In this church,of St Mary and All Saints at Boxley near Maidstone in Kent before the Reformation, was a famous rood, called the Rood of Grace, which was held in great esteem for the miracles it was supposed to work. It was broken to pieces by the king’s command at St. Paul’s cross, in London, on Sunday, February 24, 1538, in the presence of John Hilsey, bishop of Rochester, and a vast concourse of the populace.
The church of Boxley was given by king Henry I. in 1130, to the church of Rochester, with all its liberties and rights, in like manner as his chaplain, Jeffry or Ansfrid, the clerk, had ever held it; but that church and monastery, having been destroyed by fire, and the monks dispersed abroad, king Stephen, in 1137, dispossessed them of this church, which, howeever, on their return to their monastery, was on their remonstrance to the court of Rome, by the pope’s bull, restored and confirmed to them; and Walter, bishop of Rochester, not only confirmed to them the appropriation of it, but granted to them the free disposal and presentation of the vicarage, saving the right of the bishop of the diocese; which grant was confirmed likewise by the several archbishops of Canterbury afterwards.
From: ‘Parishes: Boxley’, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4 (1798), pp. 324-353. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co... Date accessed: 20 August 2010.
It is also unique in having a Narthex or extended west entrance believed to be the nave of the original church when the tower was built on the site of the old chancel after the ‘new’ church was built to the east of the first.