St Mary’s Church, Brook, Kent
St Mary in Brook is an ancient and rather small church, standing in the middle of a linearly developed village in a Kent Downs valley below the Devil’s Kneading Trough hill, and right alongside a small running stream, with its own churchyard bridge to boot. Many parts of the building are proudly Norman, including the stout west tower, as well as many interior features such as the original Catholic sedilia and piscina in the chancel. Also featured in the chancel are a pair of fantastic wall paintings dating to the 13th century; the original medieval stone altar (discovered within the churchyard and placed back in the chancel at some point since the 1986 reordering of the church); and a hagioscope built into the north chancel wall - this would have been a “leper window” placed during the original Norman construction. The tower itself boasts a fat buttress on the southwest side, and a large, peculiar Assassin’s Creed-esque wooden stick protruding high up on the south side. The lack of alterations and renovations, at least those that would alter the design and Norman visuals substantially, provides the church with a fantastic original Gothic aura, a rare and spectacular find.