St Mary's Church
Rector of the Saxon Shoreline Benefice Reverend Graham Halsall. Tel: 01233 329072
St Mary’s Church lies on the outskirts of the small village of Kenardington, in a rural and beautiful location overlooking Romney Marsh. It acts as a visual beacon in the landscape, and lies on the route of the Saxon Shore Way, linked with nearby Warehorne Church. The church is Grade II* listed and and now comprises a nave with integral chancel, a west tower and south porch. However, the layout is unusual because a lightning strike in 1559 destroyed the original nave, chancel and north aisle of a much bigger church so the present nave we see today is in fact the main part of the earlier 13th century south aisle. Thus the original tower with its distinctive circular stair turret became separated from the church itself internally. The exterior is mostly of Kentish ragstone, with Caen stone dressings to the doorways and windows and plain tiled roofs. Internally the spaces are simple, with exposed timbers in the nave and chancel ceilings.
THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND ROLE OF THE CHURCH
The Vicar and PCC were keen to extend the role of this church to include facilities for retreats and musical events as well as to provide a resting place for walkers using the Saxon Shore Way which is immediately adjacent to the church. However, due to its relatively isolated position, there was no electricity, water or drainage service to the building so these factors limited its potential for development. Services in the winter months were very challenging, as candlelight and portable electric generators provided the only source of heat and light. As the tower was cut off from the other interior parts of the church it was just used for the storage of gardening equipment. Vehicular access to the church was also very restricted. St Mary’s Church is part of a wide rural benefice comprising eight churches including the parishes of Aldington, Bilsington, Bonnington, Orlestone, Hamstreet, Ruckinge and Warehorne.