by Bryan Clark
The work of building Murston’s new church, had commenced as reported in the Gazette and Times 19th April 1873, and on Tuesday evening, a public tea and entertainment took place in the schoolrooms adjoining the site, in aid of the building fund, the rooms were tastefully draped with flags, lent by Mr George Smeed, who had given the site and 250 loads of flint, and three barge loads of excellent building sand.
The Rector the Rev J.S. Hoare remarked, they should congratulate each other, on the fact that they were actually now beginning the work, which they had talked about for the past seven years. He said the work below ground, took a great deal longer than that above, he had been working below ground for the last seven years, and there was some prospect of it shortly rising above the ground.
The building work was undertaken by Messrs Adcock and Rees of Dover, from designs by Mr Burges of London, using cut flint in straight courses, with Bath stone dressing’s, and will comprise of a chancel with circular Apse, Nave and North Isle also a Tower, built in the early English style of Architecture, the walls of three feet thickness and a Tower surmounted by a spire, (not built, only a belfry) total height 135 ft, the lower part constructed to form an Organ chamber and Vestry.
There was a ceremony in May 1873 for the laying of the foundation stone, in the presence of the Bishop of Dover, and a large assemblage of Clergy and Laity of the Deanery. The Laying of the Foundation stone was performed by Mr G. Smeed, and also two minor stones were laid, one by Mrs Hoare, the other by Messrs Bensted and White. (none of which are Visible). There is a white coloured stone ? at the base of one Tower Buttress facing East, There is no Inscription that’s visible, so it could be a later addition for some reason, there are no other stones in the vicinity that could identify it being a foundation stone.There is a brick extension on the North side of the church, covering that part of the Tower where the door led into the Vestry, the stones could have been there. The trowel used for the ceremony, was a silver one prepared as a gift to the Hon A. McArthur, on laying the foundation stone, of the Wesleyan schools enlargement the same week, and kindly lent by Wesleyan friends for Murston Church.
The Church was completed by 1874, and was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the 22nd July. The Organ built expressly for the Church by Messrs Lewis & Co of Brixton, was opened on the occasion under the direction of F. Kinkee Esq, the organist of St Mary’s Lambeth.
The Church celebrated its 100th Anniversary with five services in 1974, to mark the occasion, a commemorative plate was made at the Rainham Potteries, which was situated on land next to the Man of Kent public house on the A2, (works closed 1975). It is not quite Known how many plates were produced, one hangs on the wall in the Church near the Font.
New Murston Church