A History of YALDING, Kent, England

From a vantage point in the centre one can experience the vast size of its structure, which survives from many different dates, several changes and is under constant restoration. The boarded waggon roof retains its central hooks that supported the original candle chandeliers. We have mentioned when the rear pews were removed, likewise those at the east end of the nave were removed when the choir stalls were brought from their previous position in the chancel.
It is understood that across the west end of the nave was a gallery that housed the choir and string band, from the record "1825 decided to enlarge the gallery in the church. Not enough accommodation in the church for the parishioners". Apparently it was erected and removed without a diocesan faculty being obtained.
From a photo of the chancel it illustrated how the pews began up at the pulpit, and this shows how they extended back to the entrance to the tower where the font once stood. It was said elsewhere how the choir stalls were moved from the chancel and brought down into the nave in 1945, when some back pews were removed.
As can be seen from the photo on the right the rear platforms have been removed, and the font transferred to the South aisle. Panelling for the meeting rooms installed in 2003 can be seen on the left.
CHURCH CLEANING. A building of this size requires constant attention, not just to its maintenance by also to its day to day tidiness. The last person to be employed as a church cleaner, who also acted as Verger, was Mrs Vera Masters, who performed this task for a total of fifty-three years from 1945 to 1998. In that period she had been an active ambassador for Yalding, in greeting many thousands of visitors and answering their questions from her growing fount of knowledge.
One such visitor told her that his great grandmother had also cleaned the church during the nineteenth century. This was a Mrs Prebble, followed then by Vera's granny Louisa Honess who then performed the same function from 1891 to 1933. Maggie Underdown and Lizzie Baseden continued this task until Vera took over in 1945, when a new priest arrived, the Rev'd Wilfred Howlden.
She was devoted to this task, which to her was a labour of love, and was often found there every week-day afternoon. She also unlocked and locked the building, and wound the old clock mechanism until it was removed to make way for the bells to be relocated. In her time of serving these duties, a change of seven priests held the living.