Events at the church

New benefice of Penshurst, Fordcombe & the Chiddingstone Churches starts 1 April

Thu 1st April 2021

No, it's not an April Fool! The Church Commissioners officially approved the new benefice of Penshur

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Penshurst Festival 4-6 October

Fri 4th October 2019

Join us for the very first Penshurst Festival. We are planning a wonderful weekend of events, talks,

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4-11 November Armistice Centenary Week in the church

Sun 11th November 2018

4-11 November : Armistice Centenary Week in the church featuring the re-installation of the origi

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Events History

Events at Penshurst Church

St John the Baptist Church at Penshurst plays host to many important community celebrations and events including weddings, baptisms, memorials and exhibitions. If you would like to book the church for your event, please contact Mrs Margaret Atkins at

Penshurst Festival 4-6 October

Friday 4th October 2019

A weekend of books, music, comedy and more…….
Events throughout Penshurst village from Friday 4th October to Sunday afternoon 6th October.
For more information and to book tickets visit

4-11 November Armistice Centenary Week in the church

Sunday 11th November 2018

4-11 November : Armistice Centenary Week in the church

featuring the re-installation of the original There But Not There,  the silhouettes of Penshurst’s 50 WW1 fallen by Martin Barraud

All welcome to each event – all FREE entry

Sunday 4: 12 noon     Reinstallation of There But Not There by Martin Barraud with pupils of Penshurst Primary School

 Friday  9: 7.30 pm     A centenary war scrapbook – bring & tell your own family stories, letters, poems of WW1

 Also featuring music, drama and a conversation with artist Martin Barraud about the origins and national spread of There But Not There

Sunday 11: 10.45 a.m. Remembrance Sunday Service including    the Roll  of Honour and Two Minute Silence

6.00 p.m.      Special Candlelit Armistice Evensong

including the world première of anthem ‘They Are the dead – There But Not There’,

sung by the Penshurst choir, composed by Penshurst organist Robert Hessey, to words arranged by Penshurst historian David Lough

Evensong will finish by 6.45 pm, in time for everyone present to attend the 7.00 p.m. Beacon lighting outside the Village Hall and then the event that follows inside.

There But Not There will be open inside the church every day from dawn to dusk between its installation on 4 November and dusk on Saturday 17 November. If you visit, you are asked to consider a donation, to be shared between Remembered, the charity established by taking the silhouettes nation-wide to raise money for military charities, and Penshurst church.


The Last Rector at Penshurst?

Tuesday 18th September 2018

The Last Rector of Penshurst? An important update

Last year Penshurst News warned that Rev. Tom Holme might prove the ‘Last Rector of Penshurst’ after a run of rectors lasting nearly 900 years and broken only by the Civil War.  Now that risk is a step closer.

Technically it is a certainty – any future priest dedicated to Penshurst and Fordcombe will be called a ‘vicar’ because the church no longer awards a freehold of tenure which goes with the title ‘rector’.

The archdeacon of Tonbridge (on behalf of the diocese of Rochester) has produced a report on the future of the rural parishes near Tonbridge – including Penshurst and Fordcombe which already share a priest. The report is open for consultation until the end of September.

It concludes that, because of a shortage of new priests coming forward for training and because of the church’s need for more representation in new and growing towns, it should reorganise rural parishes into larger groupings served by a team of priests, helped by lay representatives. This will mean a small reduction in the number of fully-trained priests required to serve the area.

The archdeacon’s report offers three options for the future of Penshurst and Fordcombe after Tom Holme retires, due to happen in 2020. Each option involves us joining forces with next-door parishes and being looked after by a team. The PCC is asked to say by 30 September which of these options it prefers:

Join with the Chiddingstones

  1. Join with Leigh
  2. Join with the Chiddingstones and Leigh

For option B  the report leaves open the possibility that no priest would live in Penshurst and that the rectory would be rented out.

We will hold a meeting in Penshurst church to discuss the PCC’s response at 8 p.m. Tuesday 18 September – open to all members of the church’s electoral roll plus anyone else who makes donations to the church’s running.  Please do come and make your voice heard – and alert anyone else who you think should know.

At the end of the meeting we will ask you to complete a short survey to help guide the PCC’s response. If you cannot come but would like to complete the survey anyway, please download this and scan back to Margaret Atkins, church administrator on

Thank you, Penshurst PCC

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