The Upper Church

The Upper Church

‘The District Church of St Peter’ (now known as the Upper Church) was consecrated as a Chapel-of-ease to the Old Church on 28th September 1847, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Howley, when the Revd George Woodgate was Vicar. It was built because of the increasing population around the Upper and Lower Greens on the main highways through the village.

The stone and the site within the present wall, with the sum of £100 were gifts of the Marquis Camden of Bayham. The building cost £2465. Many of the local aristocracy attended the dedication service, among them Lord and Lady Camden.

The Upper church, Pembury

The ground around the Church was open grazing and wire doors kept the sheep out. Later, the wall with its two gates was built. The clock on the tower was given to mark the 25th anniversary and by 1886 part of the steeple had to be renewed.

In 1894 the north aisle was extended and the William Hill organ was moved from the back of the Church into this extension. It was here until 1972 when it was moved to the back of the Church again. When the Church was re-ordered in the early 1990s the organ was disposed of and replaced by a high quality digital one.

It was also in 1894 that choir stalls were put in the chancel, the pulpit was moved and the altar was raised up by three steps and stood immediately below the east window.

The Church building now is a very different one from the original. By 1984 the stone of the 92 foot steeple was crumbling and so it was removed. Vision ’91, the campaign for the reordering of the Church, resulted in a completely new interior, changing it to a building better suited to modern use.

The sensitive and simple layout of the chancel blends well with the colours of the east window, and instils an atmosphere of peace and reflection. The flexible seating and other facilities make the building ideal for worship and many other uses.

The two Churches continue to fulfil their original function and services are held in both Churches every Sunday.

The existence of two Anglican places of worship in Pembury, so different in character, witness to the presence of a living God in our midst and to the relevance of the Christian faith throughout life’s changing circumstances.