Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

St Augustine, Brookland

St Augustine, Brookland is built on marshland- and subsidence has caused its walls to lean outwards to such a degree that it's a wonder it's still standing. Its 13th century builders took note and decided an integral bell tower might pull the whole structure apart and so erected a free-standing wooden tower to the north of the church. Free-standing bell towers are rare in Britain- and the peculiar three-tiered design of St Augustine's is- so far as I know- unique.

Brookland is a place I return to regularly. Its churchyard is full of the graves of 18th and 19th century folk with my surname- to whom I may or may not be related. Here's the grave stone of my "ancestors" John and Susanna Grist, who died in the 1830s. John is described as a "grazier"- which in the context of the economy of the Marsh almost certainly means sheep farmer.

I didn't go inside- not on this visit: Archbishop Welby has bowed to the secular authorities and locked all his churches so that we can be "safe". His predecessor, Archbishop Beckett- whose martyrdom at the hands of the secular authorities is depicted in a medieval mural on the south wall of St Augustine's- would almost certainly have taken a different line.


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