Brookland Church and its unusual bell tower and ancient lead font

True to my word, here’s an article about Brookland Church that we recently visited in our tour of the Romney Marshes.

There are numerous unusual features to St Augustine’s church in the village of Brookland, notably its separate wooden bell tower, and its 12th century lead font.

Here’s an extract from the description of the Bell Tower in the brief history we picked up inside the church.

An open framework was built to take a large bell around the 12th century for the purpose of warning against flood and invasion. The framework was exposed to the marsh winds and for about 300 years before being enclosed. You can see evidence of this if you look at the beams and note the smoothness of the wood.

In about the 15th century the Church bells were put into the framework and the candle snuffer shaped roof was put on, this was made of weather board. Around 1926 it was shingled, and was re-shingled in 1990 after the damage of the storms of 1987-88. On the bell tower there are approximately 11,000 shingles, made from cedar from Canada, and approximately 35,000 bronze nails.

Until 1973 there were five bells in the tower ….. a large bell was removed and sent to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry where it was melted down and recast as two smaller bells, which now gives a ring of six bells. The oldest bell – the fifth – is over 400 years old.

There’s a detailed description of the lead font HERE, meanwhile, here’s a short description from Wikipedia,

The font, made around 1200, is circular and made of lead. There are two courses of decoration: the upper course shows the signs of the zodiac, and on the lower course are depicted the agricultural labours appropriate to each month of the year. On an arch above each labour, the month, in early French.

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