September 17 – A Church Micro Day Out

Langdon, Guston, Whitfield, Waldershare, Tilmanstone, Betteshanger, and Eastry

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today we went out to visit some churches that we have not visited in this part of Kent. It is a lovely day and we headed for St Augustines in East Langdon first. Unfortunately, the church was closed but we found the cache and moved on to Guston. St Martin of Tours was also closed, the cache was found and signed and we moved on to St Peter’s in Whitfield. Again the church was closed and it took us ages to find the headstones and then I started getting the numbers wrong even though they were quite clear. Mike got sick of waiting so he used the hint and soon found the cache without the coordinates. Sometimes you have to get lucky.

At St Mary the Virgin in West Langdon we walked up to the church up a driveway and even though the church was closed we soon found the numbers we needed. We could not find the track to walk to the final without going through a farmyard so we drove around to the other end of the track and we were soon walking towards the cache. There were quite a few hint objects so it took a couple of minutes to check them all. The track had a very unusual sign that said that at various times of the year vehicles such as bikes, motorbikes, cars and tractors were allowed to use the track. I have no idea how though as it was very rough and we could not walk side by side and the sides of the track were rounded and high. Possibly a motorbike could go down but even if a horse can down towards you there would be no way of getting out of its way. We were quite baffled by the sign. There is also the remains of Langdon Abbey near West Langdon which in 1535 was reputedly the first religious house to be dissolved by Henry VIII.

Finally, we found a church at All Saints in Waldershare, that was open after four that were closed, and what a good one it was. The mosaic reredos with wall paintings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John behind were fantastic as were the painted altar frontal. Then there were two side chapels with the most amazing massive monuments in them. The one on the left was to a different person ion each side. On the front was Sir Henry Furnese who died in 1712. At the back was his father Sir Robert Furnese 1687 – 1733. On one side was his Robert’s first wife Lady Anne, daughter of Anthony Balan. who died in 1713 and on the other side was Robert’s second wife, Lady Arabella Watson, 6th daughter of Lewis, Earl of Rockingham, she died in 1727. In the right side chapel was another massive monument to Peregrine Bertie, 2nd son of Mountague, Earl of Lindsay. Lord Great Chamberlain to King Charles II. There were also some huge funerary hatchments, ledger stones and wall monuments to members of the Monins family. This church is a conservation trust church which is sad as it was lovely and deserves to be seen. Having said that it was open so I hope the geocachers all visit. We collected the numbers and I found the cache while Mike was still trying to zero in on the hiding place. This church definitely deserved a favourite point.

One of the churches I particularly wanted to visit was St Andrews at Tilmanstone as I have a family connection to this church so we went to look for Margaret Hougham (Upton). There was no sign of her or other family members, the church was closed and despite extensive searching, we could not locate the cache, so we were disappointed on all accounts.

At St Mary the Virgin church in Betteshanger we found yet another closed church. Really!?! This one I could sort of understand since the school use it regularly. The carving across the door was lovely and we counted, converted and worked out the coordinates but when we reached GZ it wasn’t what I was expecting as I had a different hint object in mind. We walked back to the car, reworked the numbers, got exactly the same result and returned to where we were before. I could not believe it when Mike found the cache quickly. There was the hint object, not what I was thinking of at all.

Our last church of the day was at St Mary’s church in Eastry and what a treat it was. Firstly it was open which is great as I have family connections with this church too even though I could not find them in the churchyard. There was a lovely 3D George IV Royal Coat of Arms from 1821 with a funerary hatchment to the Bargrave family on each side. There were heaps of wall monuments and the rector’s date from 1280 with John Bacon. But the highlight was the fantastic gold and painted mosaic reredos using almost see through dark alabaster. The light glowed right through it. There was an intact double monumental brass in the sanctuary and a green and gold altar frontal. Such a lovely sight! There were also lots of stained glass windows. Mike found the geocache using the hint while I was still collecting the numbers from the headstones. He is on a roll today!! Another favourite point for a great church.

A lovely day out. Not many of the churches were open but the ones that were were definitely worth the visit.