St Lawrence Church Bidborough

St Lawrence Church, Bidborough

Know God, Show His Love, Grow His Church

Southborough Team

800th Anniversary


Bidborough Church St Lawrence Church is one of the oldest in the area. Although little is known of its exact origins, part of the present building dates back to the 10th century, when the church was originally a small rectangular building made of stone quarried out of the hill on which it stands. It was linked to the church at Leigh, and served as a chapel for people living in the hamlet of Bidborough.

In the 12th century the church was extended, and the chancel and north aisle were added. As church life in England prospered, communities valued having a priest among them, and in 1218 the people of Bidborough asked the Bishop if they could have their own Rector, and he assented. The names of all the incumbents of St Lawrence, from the start of the 13th century to the start of the 21st century, are recorded in the church.

At the time of the Reformation, the church hosted several distinguished guests, notably Erasmus, who is said to have preached at St Lawrence on a number of occasions and much impressed the local people.

By the early 19th century there were still fewer than 200 inhabitants within the parish, but by the 1880’s there were nearer 300. The church, already so crowded in 1827 when Princess Victoria visited that she is said to have had to remain in the porch, badly needed enlargement. In 1876 the south aisle was added, and the church was then able to seat 140 people.

A pipe organ was installed in 1893, and electric lighting in 1923. Around this time most of the current windows were installed, some by the William Morris company, and many visitors still come to look at this fine glass. In 1956 a new vestry was added to the north-east corner of the church, and in the 1980’s the organ was moved from its original location under the tower, to its current position at the front of the church.

In the year 2000, the historic link with Leigh was renewed, but the words of 1218 perhaps still rung true, and the Priest-in-charge of both churches again found himself ‘much incommoded by the length and badness of the way to Leghe, and the inundation that frequently happened’. In 2002 it was decided to forge a link between St Lawrence and the neighbouring parish of St Peter, Christ Church and St Matthew, Southborough, and St Lawrence is now one of the four churches that make up the Southborough Team Ministry.

Daily Prayers

BCP Morning Prayer
CW Morning Prayer
BCP Evening Prayer
CW Evening Prayer

Daily Prayer provided by the official Church of England web site, © The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2002-2020.

Rochester News
March 2020

Rochester Link

APCM Documents

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Thursday 4:00-5:00pm in the small village hall.

Crisis Recovery

The Day Centre would be happy to receive donations of second-hand clean clothes and shoes for their guests (particularly men’s clothing). If you can help please get in touch with Alan Richards on 528916.


There is a Traidcraft stall in Church on the first Sunday of every month. Please support this worthwhile project.

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