the history of all saints’ loose

The church was built alongside a pretty stream, a ‘tumble’ of old cottages, and was set in an attractive valley. If it has suffered from the effects of being a virtual suburb of Maidstone, and from a certain amount of modern development, it has, since the beginning of the 20th century at least, covered itself ever more deeply in a blanket of trees and greenery, as though trying to hold on to its individuality and ancient past. This was helped by the presence of a by-pass erected in the 19th century.

Although there is no record of the actual construction process of the original church as a building, here are some significant dates in our church’s history.

832 AD – Monks of Canterbury took a financial interest in Loose and probably built a rudimentary church

1086 – The Domesdsay Book refers to Loose as having a ‘manor of the monks’.

Prior to 1300 – Chancel & tower of present building erected.

By 1327 – Roof (thatched) and ceilings in bad state of repair. No pews or seats. Floor covered in rushes. Services said or sung in Latin.

1364 – Churchwardens’ accounts first prepared.

1555 – First record of the actual identifiable name of the Priest – Johannes Julyan (see the plaque above the South exit door).

1559 – Start of registers for baptisms, marriages and burials.

1590 – Silver Chalice and other sacred vessels introduced – these are now retained at a bank for security.

1550 – Treble bell installed to be followed in later years by Middle and Tenor bells. (The Treble bell sounded victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588.)

17th century – The stone altar, the statues and the screen were taken away and the painted walls of the Church plastered and whitewashed. The great Bible was set up and the services read in English.

1653 to 1657 – 57 couples from various villages in Kent were married in Loose before a Justice of the Peace and their names entered in the Church Registers.

1819 – North Aisle added to accommodate increasing number of worshippers. Some piers and cast iron columns were set up to support the roof in place of the old North Wall, which once had a doorway and a porch somewhere along its length. A Gallery was erected in the new North Aisle and along the west wall of the Nave.

1824 – Clock made and placed in the Tower.

1860 – South Aisle was added and the old Porch Door, probably dating from the 16th century, was re-hung at the entrance to the new Porch.

1878 – Serious fire in the Nave requiring major refurbishment in the Victorian era. But the Tower, Chancel and Organ were saved. Within 12 months the Church was completely restored and the present Altar made of oak timbers from the old roof.

1888 – extensive alterations and improvements put in hand. The Galleries were demolished and the roof of the North Aisle raised to be in keeping with that of the South Aisle. The Aisle itself was extended eastwards and the Clergy Vestry and the Loft for the Organ were added. The South Aisle, too, was lengthened.

1913 – Organ brought down from the Loft and re-located. In 1950, pews were removed from the east end of the South Aisle and the Lady Chapel set out.

1962 – Window in North Aisle crafted to commemorate the church’s dedication. By H.J.Stammers, designer of some windows in Canterbury Cathedral.

1996 – 2003 – Major ‘re-ordering’ took place. Involved new West porch with toilets and a Parish Office, raised floor at East end , more flexible Nave without pews, 2-storey vestry, kitchen, WC for those with a disability and a meeting room. Completion on Easter Day 2003.

Since 2003 – new heating boiler installed and electronic screens to aid worship.

More details can be read at All Saints’ Church, Loose – A History.

Further (and more detailed information) can be obtained from the following links:

‘An Introduction to Loose Church and its People’ by the late Pat Jenner.

‘About Loose Village’

Details of the Monumental Inscriptions in the Churchyards