Historic ties between the Rochester Bridge Trust and Nettlestead have been renewed with a grant to the parish’s medieval church of St. Mary the Virgin, a Grade 1 listed building, for the restoration of a 17th-century memorial.
The monument depicts Lady Katherine Scott, wife of Sir John Scott of Nettlestead Place, both of whom died in 1616. Lady Katherine is depicted kneeling with a child at a prayer desk.
Sir John had an illustrious career, including serving in Elizabeth I’s armies under the Earl of Essex in Spain and the Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands, and was closely connected with the Rochester Bridge Trust from 1604 to 1616. During this period, he was twice Senior Warden of the Trust, which has been providing bridges across the River Medway at Rochester at no cost to the public since the end of the 14th century.
“There is a personal connection between Nettlestead and the Trust in the form of Sir John,” said Bridge Archivist Dr James Gibson. “However, the link between the two goes much further back to the foundation of the Trust in 1399. From that date the parishes in the ancient Lathe of Aylesford, which included Nettlestead, were obligated to elect the wardens of Rochester Bridge and to provide for the upkeep of the medieval bridge across the Medway. The obligation remained legally in place – but was not enforced – until 1908, when the Trust’s constitution was changed again.”
“We are delighted to be renewing our historic ties with Nettlestead and to be in a position to support the restoration in a beautiful medieval church of a memorial that is dedicated to the wife of one of our past Senior Wardens.”
Sir John Scott had two wives, and each is commemorated in Nettlestead Church, although Sir John himself is buried in Brabourne. The monument to Lady Katherine has suffered significant damage and is due to be taken apart piece by piece, repaired and reassembled by a specialist conservation firm.
“The cost of the restoration work will be substantially in excess of £20,000,” said Marguerite Allen, Treasurer of St Mary the Virgin. “As the church has a small congregation, this is a sum we could never have raised by ourselves. The grant from the Rochester Bridge Trust has enabled us to reach our fund-raising target and paves the way for work to begin. We are very grateful to the Rochester Bridge Trust and all our other benefactors for their support in helping to ensure that our beautiful church and the monuments inside it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”
As well as the grant from the Rochester Bridge Trust, the campaign to restore Lady Katherine’s memorial has been supported by the Friends of Kent Churches, the Council for the Conservation of Churches, the Leche Trust, the Allchurches Trust, the William & Jane Morris Fund, and the Wolfson Foundation.
Notes to editors:
1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose, and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.
2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.
For more information:
The Rochester Bridge Trust
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125