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Romney Marsh – 12th July 2012

July 16, 2012

This is one of my favourite areas of the country. I adore the wide open skies and it seems to have a beauty all of it’s own – different to the fenland of East Anglia, more intimate and softer. I started today at one of my all time favourite churches;

St. Leonard’s, Hythe. A magnificent building high up above the town. This is an excellent church for the visitor – they have put a lot of effort into making people welcome. The external signs are very good and in the porch there are welcome notices in several languages. Inside there

are a lot of leaflets available, including a good set, written by the Vicar, on various subjects. Also histories of various sorts. There is a small library where books can be taken. For children there are colouring pens and pencils left out as well as paper. There is a prayer corner with a box for prayer slips as well as a votive stand. The Calvary Chapel is reserved for private prayer – visitors prayers are offered on the altar by placing them on top of a large Bible – a very visible way of doing this which also ensures that visitors know that their prayer requests are taken seriously. 46 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. I would rate this church as very good and it is well worth a visit. There is also the amazing crypt here with it’s thousands of bones all stacked up in neat piles.

All Saints, Burmarsh. One of the classic marsh churches. The signage is OK. The church is locked but it tells you were to obtain the key. I went to get it from a very friendly lady just opposite the church. Inside it is a simple, country church and there is nothing wrong with that. Completely unpretentious. There is a simple church guide available but nothing else. Only 3 people had signed the visitors book in the last month, having to get the key probably puts people off somewhat but it needn’t. I would rate this as OK.

All Saints, Burmarsh

Next off is St. Peter & St. Paul, Dymchurch. The door was left open, inviting me in. Signs OK outside with a good welcome in the porch. Porches are a good place to give people a welcome as well as all the usual church information. This a lovely, well cared for church. There is a history available but nothing on the faith. 9 visitors in the book in the last month. There is a heritage trail leaflet on the Romney Marsh churches which is informative and hopefully well used. I would rate this church as good for visitors. Dymchurch itself was very busy today.

St. Peter & St. Paul, Dymchurch

St. Mary the Virgin, St. Mary in the Marsh. A quite isolated church in a picturesque spot.The sign outside is OK and there is a good welcome in the porch. There are history leaflets and a prayer board. Only 41 visitors in the book so far this year but this must be a well visited place and there were two other people in there on my visit. Like several of the marsh churches this is like walking back into the 18th century with its box pews and other contemporary fittings. With a lovely peaceful atmosphere this is another church well worth seeking out. The author, Edith Nesbit, is buried outside. Her grave is marked by a simple, wooden memorial. I would give this church a good rating.

The church tourism study on the road at St Mary in the Marsh

Newchurch is open

St George’s, Ivychurch. This was open with a clear sign saying where a key could be obtained if locked. There are guides to buy but nothing on the faith. There is a children’s area and 18 people had signed the book in the last month.There is an ‘In Memoriam’ book which is a nice touch. Also a good history display (something the marsh churches seem to go in for).Also a Georgian Hudd which is a little hut which was taken out into the graveyard for the priest to use if it was wet – strange until you remember that funerals took place wholly outside years ago and, on Romney Marsh, shelter was needed. This is a very good church for the visitor.

Hudd at Ivychurch

St. Augustine, Brookland. The church with the famous and very distinctive bell tower. Signs are poor – nothing outside or in the porch. Inside there is a history available and some paddle boards in different languages. There are prayer cards for sale. There is a small quiet chapel which is not signed as being available for quiet prayer but does lend itself to that. Again there are box pews and a famous lead font. The local nursery had produced a nice jubilee display. For children there are some simple books on Bible stories to take away. Overall I would rate this as OK. The signs let it down really.

The wonderful interior of St Augustine’s, Brookland

St. Dunstan, Snargate. The signs are poor. There were builders working in here with scaffolding up which meant that most things inside had been either cleared away or covered up. This made it impossible to rate this in any meaningful way. From photos I have seen this is a church well worth a visit.

St. Thomas Becket, Fairfield. The classic Romney Marsh church, out on it’s own in the fields. It is usually locked but the key is hung up on a nearby farm house. A wonderful church with such an atmospheric interior. Just a simple history guide available and some photos showing the church surrounded by water. Pretty poor for the visitor but more than made up by the atmosphere and the untouched interior. A wonderful church which must be the most photographed of all the marsh churches. I would rate this as a must. 

The incomparable St Thomas Becket, Fairfield

St. Clement, Old Romney. This church enjoys excellent signage with brown signs to direct the visitor. Inside there are cards for sale and UCB ‘Word for Today’ to take home. Also ‘My Book of Hope’, also by UCB. 68 entries in the visitor book in the last month. There is a great stone altar used here. The box pews are painted pink which is pretty striking. I would rate St Clement’s as good.

St. Clement’s, Old Romney

St. Nicholas, New Romney. Another magnificent marsh church.The signs are very good with an ‘open’ affixed to the door. Inside there is good provision for the visitor with cards and booklets, a very good history, prayer booklets and ‘Day by Day with God’ available. A good selection. Only 12 entries in the visitor book but it is bit tucked away. There is a holy water stoup with a clear invitation on what to do with it and the symbolism. The font is labeled so that it is clear what it is used for. There is a votive stand and prayer slips to use. I would rate this as very good.

Church people at St. Nicholas, New Romney

All Saints, Lydd. Another wonderful church. The external signs are basic and could do with improving. Inside there are book marks and free leaflets about the Christian faith. Some histories and some children’s book marks. 26 visitors in the book in the last month. There is a private prayer area with candles, a prayer tree and a prayer box. All very simple but very well done. I would rate this as very good.

All Saints, Lydd

Then lastly today, St. Mary’s, Rye in Sussex. Not really a Romney Marsh church but I wasn’t far away so it was well worth calling in. This church draws in loads of visitors and it was pretty busy on my visit. I can see why. It is a good example a larger church and it is well set up to welcome people. There is a very clear welcome at the door with a sign saying when it shuts. There is a lot to see inside. There is a book shop, prayers for visitors ( a rare and very nice idea), various displays, a prayer net and a very well used votive stand, as well as a millennium tapestry. There is a children’s corner to use as well as a chapel for quiet prayer. All in all I would rate this as very good and it is a job to see how this could be improved upon.

Prayers at St. Mary’s, Rye

A good welcome at St. Mary’s, Rye

St. Mary’s, Rye

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2 Comments
  1. Louise permalink

    It’s nice to see that you’re enjoying my part of the world. Lots of great churches here that we’re yet to visit, we’d better plan another trip.

  2. Spectacular pictures. I wish I was there. Loads of thanks for such Awesome post.

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