Speldhurst Church near Tunbridge Wells
View of St Mary the Virgin Church at Speldhurst in Kent, set on fire by lightening on Oct 20 1791. Originally there had been an Anglo-Saxon church on the spot, but by 1415 it had fallen into disrepair. It was rebuilt by Sir Richard Waller of Groombridge, who used monies from the ransom of the Duke of Orleans, captured at the Battle of Agincourt. Interesting the Duke of Orleans granted the use of his coat of arms for the south porch. The resulting 15th century church, lasted until this fire in 1791. The fire took just four hours to destroy the church buildings, and the heat was so intense that 6 bells melted. It was a disaster for the parish. The new church, which opened in 1805, was badly built and inadequate. It only lasted 65 years until it had to be pulled down.