Website designed & produced by Fiona Curtis
Most of us will have heard of John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' and the ' Canterbury Tales, which was recently brought to our TV screens with its modern day version.
Compton was one of the villages that the pilgrims travelled through on their way to Canterbury and St Nicholas church was the reason why. Inside the church we can see Norman pillars and beautiful arches carved from chalk found on the Hogs Back.
Lady Cecelia Boston ( in her publication,
History of Compton) reveals that the church
is in fact 500 years older than the rest of the
oldest buildings in Compton.
It is thought that the site of St Nicholas
Church pre- dates Saxon times, has Saxon
origins and is mentioned in the
' Doomesday Book'.
During this period ( 11th century) the roof would
have been thatched, the floor probably earth
and candle light would have been the only
source of heat / light. This sounds rather
daunting until we remember that the houses
of the same period were wooden huts and were
probably equally as cold and austere.
The square tower dates from Norman times and the clock from 1688. in 1929 a square cell was discovered in the North wall, which would have been home to an ' Anchorite or Hermit'. An Anchorite or Anchoress would have voluntarily lived within this confined space, from the date of their incarcaration to their death, being fed via a small gap and eventually being buried (often underneath the cell itself). the Anchorite spent most of their life in prayer and became a valuable source of spiritual guidance for villagers.
The ' Sundial' was also found in 1929, having been hidden for many centuries. it represents the time in relation to mass and church services.
it is thought that the passing pilgrims led to both the formation of the ' Knight' ( thought to be 13th Century graffiti) and also the second alter, which is still quite a rare find. The church also has a stained glass window that dates from the same period.
Details about the Church and it's history can be found in a booklet, available within the church itself. As you can probably imagine, a church of this age requires a good deal of maintenance, and all contributions are most gratefully received.