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At St Andrew’s Chapel, Boxley

May 7, 2020
by the gentle author

Last autumn, it was my great delight to accompany Matthew Slocombe, Director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, to visit an unspoilt fifteenth century cottage on the Pilgrim’s Way in Kent that the Society has rescued from decades of neglect. Their founder William Morris would be proud because it is exactly the kind of rural dwelling that he dreamed of in his wistful lyric visions of old England.

Over the next five years, the Society will be repairing the cottage, using traditional building techniques and skilled craftsmen, to make it habitable again and I hope to publish reports on their progress. In the meantime, you can read my full account of the extraordinary history of this enchanted building, with photographs by Antony Crolla, in the June issue of World of Interiors which is out now.

Click here to get a year’s subscription to World of Interiors for just £19 starting with the June issue.

St Andrew’s Chapel in 1911  (Courtesy of Maidstone Museum)

16 Responses leave one →
  1. Jeff Spires permalink
    May 7, 2020

    That is a wonderful place. Stay well!

  2. Sarah Swan permalink
    May 7, 2020

    Dear GA, I subscribe to the WoI and have read your article. It’s great to see these additional photographs of the chapel and I’m looking forward to seeing your reports on the restoration in the coming years.

  3. Amanda permalink
    May 7, 2020

    The ‘triptych’ of arched sunlight brings a ray of hope to the abject abandonment and loneliness of the room in photograph four.

    The atmosphere of gloom may evoke how many without family feel at this moment in 2020.
    Where sunlight enters all is not lost.

    And for the room at last, there IS good news.

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    May 7, 2020

    Looks fab! And very atmospheric photos – I especially love the one of the stairs through the arch through the door.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about it…

  5. May 7, 2020

    What a beautiful place and a wonderful project! I live not far from the Chiltern Open air Museum, where they have collected and rebuilt historic buildings that would otherwise have been lost. But keeping a building in situ adds maintains a vital part of its’ history I think. Not always possible, but is the case in many things. I always believe this is true of breweries, when they close an historic site and brew the beer elsewhere.
    I hope this will be open to the public one day.

  6. May 7, 2020

    What a marvel! Or, as we would say in French, quelle merveille !

  7. Richard Smith permalink
    May 7, 2020

    Good morning GA what a wonderful building, the pictures are amazing, both exterior and interior are so interesting. I hope we see it after renovation. Thank you for posting.

  8. ken permalink
    May 7, 2020

    a stupendous opportunity to do essential restorations, as they are….sweep up and ‘hopefully’ leave all else. A gem! are you on instagram? i will post a photo of my original roll of William Morris wallpaper there very soon.

  9. May 7, 2020

    I had a great day out with the Gentle Author at St Andrew’s. It’s always a pleasure to share the project with fellow enthusiasts. If Spitalfields Life readers wish to learn more about the project, there’s background material on the SPAB website When possible, we’ll also be offering opportunities to visit and participate.

  10. May 7, 2020

    What a lovely old building in a sad state of neglect. It will be great to see it restored to it’s former glory.

  11. May 7, 2020

    Thank you again for lifting my spirits every morning,such an interesting building,I have the June issue as yet unread,will enjoy looking at the article.Years ago SPAB were such a help when I was envolved in renovation projects,I recommend anyone interested to become a member ,the knoledge and help is invaluable.

  12. May 7, 2020

    You had me at “ancient”! And then……you piled on with “William Morris”!
    May I just say that I am addicted to World of Interiors magazine, and it is the ONE subscription that I can’t do without. I have learned so much from reading the magazine, and my visual files are bulging with clippings from past issues. I’ve subscribed for many years, and have now gone online to find back issues dating to the 90s and earlier. Yes, I’m obsessed.
    I was heartened to know that this restoration project is getting funding and support. (and I love knowing that artisans and craftspeople will have work.)

  13. May 7, 2020

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a worthy project to rejuvenate this historic property in Kent. Indeed, William Morris would approve. I became interested in his work after seeing the art work he did for Yeats’s poetry at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin a few years back.

    I intended to visit the Morris Gallery in Walthamstow this June. I even plotted out the route on the Tube. But alas, that will have to wait for some future date.

    Stay safe…

  14. Sara Bryant permalink
    May 7, 2020

    What a glorious building and how marvellous that it’s survived thus far. However dilapidated it is, thank heavens for the SPAB and their invaluable work. Though fragile, it looks largely unspoiled. I hope I live long enough to visit it one day when it’s restored.

  15. William Martin permalink
    May 12, 2020

    How nice it is that this building is getting all this attention. Why can’t Oxgate Farm get the same.

  16. Sarah Moeschlin permalink
    October 26, 2020

    My great grandmother lived here. I was there in 2015. My father and aunt visited there when someone lived there in the 80’s.

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