Building » Faversham – Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Faversham – Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Whitefriars, Tanners Street, Faversham, Kent ME13

Part of a complex of buildings of varying date. The church was built in the 1860s as a Quaker schoolroom, with the adjoining mid-eighteenth century house used as the school house. After the school closed the school room was a cinema for about twenty-five years until the site was acquired by the Carmelites in 1936. The church is a simple space, but with some interesting fittings, some salvaged and some commissioned from individual artists, including Edward Ardizzone. The 1950s shrine of St Jude is also handsomely fitted up. The complex lies within the Faversham Conservation Area.

The building which is now the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was built in 1861 as a schoolroom for the female children of Quakers, many of whom worked in the Faversham gunpowder industry. The mid-eighteenth-century house adjoining the school was occupied by the schoolteachers. The Quakers vacated the school in 1907 and the building was acquired in 1910 by East Kent Cinemas and converted into The Empire Picture  Hall. The cinema closed in 1936 and both it and the adjoining house, together with substantial grounds, were bought by the Carmelites, who had been established in Faversham since 1926. The area beneath the old schoolroom was originally open but was later enclosed and now serves as a church hall. The schoolroom itself was fitted up for worship. The walls were lined with oak panelling acquired from old buildings in Dean’s Yard, Westminster, demolished in 1936 to make way for the new Church House. Other fittings have been contributed over the years by various artists including Edward Ardizzone, who painted the large reredos triptych, and Anthony Foster.  In the early 1950s a new flat-roofed brick structure was built alongside the church to house the shrine of St Jude.


The main building is in a simple brick Gothic style and consists of a single cell, rectangular on plan with a tall pitched roof. Originally there was  an open area beneath but the pointed arches to this area have now been filled in and the space converted to serve as a hall. Adjoining on the (liturgical) north side is a smaller block, also with a steeply pitched roof. The external walls are faced with yellow brick with some red brick ornament, apart from the street front which is rendered. Both roofs are covered in natural slate. The street front of the church is set back from the street front behind railings. It has a triple window with a small triangular window above, all with hoodmoulds. To the right is the flat-roofed entrance to the Shrine of St Jude, to the left is a low rendered range parallel to the street with a gabled brick main entrance to the church. The north side is obscured by the presbytery. The south side is of five bays, divided by buttresses, with five two-light windows with straight heads and cusped lights to the upper storey. The upper part of the tall east wall is blind apart from one small triangular window, but the outline of a triple window is made in red brick. The lower storey has two pointed openings, now blocked and with modern timber windows.

The interior of the church is as single space, modest in size with a timber floor (of Australian Jarrah wood), oak panelled dado with Gothick cuspings salvaged from Dean’s Yard in Westminster, plastered and painted upper walls, and a braced timber roof which is ceiled above collar level. There is no structural division between nave and sanctuary. On the north side of the nave is a side chapel with a shrine to the Holy Child of Prague. Steps lead down from the west end of the nave to the hall beneath the church and also to the Shrine of St Jude, which is housed in a building specially constructed in the early 1950s and with fittings typical of that date. Notable fittings in the church include the painted triptych across the whole of the east wall by Edward Ardizzone with a rood and carved saints by a carver from the School of Art at Rochester, and the carved stone font by Anthony Foster, who also carved a series of saints in St Jude’s shrine, where there is also a series of stained glass windows by Richard King.

List description



Cl8 house, now a Convent. 2 storeys and attic. 5 windows. 2 hipped dormers. Red brick. Brick stringcourse. Wooden eaves cornice. Hipped tiled roof. Wide glazing bars intact. Ground floor windows have segmental heads and formerly had wooden shutters. Good doorway with fluted Doric pilasters, triglyph frieze, pediment, round- headed arch and round headed door of 6 fielded panels with 5 small panes of glass arranged fanwise in the head of the door like a fanlight. Listing NGR: TR0107861275

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1861

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed