All Saints Church
Image credit: Willie Robertson
All Saints Church in Foots Cray is situated in the winding Rectory Lane on the west edge of Foots Cray Meadows, not far from the River Cray.
The church was constructed in the 1330s but it is thought to occupy the site of a Saxon place of worship, likely to have been made of wood. The current building contains a late 12th century Norman font. Two windows on the south side of the nave and in the chapel are believed to be from the 14th century – with the west door-case and porch said to date from about the same time.
Records from 1638 reveal the church owned eight acres – with these including an orchard plus a house and various farm buildings.
The church was considerably rebuilt in 1863 with the nave being extended and the bell tower left standing on wooden posts, meaning the bells are now rung from the middle of the aisle. The old pew boxes were also done away with. Donations of land by local estate owner Robert Vansittart in 1876 and 1885 allowed the churchyard to be extended in to the Meadows.
The stained-glass windows date from the second half of the 19th century as do the three bells, though in 1987 these were recast. Roof repairs in the 1990s took place as well as work to the nave, chancel, chapel and vestry took place in the 1990s.
All Saints Church website has a fascinating detailed history building.
In 1996, when contractors were cleaning out the gap just above the walls around the nave, they found a Daily Express newspaper – dated October 29, 1957 – in an envelope signed by the seven workmen who had been installing a gas-fired boiler.