Richard de Wrotham founded the church around 964AD and gave his name to the Parish and the village that grew around it; indeed he is reputed to be buried in a tomb in the North Aisle. The present building dates from the 13 century but follows the format of the original church with its southern porch entrance, which is typically Anglo Saxon. Over the porch is a room called a parvise where the parish council sat in the days when local governance was intrinsic with the Church.
The church in its elevated position dominates the village with its magnificently proportioned tower. The passage through the tower is an unusual feature in English Churches and contains ironstone with distinctly worn holes in the rock. It is reputed that the archers of the village sharpened their arrowheads here before climbing the downs to perform archery practice in the days when civil defence was everyone’s responsibility. The present Parish Council is considering reinstating the practice.
The Central Aisle of St George’s Church in Wrotham
The Church is open to visitors from 9am until dusk.
Coffee Morning, Tuesdays 10.30am – 12.30pm. Run by a wonderful team of voluntary ‘cookers’ and ‘servers’
A variety of homemade cakes and savoury items are on sale with tea, coffee as well as homemade marmalade, jams and pickles.
St George’s Church Flowers
Do you have a special anniversary, birthday or memorial date?
For a donation, the Church Flower Arrangers can ” say it with flowers” with a dedicated flower display in St George’s Church.
Above is the carillon mechanism which will automatically play four tunes at preset times throughout the day. These were originally four hymns but one of them was substituted for “The Captain With his Whiskers Took a Sly Look at Me”, which was no one in the hit parade of 1754!
In the tower’s bell ringers chamber, there is a wall plaque commemorating the recasting of the original six bells into an eight-bell peal in 1754. The Rev Arch-Deacon Potter contributed 8 guineas, as did The Right Honourable Lord Viscount Vane. Typically the great and the good contributed 1 or 2 guineas & the financially strapped £0 10s 6d, or half a guinea to you and I, or ten shillings and sixpence. No wonder foreign visitors were confused by our currency pre-decimalisation and cabbies in Baker Street turned a pretty penny, thank you very much guvnor!
This clock mechanism was crafted in 1614, making it one of the oldest church clocks in England. It originally only had an hour hand; the minute hand was added in the early 1700’s. It is still in excellent working order, thanks to the attention of our village clock maker.
In 1728 the church authorities were charged 18 shillings for mending the Chimes and the cleaning of them, which is 90p in today’s money.
On 20th October 1762 it obviously needed much greater works. “To put the Church Clock and Chimes in good repair and set the chimes to the eight bells to play three different tunes for the sum of £45 and Warrant the same for seven years.”
In 1780 a bell rope needed to be replaced for which the Parish was charged the princely sum of 6/-
In June 1911 Gillett and Johnston, bell founders and clock makers of Croydon, were commissioned by parishioners as follows. To recast all the bells, tune on the Five Tone Simpson Principal and re-hang in a steel frame.
In 1968 the clock was cleaned & overhauled by Thwaite & Reed of London and an electric motor was installed that automated the arduous daily task of hand winding the clock, this was achieved without any alteration to its workings.
The rood screen, also known as a chancel screen, is a common feature in late medieval church architecture. In this case it’s an ornate partition between the chancel and nave, of more or less open tracery constructed of wood. St George’s Church is blessed with a fine example.
An ecclesiastical ‘hobbit abode’ in ancient Wrotham, even today campanologists can still be observed frequenting these well-trodden Norman steps.
Sister & Brotherhood
The group of friendly, non-denominational Christians meet on the third Wednesday of every month in the Church Room (by Bull Lane bus stop) at 2.00 pm until about 3.30 pm. It is a time of fellowship and includes refreshments.
Situated in front of the Rood Screen and on the opposite side to the pulpit are several gravestones, some with brass inserts set in the floor above graves.
In September 2014, over one hundred years since the previous restoration, the fittings on our glorious church bells began to show their age, resulting in the collapse of one of the wooden wheels. The bell ringers called in expert advice from the Kent County Bell Restoration Officer who on inspection found that the metal fittings attached to the wooden bell wheels had rusted, causing the wood to split and the wheel to collapse. He recommended that a specialist repairer refurbish all eight wheels, and the original plain bearings be replaced by ball bearings and the metal bell frame repainted.
With donations from local charities and individuals, we raised £10,020. We received support from local charities included £500 from Friends of St George, £500 from the Wrotham Steam Rally Committee, £1,250 from Wrotham Fireworks Committee and £5,000 from Kent County Association of Change Ringers. We also received many individual donations and for all of which we are very thankful.
In November the KCACR Restoration Team spent two days removing the bell wheels and headstocks. These were taken for refurbishment to John Tayor & Co in Loughborough, specialist bell founders and bell hangers and meanwhile the existing metal frame was painted in the bell tower.
On 6th March the refurbished wheels and headstocks were returned to the church. The Restoration Team then spent three days re-fixing the wheels and re-hanging the bells, completing the work on Friday 13th March. The bells were rung again for the Mothering Sunday Service on March 15th.