The Church Becomes ‘Old’

By 1865 the Old Church had become too small for the growing population and, in any case, was by then in bad repair. After a meeting between the Vicar and the painter William Callow, a new church was therefore planned. The new church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist was completed in 1867. It was built adjacent to the ancient chapel, which was retained and for a while became a school.

The Parochial Church Council found the upkeep of the Old Church increasingly difficult and its demise might have come much earlier, were it not for the arrival of Mr Arthur Liberty at the Lee (having purchased the Manor and estate). In 1898 he set about the restoration of the Old Church, including restoring the piscine, sedilla and wall tablets.    

Over fifty years passed and the condition of the Old Church continued to deteriorate until the roof became due for retiling in the early 1970’s. The Parochial Church Council continued to find the upkeep of the two churches increasingly burdensome and there was a suggestion that the Old Church might become redundant.

So begins the story that was to lead to the formation of The Lee Old Church Trust.