roper Monument
High on the north wall of the sanctuary is a painted alabaster monument of 1597 to Antony Roper, the grandson of Sir Thomas More, and his family. The figures of Antony, his wife and sons are well preserved, but half the figures of their daughters are lost.

In the sanctuary a brass of 1451 shows William Glyborne, the vicar of Farningham who died on July 15th of that year. There are three more in the nave dating from 1515 (Alice Taylor), 1517 (William Pethin and his wife Alice) and 1519 (Thomas Sibill and his wife Agnes).

Piscina and Sedilia
In the south wall of the sanctuary is a double piscina, and next to it a seat or sedilia. Both date from about 1240. There is another piscina, which is later, by the altar in the nave, and a weather beaten example by the north door. Next to the piscina in the nave can be seen a low arch which forms part of an Early English tomb with the stone coffin being let into the wall at ground level.

The large window on the north wall beside the pulpit is an early example of the work of Charles Winston, son of the vicar of the time, who became an authority on mediaeval glass. It shows the family arms of Dr. Van Mildert who was vicar from 1807 to 1815 and later became Bishop of Durham. Winston made this window in 1832 when he was only eighteen. The small window behind the pulpit, showing an archbishop, is thought to be another example of Winston’s work.

On the outside of the north side there are two fine figures of angels, which project from the moulding above the large Winston window on the north side.