Diocese of Canterbury

Saint Martin of Tours – Guston Parish Church


The Building

Over 900 years in the service of God

and the Community








Sunday School


Good Causes




The church is of a classic, two-cell form, and apart from the alterations to the west wall noted in the History, the enlargement of the nave windows in perhaps the later 12th Century, the addition of a vestry and porch in perhaps the 13th Century, and then the more recent additions such as the bell tower, the pews and the new font, has survived much as it was built, around 1090, about 25 years after the Battle of Hastings.   This lack of change  is no doubt due to the fact that its patrons, firstly the Monastic Orders and then the Archbishops of Canterbury, all had greater things on their minds that the embellishment of the little chapel in Guston.


As we see it now, it contains all the essential features common to even the greater churches and Cathedrals – a nave, a chancel, pews, a pulpit, font, vestry, porch, an altar at the east end and so on.   The lay-out is typically shaped by Anglican worship, with the pulpit next to the chancel, a result of the emphasis on the sermon within Sunday worship, but it also has the typically Anglican altar rail so that communion can be taken kneeling – a Nonconformist chapel would have had an altar table surrounded by seating, such as can be seen at Langley Chapel, in Shropshire.   The emphasis on the congregation participating in the Eucharist, which led in Roman Catholic churches such as those designed by Pugin – St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham is a prime example – to the chancel screen being removed, also finds its echo here in Guston, where originally the view of the chancel from the nave would have been much restricted by the arch, of which only the traces remain.


As mentioned in the History, the roof has been subject to extensive repairs in the past few years, and the vestry floor also needed urgent repair when it started to collapse because of rot in the floorboards.   The path and steps have been repaired to improve safety, and the west wall has been re-pointed in places to try to reduce damp seeping into the church.   The next phase of work will seek to repair the stained glass and window protective grilles, and to improve disabled access from the road, although these two tasks are likely to take some time since they will require architectural specifications, tenders, Diocesan approval and also not a little fund-raising!


In the photographs that follow, some impression of the church can be had.   Due the large size of some of the images, they may take a little while to load, so please be patient as you make your ‘virtual tour’.   Thank you.