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All Saints Churchyard, Foots Cray Bexley

All Saints Churchyard, Foots Cray

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All Saints Church dates from Saxon times, dating from the time when Paulinus brought Christianity to settlements on the River Cray in the C7th. The area around the hamlet of Foots Cray remained rural until the C20th. The churchyard was enlarged to the east in the C19th on part of the parkland of Foots Cray Place and has a large Cedar of Lebanon. In the C20th it was again enlarged to the north. There are some good monuments including a record of a gravestone of 1656. Mature trees include yew and lime, and there is a lych-gate.
Previous / Other name: Foots Cray Parish Church
Site location: Rectory Lane, Foots Cray, Sidcup, Kent
Postcode: DA14 5BP
Type of site: Churchyard 
Date(s): medieval, C19th
Listed structures: LBII: All Saints Church
Borough: Bexley
Site ownership: Church of England
Site management: PCC, Archdeaconry of Bromley and Bexley
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Events: Has opened for Open House London
Public transport: Rail: Albany Park, Sidcup. Bus: 321, 51, 233, 492, B14.
Foots Cray Church, postcard. Courtesy Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre
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The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

The area remained rural until the C20th. Foots Cray's origins are a hamlet known as Fot’s Cray, named after local chieftain, Godwin Fot. All Saints Church dates from Saxon times. In the early C7th, St Augustine, sent on a mission by Pope Gregory, brought Christianity to the south east of England and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. With him were Justus and Paulinus, the former founding the diocese of Rochester and becoming the 1st Bishop of Rochester in 604 AD. Paulinus was at first sent north and on his return became the 3rd Bishop of Rochester in 633 AD, continuing his missionary work in Kent. It is thought he probably sailed down the River Medway from Rochester, past the Saxon Cathedral Church, up into the Thames and on into the River Cray, which was then navigable for small vessels. He continued up the River Cray, where the dedications of the churches of St Paulinus, Crayford (q.v.) and St Paulinus, St Paul’s Cray (now closed) commemorate the route of his journey. Paulinus also brought the message of Christianity to settlements along the Cray, including Foots Cray. At the time of Paulinus’ visit, a wooden Saxon church was probably erected on the site of the present church since the original size of Foots Cray church exactly matched the dimensions of a Saxon church. The present church dates from c.1330. The Lord of the Manor at that time was Sir Simon de Vaughan, who was buried here with his wife in c.1350 in an altar tomb. The remains of their effigy, originally under the arch that divides the Lady Chapel from the nave, are now under a low Tudor brick arch in the Chapel. The church was restored and extended in 1863 by Henry Hakenwill. The spire, which was re-shingled in 2004, was built by Lord Waring to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII. On the south side of the church exterior is the mass dial.

The churchyard has some interesting monuments and was remodelled in the C19th when it was enlarged. The eastern portion of the churchyard is situated at the corner of the former parkland of Foots Cray Place (q.v.) and the enlargement of the lower portion to the east included part of the park, and has a large Cedar of Lebanon. In the C20th there was a small additional extension to the north. The C19th churchyard overlays the much earlier burial ground; a grave recorded before it became illegible was dated 1656, an iron grave slab commemorating ‘Martin Manning, Yeoman’. There are mature trees including a number of yews and three lime trees on the north east boundary, and it has a pretty lych-gate. The present church organ was presented by Sir John Pender, the founder of Cable and Wireless, who is buried in the churchyard, where there is an imposing memorial to him. The churchyard is still open for burials.

Sources consulted:

Pevsner N. The Buildings of England London South p 146-147. 1983; G. Nunns Foots Cray p5-7 1982; Archeaeologia Cantiana XLIII p215 ; Bexley Civic Society Survey of Buildings 4-7 (5/1) 13. Andrews, Drury & Herbert 1769; history on church website
Grid ref: TQ475712
Size in hectares:
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: Yes
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Urban open space

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