Historic Churches

Romney Marsh is renown for its rural historic churches. There are fourteen scattered across the Marsh, with St Thomas à 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.  


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. Find out more
Map Icon Location Map

The approximate location of each church is 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.



3D Virtual Tours of the Romney Marsh Churches

Working with Kent company MMS360, the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust and several local churches, the Fifth Continent Project has developed 3D virtual tours for the medieval churches at New Romney, Lydd, Brookland, Ivychurch and Snave. These are some of the first parish churches in the country to use this pioneering technology. The tours allow people anywhere in the world to have a look around these beloved marsh churches and show some hidden corners such as views from the church towers and bell chambers.

Follow the links below  If you click the floorplan or “doll’s house” buttons bottom left you can then navigate to anywhere within the church and have a virtual walk-through

St George’s Ivychurch          St Augustine’s Brookland         St Nicholas New Romney          St Augustine’s Snave         All Saints Lydd


Video by John Piper

John Piper was an artist who painted most of the Romney Marsh churches.


Churches and Smuggling

Many of the mediaeval 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​


Talks on the Churches

Fact or Fiction Tours also offer illustrated lectures on the churches, which are well researched, entertaining and informative talks suitable for any club, association or corporate gathering. Each lecture lasts about 45 minutes which allows time for a discussion or questions afterwards. For further information, please visit the Fact or Fiction Tours website and/or contact Sue Duckworth Email Icon email or Telephone Icon07546 595803.

Tours of the Historic Churches

If you would like a tour of the Historic Churches on Romney Marsh, there are three organisations that provide such tours. All the tours are conducted by tour guides with a wealth of knowledge about the churches you visit. Find out more at our Tours of the Historic Churches page.