St John's Commandery
SWINGFIELD STREET, KENT
The flint-walled 13th-century chapel and hall of a 'Commandery' of Knights Hospitallers, later converted into a farmhouse and restored in the 1970s. The Knights Hospitaller were a military and religious order founded in the 12th century with the purpose of caring for and protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land. Their main unit of local administration was the commandery, where knights and sergeants lived together under the rule of a commander, who administered the estates with which the order had been endowed. Revenues from commanderies funded hospitals for sick pilgrims.
Facilities – at a glance
Assist dogs allowed
- Parking onsite
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Any reasonable time in daylight hours. Internal viewing by appointment only; please call 01304 211067
Also in the area
About the area
The White Cliffs of Dover are an English icon – the epitome of our island heritage and sense of nationhood. They also mark the point where the Kent Downs AONB, that great arc of chalk downland stretching from the Surrey Hills and sometimes known as ‘the Garden of England’, finally reaches the sea. This is a well-ordered and settled landscape, where chalk and greensand escarpments look down into the wooded Weald to the south.
Many historic parklands, including Knole Park and Sir Winston Churchill’s red-brick former home at Chartwell, are also worth visiting. Attractive settlements such as Charing, site of Archbishop Cranmer’s Tudor palace, and Chilham, with its magnificent half-timbered buildings and 17th-century castle built on a Norman site, can be found on the Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route for Canterbury-bound pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
In the nature reserves, such as the traditionally coppiced woodlands of Denge Wood and Earley Wood, and the ancient fine chalk woodland of Yockletts Bank high on the North Downs near Ashford, it is still possible to experience the atmosphere of wilderness that must have been felt by the earliest travellers along this ancient ridgeway.
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