About Us

St Lawrence Parish Church serves all who come to us, and the St Lawrence ward of Seal Parish Council within the District of Sevenoaks in Kent, UK.

The parish consists of three communities:-
the hamlet of Bitchet Green, the hamlet of Stone Street, and part of Seal Chart (‘Chart’ means ‘common’), both North and South of the A25 road.

Why is our church named after St Lawrence?

St Lawrence church is named after the parish of St Lawrence on the Isle of Wight – it was there that the 6-year old daughter of Mr and Mrs Wilkinson of Frankfield (the house you can see across
the field to the north of our church) had died in 1866 while on holiday.

In Mary Rachel’s memory, the Wilkinsons built our St Lawrence’s Church in 1867/8, and once completed, Mary Rachel’s remains were exhumed and re-buried in our churchyard as the first entry in St Lawrence’s Burials Register.

(You can see a picture of Mary Rachel here as depicted in the top window in our chancel.)

Indeed, the original building was modeled on Old St Lawrence Church, Isle of Wight (a tiny 12th Century church – see the pictures on the windowsill at the west end of the church.)

Like most churches, St Lawrence’s has adapted to the on-going needs of its community and congregation.  Some of the highlights are:-

1867 Foundation stone laid on 8th October 1867

St Lawrence District was established (4 November, out of the chaplaincy
of Seal, originally part of the large parish of Kemsing) by an Order of
Her Majesty in Council, and the Revd B P Thompson, M A, was appointed
Incumbent on the nomination of Horace Wilkinson, Esq.

1868 Church built from Kentish Ragstone from the local Foxbury
Quarry, and lined with soft yellow Speldhurst stone.

The Pulpit is also of Speldhurst stone; The white roof of the porch is
made of blocks of Otford chalk.

Nave, chancel and open belfry. ( The architect was C H Howell of London)

Church consecrated on 20 June 1868 – our annual Dedication
Festival is held on a Sunday on or near this date..

1876 Two transepts added in memory of the Wilkinsons’ third daughter,
Annie Clare, who had died that year, aged 14
1877 St Lawrence’s established as a separate parish

2-manual pipe organ, built by A Gern of London, hand-pumped!

1888 Nave lengthened, and addition of the tower and peal of 6
bells (Tenor 10 cwt) in memory of Sarah Wilkinson (sister to Horace and
Conrad Wilkinson)

The previous porch was removed and now forms the lychgate

1909 Lectern provided (donated by Joseph Matthews)
1912 Enlargement of vestry;  Addition of dormer windows to the
1918/19 Addition of dormer windows to the chancel, dedicated on 15
January 1919 (the anniversary of the day the commemorated son fell at the
1959 Church Council discusses electrification of the church
1960 Removal of the front transept pews (to widen the available
space; one of the pews is now the one in the porch)
1960s Electricity arrives!
1967 Complete rebuild (most recent rebuild) of organ, which was converted to
electric pump
1988 Radiant (infra-red)  heating installed
1998 Removal of two pews from the back of the nave (to create a
more open meeting area)
2000 Removal of one pew from the North transept to allow space
for an electric piano
2002 Toilet provided (with disabled facilities; it’s actually
located at the church end of the adjacent school building)
2005 Church struck by lightning.

November: worship resumes in the nave

2006 Fire damage completed, and chancel reordered (removal of
inner pews) – celebrated at a re-opening service on 10th December
2009 Plans for a second Garden of Remembrance (space for the
burial of Ashes) in our churchyard

The above is, of course, just a very small sample of entries from the full inventory!

Click here for a description of our stained glass windows