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. In "normal" times 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. 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 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, and for a "guided tour" click here.
Still to come? Brrr!
Saint Christopher's church
CHURCHWARDENS' FEBRUARY NOTES
As we write this it is pouring with rain. Along Pilgrims Way the puddles will be deeper but as soon as the rain stops the joggers will be out, followed at a slower pace by numerous walkers. It has become the area for socialising, very safe with people separated by the width of the road.
When All Saints was the Church, used throughout the year, villagers would either have walked along that route to Church Lane or followed the present North Downs Way across the fields. Some may have cut across to the Church field from Fairlawn corner.
Next time you are in the churchyard look at the tombstones. Many are in family groups . The church was very active in Victorian times and the memorials are evidence.
We can only hope that we shall be able to worship together in the heated St Christopher’s church before May - when we’d expect to be back at All Saints - but in the meantime enjoy the walk to All Saints and wander round the graveyard and absorb the history.
Wishing you all good health. God bless
Clare Hardwick (01233 623618) and Rita Hawes (01233 627117)