King Charles the Martyr

King Charles the Martyr Church has been an established landmark in Royal Tunbridge Wells for over three centuries, its origins entwined with historic Chalybeate Spring and the Pantiles.

About this church

King Charles church was designed by Thomas Neale and opened in 1676. Neale was an renowned entrepreneur and property developer of the Stuart Period who was responsible for Seven Dials in London’s Covent Garden. His legacy is commemorated there in the name of Neal’s Yard.

The church is a rare example of English 17th century church building, most of the finest churches of this era having been destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. It is typical of a single room auditory church (or preaching box) that was in fashion at the time, a form of church building that was made popular by Sir Christopher Wren’s London churches erected after the fire. 

King Charles church is especially noted for its spectacular ornate ceiling, festooned with fruit, cherubs heads and palms, plasterwork of the highest quality executed by craftsmen who had worked for Wren.

Queen Victoria, one of history’s most celebrated monarchs, reigned as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for 63 years (1837-1901),  Britain’s second longest reigning sovereign. In 1835, then aged 16, Princess Victoria attended worship at King Charles church with her mother. The pair sat together in the north gallery.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

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St Mary the Virgin

Though very close to Tunbridge Wells, Speldhurst has a pleasing village like feel and the Victorian gothic church fits in well.

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St John the Baptist

A church has stood here since 1115, at the centre of a cluster of buildings, including manor house, guild house and rectory, all still surviving.

KentTUDELEYAllSaints(klausdpeter)1

All Saints

This tucked away church, rebuilt in the 18th century, is internationally known for its astonishing set of windows by the 20th century Russian born artist Marc Chagall, better known for his paintings and for his dramatic cathedral glass in France and at Chichester.

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