all about All Saints and St Christopher's Churches
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 hills" group of Hastingleigh, Elmsted, Waltham and Petham in the Kentish Downs. All Saints is used for regular worship from 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 second and fourth Sundays, and Morning Prayer on the first and third. On fifth Sundays there is a shared benefice service at one of the eight churches. Details are posted weekly on the home page.
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 - in more normal times - 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 in the Gallery on the Bookings page 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, and for a "guided tour" click here.
Something to look forward to? Hmm!
CHURCHWARDENS' DECEMBER MAGAZINE NOTES
December is here. I think we are all looking forward to spending time with family and friends after such a difficult year. For those that are on their own the church is a friendly place to meet other people. We encourage all to think of others and to assist where they can, especially at this time of good cheer.
There was a lovely Remembrance Sunday service at St Christopher’s last month, and a large number of villagers gathered at the War Memorial for the two-minute silence on the green. Thanks go to Cllr Spencer Philips, John Hardie and Steve Burwell for officiating at the War Memorial.
This year we have another fantastic Christmas Raffle with a fabulous hamper as first prize, as well as two other prizes. The winning ticket will be drawn after the Carol Service at St Christopher’s on 19th. See the separate note to discover where to buy your tickets. Last year we ran out, so make sure you get in early!
The Carol Service itself will take place at St Christopher’s on Sunday 19th December at 4pm. Children are asked to arrive in good time to make a decoration for the church Christmas tree. Or you can collect a blank decoration from one of the churchwardens beforehand if you would prefer to make these prior to the service. As usual we shall be serving mince pies and mulled wine after the service along with suitable refreshments for the children. Carols always bring so much joy to everyone and it’s great to see the church filled with voices both young and old. It is also such a lovely occasion to meet others.
Once again we shall be celebrating midnight mass at St Christopher’s, starting at 11.30pm on 24th December. It has always been well attended and we look forward to seeing you there for what is always a joyous occasion.
And as a reminder to village and passing traffic alike, the nativity scene will once again be on display outside St Christopher’s throughout Advent, making sure that everyone knows that this small, un-church-like building is in fact a special place of worship.
We wish you all a lovely Christmas. Do contact us if you need anything or require further information.
Rita Hawes Catherine Wear-Davis
01233 627117 07740 7023777