St Nicholas, Newington (near Folkestone), Kent
Newington is a sad, strange little village, desperately clinging on to some waning sense of its own independence from Folkestone’s vast swathes of Channel Tunnel terminals and tracks stretching up towards the gorgeous surrounding hills. Indeed, less than one hundred metres and a thin protective line of trees separates the outer limits of the compound from the first of the village’s houses that are come across. From above, Newington’s identity is almost lost now amongst the monumental accomplishments of infrastructural progression. But despite these shortcomings the village remains peaceful, tightly-knit and fairly autonomous. Just a little further up the main road is the neighbouring village of Peene with its lovely little Railway Museum - all is not lost in this penned-in village high up in the Folkestone hills, albeit the situation is vastly altered since the terminal’s building, both geographically and culturally.
St Nicholas, by comparison, is quite a joyful little church with some great views and unashamedly Kentish architecture. Sadly I only managed to visit on a Sunday, and hence a recently ended service unfortunately rendered the church closed to visitors. The exterior seems dainty and pretty, with small sections of building throughout and adorned with only a tiny timber tower and ogee spire. The entrance and main porch is located strangely in the north, leading out into the street. Views of the nearby hills greet you in the churchyard, a dedicated bench found within and a short wall tracing the road to the west. One of my favourite exterior features is the blocked south doorway - doors have always been one of the most fascinating features of English churches to me, and seeing a once-thriving portal into a sacred place bricked up using whatever stones and loose fabric could be found at the time is a welcome expansion to that fascination.