Church of England Diocese of Rochester Gillingham

Architectural Features:

St. Mary Magdalene Church is by far the oldest building in Gillingham and, as such, is an irreplaceable part of the town's heritage.

Externally the church building has a Perpendicular-style appearance with flint clerestoried nave and aisles with battlements at both levels. The west tower is also battlemented and is of squared ragstone blocks with a south-east circular stair-turret.

Internally, the oldest surviving parts of the structure are the 12th century arches separating the chancel from the side chapels. (The north chapel is now the choir vestry, while the south chapel is dedicated as a Lady Chapel.) Much of the rest of the building dates from the 15th century, though the odd square columns in the navemay date from an earlier period. However, the sedilia (the servers' seats in the sanctuary) definitely date from the late 13th or 14th centuries.

The oldest item in the church is without doubt the Norman font which dates from the 12th century and therefore pre-dates the present building. It has a deep circular stone bowl decorated with sixteen arches on shafts with zig-zag ornamentation above and below. The font has been described by an expert as 'a national treasure'.

All the stained glass dates from the building's restoration of 1868-9 or later.