Church of St George
The Green, Benenden, Kent TN17 4DL
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St George’s, Benenden was rebuilt during 1677-1678, after lightning in a severe thunderstorm on December 30th 1672 set fire to the steeple, destroying the roofs and timber parts of the church in a fire that lasted some 4-5 hours. Five neighbouring houses were also burnt to the ground, and the intensity of the fire even melted the church bells.
Much of the current interior dates from 1861, when extensive renovations and alterations were undertaken. The oldest remaining part of the church is some 12th century stonework near the foot of the tower stairs, probably part of the Norman west wall of the church, although the existence of an earlier building is evidenced by a reference in the Domesday Book of 1086.
The chancel east window was reconstructed in perpendicular style during the 19th century, as part of the redevelopment works commissioned by Gathorne Hardy. Hardy was a Conservative politician who became Home Secretary, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for India, and later 1st Earl of Cranbrook.. The stained glass is in memory of Gathorne’s father and mother, and shows Scenes from the Passion. The mosaic reredos behind the altar commemorates the golden wedding of the 1st Earl and Countess of Cranbrook, and is of The Holy Family with Angels adoring.
There are various other memorials to the Hardy family in the church, including brasses and further stained glass in the Lady Chapel.
The stories are: The marriage feast in Cana, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, and Ruth and Boaz.