If you commute eastward from Canterbury regularly, you might find yourself taking detours through the lovely Wickhambreaux often. The village is cosy, quiet and littered with pretty buildings, not least of which is St Andrew’s Church, standing proudly in the west of the village, to the north of the River Little Stour, and visible for a good half mile as you drive into Wickhambreaux from the southwest. The church is typically locked which is such a shame - too many village churches protect themselves excessively nowadays - however the exterior, churchyard and the wonderful views across the neighbouring fields can keep you occupied for at least a good half hour - and as evidenced by my photos, nearing sunset is an especially potent time slot for visiting the area. John Newman of the Pevsner Guides gives a high commendation of Wickhambreaux, describing it as one of the best villages of the county.
St Andrew’s Church is a late medieval building, built chiefly in the late 14th century. During this time, the Earls of Kent (in this specific era, three successive Thomas Hollands in the sixth creation of the title, until Edmund Holland took over in 1400) were lords of the Wickhambreaux Manor, which still helps the village maintain its medieval village green pattern, alongside other buildings such as the rectory, the inn and the mill. The church is somewhat more hidden than you’d expect, due to the presence of some rather large trees blocking its view from the green, although a view of the tower with its battlements can still be procured from the right angle. St Andrew’s 14th-century uniformity is broken up by way of an expensive restoration to the chancel, completed by Ralph Nevill in 1876-7. John Newman’s description of the restoration goes into extensive detail, although speaks of the work rather harshly except, of course, for those areas untouched, such as the nave. The timber porch in the north is possibly of a later date, although still late medieval. I don’t dare speak of the interior since I haven’t seen inside - maybe another time!