Saints and Collars
What a gorgeous grouping! Just 1.5 kilometres inland from the coastal Deal Castle, the Grade II* Listed Anglican St Leonard’s Church and Grade II Rectory are the perfect pairing – historic England at its quintessential best. The Listing summarises its near millennium of being: “12th, 17th and 19th century. The nave, south aisle and chancel arch are Norman. Red brick west tower of three stages with long and short quoins was added in 1684. In 1719 a large north aisle or transept was built at right aisles to the nave containing galleries. The organ gallery, dated 1705, was built by the pilots of Deal. It is supported on Tuscan columns. Interior contains box pews, a Normal pillar piscina and an Early English sedilia.” In other words, the church is a mosaic of materiality and style, ever pleasing to the eye.The rectory Listing underplays its charm and idiosyncrasy: “Large 18th century house. Two parallel ranges. Two storeys red brick. Hipped tiled roof and parapet. Five sashes with glazing bars intact and Venetian shutters. Round headed doorcase in recessed brick arch with small thin window on either side. Semicircular fanlight and six panel moulded door. 19th century addition of one window at the north end. Old cellar beneath the house.”
In reality, the rectory displays a delicious juxtaposition between its balanced five bay principal front (facing northwest) and the chaotic side elevation (facing northeast) overlooking the church garden and graveyard. The front is a scholarly lesson in Georgian fenestration and symmetry; the side is an informed essay in incidental architecture, a real showstopper with a triple pile roof. A merry mishmash of period property surrounds the peninsula site of St Leonard’s Church and Rectory.