all about All Saints Church
St Christopher's church sits by the A251 Faversham Road at the apex of the village green. It was once a hall house and still retains many period features. It became the village school, but after the second world war was used for worship when All Saints was declared unsafe. Nowadays it is the focus for Sunday worship from October to May.
All Saints is the parish church of Boughton Aluph and Eastwell, a village on the northern outskirts of Ashford in Kent. The parish has three churches in all: All Saints in Church Lane just off the A28 Ashford to Canterbury Road, St Christopher's by the Village Green at Boughton Lees (A251) and the ruined St Mary's by the lake in Eastwell Park. We are part of the United Wye Benefice, a grouping of eight churches including Wye, Hinxhill and Brook "down the hill" and the "upon the hill" group of Hastingleigh, Elmsted, Waltham and Petham in the Kentish Downs. All Saints is used for regular worship from late May to early October save for the last two weekends in June, and St Christopher's at other times. Services take place at 9.30am each Sunday: Holy Communion on the first, second and fourth Sundays, and Morning Prayer on the third. On fifth Sundays there is a shared benefice service at one of the eight churches.
The church sits on the Winchester to Canterbury Pilgrims' Way and has been visited by groups of pilgrims from medieval times to the present day. It boasts some fine architecture and a possibly unique pilgrims' porch with tudor fireplace, and not surprisingly is listed Grade 1 (more detail here). However, it was almost destroyed by a stray fire bomb in the last war and the forced sale of the bells and pews to finance urgent restoration work has resulted in a large flexible space that is used nowadays for many different functions, the most important of which being the annual Stour Music Festival, the Five Church Walk and, more recently, the Wye Charity Ball in support of local charities. More and more it is also being used as a magical spot for wedding receptions (meal and dance) after the wedding ceremony. See pics here.
The church is open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays between May and October (details here) and can be visited at other times by requesting a key from Mrs Rita Hawes on 01233 627117. For some views of the interior see below.
We seem to have missed this, this year (I hope!)
Saint Christopher's church
In the current circumstances we are suspending these monthly notes (normally written for the Parish Magazine), but we hope you will stay in touch and contact us if you need anything. We can also recommend the Wye "virtual church" which you can obtain and follow electronically. See here for how to do that.
On a more positive note, pilgrimages seem to be getting ever more popular, and it has been proposed that All Saints Church be open more frequently to cater for visitors. This year, and obviously depending on government guidelines/restrictions, it will be open at weekends from June through to September. We hoping to have it open occasionally during the week too, but in any case a key can always be borrowed, or prior arrangements made, by contacting one of us. This is the intention but it may have to change depending on official guidance. We'll update this information here, so do keep an eye on these notes if you're thinking of dropping in.
And at the end of August (31st) we look like welcoming our mega-pilgrimage when 100+ walkers from The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields make it all the way to Canterbury from Trafalgar Square! It's an annual event that normally takes place on the second May Bank Holiday, so let us hope that this year it really is a case of better late than never. See here and here for information, and do lend a hand if you can.
Clare Hardwick (01233 623618) and Rita Hawes (01233 627117),