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Historic England Research Records

Church Of St Mary

Hob Uid: 467090
Location :
Kent
Canterbury
Herne Bay
Grid Ref : TR2276569358
Summary : The site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery at Reculver, and two towers from a 12th century church of St Mary. Much of the site has been lost to the sea. Historical records indicate that an Anglo-Saxon monastery was founded in around AD 669, when Egbert, King of Kent, granted Reculver to Bassa for the foundation of a minster church. The church was built near the centre of the earlier Roman fort and reused part of its defences, bricks, rubble and rubble masonry. It was also probably around the site of an early wayside preaching cross, the base of which was found in 1927. The cross base, now at Canterbury Cathedral along with other fragments of Saxon masonry from the church, has been dated to the 7th century AD (although some now think it dates to the 9th century). Documentary records suggest that the site had ceased to function as a monastic house in AD 949, after which the church became St Mary's, the parish church of Reculver. Much of the original church survives as ruins up to around 2 metres high, incorporated within the later medieval parish church. It was remodelled in the early 12th century and during the 13th century. It was partly demolished in 1805 when the stone was used to construct the new church (also St Mary's) on higher ground at Hillborough, but the twin towers were left. In 1809, the ruined church was bought, repaired and underpinned by Trinity House, and the towers are still used as a navigation mark for shipping. The standing ruins have been subject to modern restoration and repair. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : [TR 22756936] St. Mary's Church [NR] (rems. of) (NAT) (1)

See attached pamphlet. (2)

Reculver Church is as described in Authy. 2. It is under the guardianship of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works.
GP/AO/63/121/7.
Published survey 25" revised; q.v. TR 26 NW 1. (3)

Additional bibliography. (4-20)

Additional bibliography - not consulted. (21-26)

Historical records indicate that an Anglo-Saxon monastery was founded in around AD 669, when Egbert, King of Kent, granted Reculver to Bassa for the foundation of a minster church. The church was built near the centre of the earlier fort (TR 26 NW 1), probably around the site of an early wayside preaching cross, the base of which was found in 1927. The cross base, now at Canterbury Cathedral along with other fragments of Saxon masonry from the church, has been dated to the early 7th century AD (although some now think it dates to the 9th century). Documentary records suggest that the site had ceased to function as a monastic house in AD 949, after which the church became St Mary's, the secular parish church of Reculver. Much of the original extent of the Anglo-Saxon monastery has been destroyed by coastal erosion. (27-28)

The church survives as standing ruins up to around 2 metres high, incorporated within the later medieval parish church. The church was remodelled in the early 12th century and during the 13th century. The now disused parish church was partly demolished in 1805. In 1809, the ruined church was bought, repaired and underpinned by Trinity House, and the twin towers are still used as a navigation mark for shipping. The standing ruins have been subject to modern restoration and repair. (29)

Full description of the cross-base, discussion of the final form of the cross, and other fragments alleged to form part of it. Two 7th century columns from the church are in Canterbury Cathedral along with the five fragments of cross-shaft. (30)

A brief history and description. (31)

The south doorway in the 1870s St Mary's Church (Listed Building 170745; NGR TR2122460040) at Hillborough, is a 13th-century one reused from the ancient church at Reculver and has a multi-moulded arch and keeled nook-shafts with simple foliage capitals. (32)

Description of church and its history (33)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1961
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ministry of Works. 1961. Reculver
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Russell Larkby J and Grayling F. The Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist
Page(s) : 22-32, 253-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9
Source Number : 12
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Source details : JB Sheppard
Page(s) : 369-73
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1, 1861
Source Number : 13
Source : Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland
Source details : CC Hodges
Page(s) : LIII
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1890-5
Source Number : 14
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : HM Taylor
Page(s) : 291-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 125, 1968
Source Number : 15
Source : The arts in early England, volume 2. Anglo-Saxon architecture
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Anglo-Saxon architecture : volume 3
Source details :
Page(s) : 1109
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : CR Radford
Page(s) : 121-22
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 130
Source Number : 18
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details : DM Wilson and DG Hurst
Page(s) : 161
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1970
Source Number : 19
Source : The Antiquaries journal : journal of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Source details : HM Taylor
Page(s) : 53
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 53, 1973
Source Number : 20
Source : The archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England
Source details :
Page(s) : 115,163,164,167,168,000,000,000,000
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 AC 04-DEC-63
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 21
Source : Collectanea Antiqua: etchings and notices of ancient remains, illustrative of the habits, customs and history of past ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 222
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6, 1868
Source Number : 22
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Tanner's Notitia Monastica 1787 Kent XLVIII (Naismith)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 23
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Dugdale W. 1846. Monasticon Anglicaum
Page(s) : 454-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 24
Source : English Romanesque architecture before the conquest
Source details :
Page(s) : 23-Apr
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 25
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Trans Aber Ex Soc III 90 Part 9
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 26
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Antiq and Topo Cabinet 4 1808 (J Storer)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 27
Source : Continuity and colonization : the evolution of Kentish settlement
Source details :
Page(s) : 187-205
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 28
Source : Richborough and Reculver, Kent
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 29
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 19-Mar-99
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 30
Source : Corpus of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture, volume 4 : south-east England
Source details :
Page(s) : 151-161
Figs. :
Plates : 111-138
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : E Gilbert
Page(s) : 153
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 1947
Source Number : 31
Source : Heritage Unlocked: London and the South East
Source details :
Page(s) : 38-41
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 32
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Canterbury, 14-MAY-1975 [Incorporates medieval architectural fragments from the church at Reculver]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 33
Source : Richborough and Reculver
Source details :
Page(s) : 24-26
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : CR Peers
Page(s) : 241-56
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 77, 1927
Source Number : 6
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 135-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3, 1860
Source Number : 7
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : G Dowker
Page(s) : 248-68
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12, 1878
Source Number : 8
Source : The archaeological news letter
Source details : E Martin-Clarke
Page(s) : 123
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2, 1949-50
Source Number : 9
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : JT Micklethwaite
Page(s) : 298-9,380
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 53, 1896
Source Number : 10
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Kent, volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 141-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Founded around AD 669
Monument End Date : 669
Monument Start Date : 669
Monument Type : Monastery, Minster, Column
Evidence : Ruined Building, Architectural Component
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early C9
Monument End Date : 832
Monument Start Date : 801
Monument Type : Cross
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Ceased to be minster in 949
Monument End Date : 949
Monument Start Date : 949
Monument Type : Minster, Monastery
Evidence : Ruined Building, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : After 949
Monument End Date : 949
Monument Start Date : 949
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Ruined Building, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Enlarged early 12th century
Monument End Date : 1132
Monument Start Date : 1101
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Enlarged 13th century
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1201
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Partly demolished in 1805
Monument End Date : 1805
Monument Start Date : 1805
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Repaired in 1809
Monument End Date : 1809
Monument Start Date : 1809
Monument Type : Church, Landmark Tower
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Modern restoration
Monument End Date : 1999
Monument Start Date : 1901
Monument Type : Church
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Monastery, Minster, Column
Object Type :
Object Material : Limestone
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Cross
Object Type :
Object Material : Limestone

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : AA079995
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : KE 27
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 31399
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 76727
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Kent)
External Cross Reference Number : TR 26 NW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : OP00671
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : AA079996
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : OP00670
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : AA079994
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 210
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TR 26 NW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 467087
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : ST MARY'S CHURCH, RECULVER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1870-01-01
End Date : 1879-12-31
Associated Activities : ST MARY'S CHURCH, RECULVER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1926-01-01
End Date : 1927-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON TR 26 NW 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1963-12-04
End Date : 1963-12-04
Associated Activities : ST MARY'S CHURCH, RECULVER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14