St Peter & St Paul

A beautiful rural church set in the heart of the beautiful Kent Downs five miles south of Canterbury.

About this church

According to the Domesday Book, there already was a Saxon church here at Upper Hardres. It was rebuilt in the 12th century, being consecrated in 1160. Some of the original church remains with the church tower, two Norman pillars and a massive font dating from this time. Further developments in the 13th and 14th centuries added the present nave and south aisle and the Lady Chapel.

One of the church's most treasured possessions is the John Strete 'Bracket Brass'. One of the most famous complete brasses in the country, John Strete, rector of the parish died in February 1405. He is shown kneeling, with the patron saints of the church on a bracket behind him.

Other highlights included some fine specimens of window glass painting from the 14th century, the Hardres family memorials dating from 1485, 1628 and 1764 and our bells,  the tenor bell dates from the late 14th century; a second made by Joseph hatch of Ulcombe is date 1609, and the treble was made by Samuel Knight of London in 1727. There are also medieval tiles on the floor of the chancel together with later Georgian tiles surrounding the John Strete brass.

Key Features

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

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Ramp or level access available on request
  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard
  • On street parking at church
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

Other nearby churches

St Mary

Like Barfreston, only a few miles to the south east, Patrixbourne has an important Norman church.

St James the Great

Elmstead is little more than a group of farms clustered round their church on the North Downs.

St Augustine Abbey

This great abbey, marking the rebirth of Christianity in southern England, was founded shortly after AD597 by St Augustine.

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