St Lawrence Church Bidborough

Dye Tabrett Architects, Bidborough , 2020



Photography by Helen Dye     Download Original

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Single Storey Extension with Internal Re-ordering and Associated External Works to St Lawrence Church Bidborough Kent

St Lawrence Church is a small Grade II-listed church over 800 years old, built of local sandstone, in a unique setting situated prominently on a narrow sandstone spur running South from Bidborough Ridge commanding far-reaching views east and west across a deep valley. Accessed only by foot from two listed Lychgates where on the South side steps carved out of bedrock lead to the South entrance where a Veteran Yew tree grows close to the church.

The brief was to provide level access, a much-needed toilet and reordering of the Victorian South Aisle to provide a fellowship area, with oak parquet and matching mosaic flooring, new heating, lighting and audio-visual systems. Working closely with the church “Project 800” team and Rochester DAC, an extension attached to the Victorian porch and South aisle was designed to provide the new accessible toilet with an ante-room centred on a 1909 Burne-Jones stained glass window.

The extension has a local Wealden sandstone plinth, matching detailing on the porch and church. Above, the walls have wide vertical Oak boards on an insulated timber framed wall. The simple lean-to roof with clay roof tiles and exposed rafter feet matches the church. Inside the extension, the original external stonework is left untouched. The new internal walls are finished in self-coloured lime render, complementing the original stonework. Leaded-light windows removed from the Victorian porch were set into oak frames in the new South elevation.

Sensitive lighting in the ante-room successfully backlights the Burne-Jones window. In the Victorian South aisle, pews and level changes were removed to provide an accessible fellowship area with a refreshment area concealed within oak joinery. The works, including new heating, lighting and audio-visual systems, give this beautiful unique old church the flexibility and facilities for the future of worship into the 21st Century.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was not provided.


  • Begun: Aug 2020
  • Completed: Aug 2020
  • Floor area: 61m2
  • Sector: Religious
  • Total cost: £289,333
  • Funding: Local parishioners donations, grants and fundraising events.
  • Tender date: Apr 2019
  • Procurement: IC 2016 - Intermediate Building Contracts 2016
  • Address: St Lawrence Church, High Street, Bidborough , TN3 0UJ, United Kingdom