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 - 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 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.
Gone for good? For a bit, anyway!
CHURCHWARDENS' JUNE MAZAGINE NOTES
Back at All Saints again! The previous year had seemed very disjointed and it was hard to follow a pattern. But fingers crossed, the plans for this summer are as follows:
In June Maureen and Paul Burnham will lead our 9.30 am Service on June 6th.
On June 13th Rev Ravi Holy will conduct a Communion Service and then chair the Annual Parish Meeting.
Both these Services will be at All Saints but on Sunday June 20th we are back for Morning Prayer at St Christopher’s at 9.30.
Finally we shall be at the ruined St Mary’s church in Eastwell Park for a service of Morning Prayer led by Rev Ravi Holy on June 27th. This has become a tradition for the final Sunday in June, and we start at 09.30 as with all our services. There’s no seating of course, so please remember to bring a chair.
Why do we make these changes in June? It is because The Stour Music Festival takes over All Saints for two weeks. The acoustics are excellent for music and people come from afar. This year great care has been taken with spacing etc so that the concerts, performed as always by world-class musicians, can take place despite the pandemic.
Lastly, as you will have appreciated finance has been difficult for over a year now. We have had to do some fairly major building repair work at All Saints and now we discover that the organ has to be attended to, not cheap! We have missed out on our usual money raising events so we are organising a fun weekend with lots going on in and around All Saints on the weekend of July 31st/August 1st. Please reserve the date - and if you would like to help meet us with ideas. We want lots of village input.
Meanwhile, stay safe and if you can, come and join us. We have a reputation for friendliness!
And of course you can contact either of us if you have questions or offers of help
Clare Hardwick 01233 623618 Rita Hawes 01233 627117