Saint Martin's Church - description page 6
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Introduction and history, Interior, Tower/Porch, Bells, Walls, Doors and windows,
Leper's window
, Font, Roof, Rood, Chancel, Vestry, Saint Martin of Tours

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The Chancel Arch is of the Early English period of the early 13th century, the bottom portion having been restored about 1844.

Chancel arch


The Chancel

On entering the Chancel, immediately on our right and extending 20 ft. Eastwards, we have what is probably the finest piece of Roman Wall left in the Church. The portion near the Altar Rail is exceptionally good, and built entirely of Roman bricks.

Roman south wall
Roman wall, south, seen from outside

The two doorways in this wall are both early ones. The square-headed is an original Roman and the small round one is Saxon. This is probably the one used by Queen Bertha.

Roman door
Roman square door from inside the church

Roman square door from the outside

Round door, inside
Round door, Bertha's?, from inside
Bertha's door from outside
Round door from outside

Further Eastwards, inside the Sanctuary, we have an Early English Sedilia, or seat for clergy. The arch of this is turned with Roman bricks probably taken from the demolished Eastern Apse.

Opposite the Sedilia in the North wall is an ancient tomb, often described as the tomb of Queen Bertha, but much more likely to have been the tomb of a restorer of the Church towards the end of the twelfth century. This tomb was opened in 1897 and found to contain nothing but builders' rubbish. The brass above the tomb was placed here by the late Canon Chesshyre, a former Rector of the parish. It reads: "If by chance near here rest the remains of Bertha, wife of King Ethelbert, let them rest in peace until the last coming of the Lord Jesus".

Old tomb, once thought to be Bertha's

Brass plaque described in the text.


Near this tomb in the wall is a pre-Reformation Aumbry, "a storage cupboard for the Holy Vessels". It has a linen fold panelled door, dating from the 15th century.


Storage cupboard
Linen fold panelled door - 'Aumbry' or storage cupboard



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This edition copyright Stephen Bax 1999