Sunday, 23 October 2016

St Mary's Church, Kempton

Located in the main street and National Estate listed, St Mary's Church of England is a  sandstone Gothic Revival building. It was built to replace an earlier log chapel on the site which had been built from community subscription in 1829. The foundation stone was laid in 1839 with work commencing in 1840 and taking a number of years to complete and the church was consecrated in 1844.

Land & money towards the completion of the church was provided by Joseph Johnson, a wealthy emancipated convict who had large landholdings in Green Ponds. It is thought that the famous convict architect, James Blackburn designed the church "in the Gothic Revival style and features lancet windows (the small ones at the front are concreted up), including groups of three lancet windows at the building’s east and west, buttresses, and a pointed arch door and doorway.

In the first year of construction, some of the “Canadian Rebels” from the Green Ponds Probation Station were employed erecting the stonework. The square tower is unfinished, resulting in the bell being housed in a smaller structure on its top. Surprisingly, this addition has three Romanesque semi-circular arches on each side rather than the Gothic pointed arches used elsewhere on the building.

St Mary’s first Minister was the Rev George Otter, who built Glebe House across the road. By the 1850’s the incumbent minister was the Rev William Trollope, nephew of the noted author, Anthony Trollope, who made himself very unpopular by preaching about the chronic state of Sabbath day drunkenness in Green Ponds.

The church is complemented by an extensive site with a winding entrance driveway containing many old trees and an historic graveyard including a memorial to the early Clark family and also many of the early pioneers of the Green Ponds district, including Elizabeth Flexmore, Joseph Johnson and a number of locals such as James Hooper & James Plaster who were killed during the infamous period known as “The Black War” during the early 1830’s. The building is essential to the townscape of Kempton

A restored organ that had once been in place at St Georges Church, Battery Point was installed into St Mary’s in 2014. St Mary’s still retains its place as an active place of worship for those of the Anglican faith throughout the district. A very beautiful country church.

Main Text & Information Sources – 
Interpretive Signs at the Site

Church Organ Photos –