Staplehurst is one of those contented little Kentish villages where time has not stood still, but where there is still a feeling of quintessential English-ness and middle class values. The church is just behind the rather busy main road and provides a pleasant oasis from its traffic.
There is one overwhelming reason for the Church Historian to visit the church: the extraordinary South door that is original and may date from date from AD1050, although others believe it to be Norman. Most of the rest of the church dates from c14 and c15. It is a pleasing building externally with lovely mellow local limestone but inside it is unexceptional.
The Church Guide claims the north wall “may be Saxon” because of its herringbone courses. I would have to say that this is surely definitely the case? Herringbone is rare if not unknown outside that period. The south door, as we will see, recounts a Norse legend and it seems to me to be unlikely indeed that this post-dates the Norman Conquest. Moreover, the other manifestations of the Ragnorok legend in British architecture on the stone cross of Gosforth, Cumbria and on the Isle of Man are believed to be tenth century. On the north east wall there is a squint from what would have been an anchorite cell. For more on the subject of anchorites see Iffley in Oxfordshire and (best of all) Ryhall in Rutland.
The handsome west tower dates from between 1400 and 1425. There is a nice Perpendicular doorway with lable stops that are believed to depict the heroic Henry V and his queen Catherine of Valois. There are also nice