The St John's Church Project

Mr Philip J Lhermette MRCVS from Elands Veterinary Clinic in Dunton Green near Sevenoaks, Kent took posession of St John's Church in 2009. The plan was to expand and hence relocate his busy, successful first opinion and referral veterinary practice. Here is the story!

Local man Samuel Wreford resolved to build a church for Dunton Green, originally a quiet, mainly agricultural hamlet in the Parish of Otford then part of the Diocese of Canterbury; but in the 1890’s life changed. New people arrived in the village to find work when it became a stopping place for the growing stage coach traffic on the London to Hastings Road. More change was to come with the cutting of the Polhill tunnel and the building of the railway station in 1868. The Chalk Pit was already operating as a Limeworks at the London end of the village and the Brickworks active at the Riverhead end. The village grew with shops, lodging houses and stables being set up.

Samuel Wreford, whose father John Wreford had built Broughton House in the 1830’s, wanted the people of Dunton Green to have access to a place of worship nearer to home as, except for very special occasions, not many walked all the way to the Parish Church at Otford.

The idea of a new church was welcomed but the project took time. As early as 1880 the Incorporated Church Building Society had given a grant of £100, on condition that there was no pew rent and all the seats were free. Samuel Wreford himself gave the land along with £500 and, after much fundraising, the foundation stone for the new building was laid on August 22nd 1889. By 1890 the church was ready for use. Samuel Wreford died in 1893 and was the first to be buried in the new churchyard. A memorial window to him of The Good Shepherd was placed in the Church which is still here today and can now be found in Theatre 1.

St John’s was an active church for nearly a century and throughout this time, the building has been struck by lightning, bombed during the war (breaking the central section of the East window) and in 1960 sadly vandalised and desecrated. Only one of the nine vicars added to the church by building a vestry for the choir at the West end of the building. This extra space is now a laundry room and a cat kennel area.

Towards the latter years, it became apparent that the Church Council was facing financial difficulties and the Church desperately needed expensive and extensive essential repair work. With congregation numbers declining the village feared for the future of St John’s. On May 18th 1983 St John the Divine, Dunton Green was declared redundant remaining closed for many years.

In 1994 the building was purchased by a local business and the church was used as a period furniture restoration warehouse. After 15 years, it was sold again in 2009 to Mr Philip J Lhermette MRCVS who wished to expand and hence relocate his busy, successful first opinion and referral veterinary practice.

A Brief Resumé!

Download the story of the conversion of St John's Church into Elands Veterinary Clinic, compiled by the Main Contractor, Marile Ltd.

A 10 month labour of love, but well worth the wait as this old church once again opened its beautiful old wooden doors!