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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

A board listing beneficiaries at St George’s church in Gravesend is set for refurbishment thanks to the Friends group.

25 June 2013
by Thom Morris

Friends of the church Carol Stone and Sandra Soder along with canon Chris Stone.

Friends of the church Carol Stone and Sandra Soder along with canon Chris Stone.

A board listing beneficiaries at St George’s church is set for refurbishment thanks to the Friends group.

The board - one of two in the porch way - dates back to the early 19th century and details charitable bequests for the schooling of poor children from Milton and Gravesend.

One of the friends Carol Stone said: “In the 19th century, with no entitlement to education and no state help for the elderly infirm or those without work, many families were dependant on the generosity of local benefactors.

“The work of one of these, David Varchell is recorded on the board displayed on the south wall of the porch.

“Sadly, with the passage of time it is difficult to read the inscriptions and urgent restoration is required to save this record of local history for future generations.

St George's Church

St George's Church

"We’ve got low level heating to keep it at a decent temperature, but over the years it’s been subjected to the cold and the rain.”

She added: “It’s not something the church can afford to do itself but the Friends have raised over £3,000 to get this one board done and the change will be very noticeable.

"You’ll be able to read it properly again and this piece of history will be there for future generations.

"Hopefully we’ll be able to get the other one done at a later date.”

Also mentioned on the canvas is Henry Pinnock who donated almshouses on the corner of Windmill Street and King Street.

His charity continues to this day.

The board is expected to be sent off for expert renovation coming in at about £3,000 next month.

Ahead of that, historian Christoph Bull will give an illustrated talk entitled Discover Gravesham’s Ancient Parishes from 7.30pm.

A donation of £3 is requested towards the work of the Friends.

This will be the last chance to view the board before it is removed.

The church, where Pocahontas is buried somewhere, was built in 1732 and survived the great fire of Gravesend in 1846 which engulfed the High Street.

Mayor of Gravesham Derek Sales welcomed the visitors

Mayor of Gravesham Derek Sales welcomed the visitors

Flying thousands of miles to Gravesham, the first ever visitors from Chesterfield Twinning Association in America came to town.

Glenn and Sue Larson, Tom and Andi Jacobson and Cal and Donna Pletcher were welcomed by the Mayor of Gravesham Derek Sales in the Mayor’s Parlour.

Chesterfield County in Virginia is where Henricus is situated – the settlement where Pocahontas was converted to Christianity and met husband to be John Rolfe.

The Mayor of Gravesham said that the arrival of the first twinning visitors was further proof of how Pocahontas continued to bring peoples and countries together.

Christoph Bull

Christoph Bull

The Virginian visitors have been hosted by twinning association families and introduced to the Gravesham area by a Gravesend town centre walk including the Gurdwara, visits to Cobham church and Cobham Hall, a traditional country pub evening with Morris dancers and barbecue evening with Gravesham association members.

They also discovered the prize-winning wines at Meopham Valley vineyard.

Gravesham Association Chairman Christoph Bull said: “Our Virginian guests were very impressed with Gravesend town and thoroughly enjoyed their trip around the rest of Gravesham too – and we were very proud to show off our special piece of Kent to them.

“We have had great hospitality when in Chesterfield County and were keen to make sure Kent measured up - it did.

"The twinning will lead to schools, clubs and individuals being able to meet and communicate via modern technology, which is really exciting.”

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