Welcome to Christ Church
Christ church East Kennett is built on the site of a battle in 1006 between Danes and the local population. Today, however, this church offers a tranquil place for prayer in this small village.
Anyone who visits Christchurch, East Kennett, usually remarks on its atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. The original church was built sometime in the 10th century and appears in records as early as 972. This is noteworthy as most village churches do not appear in documentary records until the Domesday Survey of 1086. In truth many are recorded in written text long after they were first built. The date of 972 appears in a boundary charter signed by King Edgar where it is described as a churchstead.
In 1006 there was a battle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings at East Kennett. The Vikings, led by Svein Forkbeard, advanced along the Ridgeway, heading south towards the coast. The Anglo-Saxon fierd or ‘army’ was mustered to repel them, and the battle took place at what was then a ford (near where the bridge now crosses the Kennet). The Anglo-Saxons were defeated, and the Vikings continued on their way to the sea. Local tradition in East Kennett says that casualties were buried in East Kennett churchyard.
From architectural evidence there seems to have been a stone-built church here in the twelfth century. This may be linked to the creation of a separate parish sometime before 1291. There was also another phase of building in the thirteenth century and substantial renovations in the fifteenth century. The current church dates from 1863-64 and, apart from some very interesting corbels and a hatchment, little of the former glories of this church remain. And Yet………
Martin Palmer (Alliance of Religions and Conservation) encouraged us to consider East Kennet church as being a dormitory church of St James Avebury, given that East Kennett is about a mile from Avebury. Similar in distance from Avebury lies Winterbourne Monkton church to the north which was once a dormitory chapel. on a long-established route to Avebury. It was common in the 12th and 13th centuries for Pilgrims to walk the last mile to a shire barefoot, having taken off their shoes and prayed a while at dormitory chapels that became known as Slipper Shrines.
Here, at East Kennett, a Pilgrim would sit, ponder and pray, light a candle in the darkness, and gather themselves before the final walk to Avebury, and from there onwards to Santiago Di Compostella, Rome, and Jerusalem.
The Church works closely with the school which prides itself on the care and guidance it provides for its pupils with Christian values at the core of everything it does.
Rev Maria is a foundation governor providing a link between the school and the church.
if you would like to find out more about the school and its activities, please visit their website.
Little Angels is a church run toddler group which meets once a fortnight at Kennet Valley School. Bumps, babes and pre-schoolers are all welcome to come and join in with singing, craft and story time. There is no fee, just plenty of free tea and cake for grown ups and snack for little ones. This is a great opportunity to meet with other local parents/ carers and for children to come along and play, sing and learn.
Whilst they have no website East Kennett Parish council can be contacted by emailing the clerk Alan Brown firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like all Parish councils their meetings are open to the public and the agenda will be published on local noticeboards or you can request one from the clerk.