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Historic Churches of Romney Marsh

Romney Marsh is renown for its rural historic churches. There are fourteen scattered across the Marsh, with St Thomas Becket at Fairfield the most iconic. Marooned amid the landscape without a graveyard or fence to keep the sheep from grazing up to its door, it is all that's left of a mediaeval village.  

           
 

Map showing the location of the churches

All Saints Burmarsh

All Saints Lydd

St Augustine Brookland

St Augustine Snave

St Clement Church Old Romney

 
 

 Index Icon Location Map  

Index Icon All Saints
Burmarsh

Index Icon All Saints
Lydd

Index Icon St Augustine Brookland

Index Icon St Augustine
Snave

Index Icon St Clement
Old Romney

 
           

           
 

St Dunstan Snargate

St Eanswith Brenzett

st george church Ivychurch

St Mary East Guldeford

Church of St Mary the Virgin

   
 

Index Icon St Dunstan
Snargate

Index Icon St Eanswith
Brenzett

Index Icon St George
Ivychurch

Index Icon St Mary
East Guldeford

Index Icon St Mary the Virgin
St Mary in the Marsh

   
           

         
 

St Nicholas New Romney

St Peter and St Paul Church

St Peter and St Paul Newchurch

St Thomas a Becket Fairfield

 

  Index Icon 2015 Historic Churches Calendar

   
Index Icon Photo Galleries of the Churches
   Index Icon Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust
   Index Icon Churches and Smuggling
   Index Icon Church Ruins
   Index Icon Tours of the Mediaeval Churches

 

Index Icon St Nicholas
New Romney

Index Icon St PeterSt Paul
Dymchurch

Index Icon St PeterSt Paul
Newchurch

Index Icon St Thomas Becket
Fairfield

         

The mediaeval churches of Romney Marsh were built by the lords of the manor on the Marsh to serve the communities. Although the population of the area was never high, the churches were often on a large scale to reflect the importance of the parish or the importance of the patron. Nearly all of the churches were in existence by 1100, likely as wooden buildings being built later in stone. Snargate and Snave churches were built in the early 13th century. In the 15th century, many of the churches had great towers added, at Ivychurch, Lydd, Newchurch and Snargate.

Most of the churches welcome visitors and are open during the day. If not open, then information for obtaining access are posted on the church door. Please treat the churches with respect.

Location Map

The approximate  location of the churches are shown by the symbol Church Icon. Just click on the church name for more information. The exact location is given at the end of each church's description.

Map showing the location of the churches 

Churches and Smuggling

Many of the medieaval churches on the Marsh were involved with smuggling. The churches at Ivychurch, Snargate and the isolated Fairfield all made good places for the smugglers to hide their contraband goods before their distribution. Obliging Sextons would open up convenient vaults and remove their contents in order to store brandy, tea, tobacco, silks, laces, fine gloves and many other goods. In one church, the font was used as a hide.
It is said that tunnels connect the church at Ivychurch to the Bell pub next door, which were used by smugglers.

In Dymchurch churchyard there are tombstones to Preventive men and Riding Officers, the law of the day. At Snave, there are two tombstones that are believed to be of smugglers. At Snargate, there is a painted galleon opposite one of the doors which told the smugglers that the church was a safe hiding place.

 

Galleon painted on the wall of Snargate Church
Galleon painted on the wall of Snargate Church


Church Ruins

The above fourteen medieval churches still stand on the Marsh. There were more but these have either vanished or fallen into disrepair.

Blackmanstone Church, which appears in the Domesday Book, has since disappeared.

Broomhill which is now merely a heap of stones.

Eastbridge Church is in ruins with just the remains of the west tower, the walls of the nave and chancel remaining. The ruins, an Ancient Scheduled Monument, are just off Chapel Lane to the west of Dymchurch, with access via a short footpath through some bushes. Map Icon Location Map

The ruins of Hope Church of All Saints are near to the road than runs from New Romney to Ivychurch. Built in the 12th century in the former parish of Hope, the church fell into decay in the 18th century. During the 19th century the ruins were a favourite meeting place for smugglers.

A dramatic arch, standing on a low sandbank, is all that is left of Midley Church. The ruins can be accessed via a public footpath of the road that runs from Old Romney to Lydd.
Map Icon Location Map

Nothing remains of the ancient church of Orgarswick apart from the Church Memorial Cross, which dates from 1938. The cross is just west of Dymchurch on the Eastbridge Road.
The plaque on the base of the cross says: AMDC - This cross was erected on the site of the ancient church of Orgarswick 1938.


Ruins of Eastbridge Church
Ruins of Eastbridge Church

 

Ruins of Midley Church
Ruins of Midley Church



Hope All Saints Ruins
Hope All Saints Ruins

 

Orgarswick Church Cross
Orgarswick Church Cross


Tours of the Mediaeval Churches

Guided tours of the Romney Marsh churches are available from two organisations.

The Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust runs conducted guided tours of the mediaeval churches. The format is based on a coach with a driver who is prepared for narrow lanes, the level of activity suitable for the group and the distances involved. Numbers can be between 30 and 50. It is usually an all day event, normally seeing four churches, with a pub lunch and an excellent W.I. tea.
For further information, please contact the Tours Co-ordinator, John Hendy  Email Icon email or  Telephone Icon 01797 344090.

Fact or Fiction Tours offers bespoke tours of the mediaeval churches with Blue Badge Guide Sue Duckwoth. All tours are individually planned to suit you and your group. Travel is usually on a luxury coach or minibus fitted with a microphone though other transport is available. Meals and accommodation can all be recommended, though you may have specific places where you would like to eat or stay the night.
For further information, please visit the Fact or Fiction Tours website and/or contact Sue Duckworth
Email Icon email or  Telephone Icon 07546 595803.

You can also undertake your own tour of the mediaeval churches using the Mediaeval Churches Leaflet.

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St Thomas a Becket at Fairfield St George at Ivychurch St Clement at Old Romney St Mary the Virgin at St Mary in the Marsh St Peter & St Paul at Dymchurch All Saints at Lydd St Eanswith at Brenzett St Augustine at Snave St Nicholas at New Romney All Saints at Burmarsh St Pater and St Paul at Newchurch St Dunstan at Snargate St Mary at East Guldeford St Thomas a Becket at Fairfield St Augustine at Brookland St George at Ivychurch St Clement at Old Romney St Mary the Virgin at St Mary in the Marsh St Peter & St Paul at Dymchurch All Saints at Lydd St Eanswith at Brenzett St Augustine at Snave St Nicholas at New Romney All Saints at Burmarsh St Pater and St Paul at Newchurch St Dunstan at Snargate St Mary at East Guldeford

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