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, but is open every day at present from 10am until 4pm for private prayer.
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.
During these COVID-19 times it is difficult to manage opening times other than on Sundays but you may be able to request a key from Mrs Rita Hawes on 01233 627117. For some views of the interior see below.
At least we missed this!
Saint Christopher's church
In the current circumstances we are suspending these monthly notes (normally written for the Parish Magazine - which incidentally re-starts in September), 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 join and participate in electronically. See here for how to do that.
However, the good news is that we can now have services at All Saints, at the usual time of 09.30. There'll be music tho' no singing for now, and there will be other measures in place to keep us all as safe as possible. This also means we have to close the building for 72 hours each side of the service, so please do not expect it to be open on those days. At least for the time being, St Christopher's church will be open for private prayer from 10 until 4pm. Further information here or here, when available.
It does seem that pilgrimages are getting more popular so we hope to have All Saints open on more days than the usual weekends over the Summer. We had also hoped to welcome the 100+ walkers from The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields who each year make it all the way to Canterbury from Trafalgar Square. In a normal year this would take place on the second May Bank Holiday, but sadly even the delayed walk on August Bank Holiday has had to be cancelled. But there will be other years. See here and here for information, and do consider lending a hand in future if you can. But there is some good news: the Stour Music Festival will be returning in much reduced form over the Sept 4-6 weekend. Details here and here when available.
Clare Hardwick (01233 623618) and Rita Hawes (01233 627117),