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(The Romans and the sea wall)

Name Derivation

General Details

Dymchurch lies on the A259 Hastings to Folkestone road between Hythe and St Marys Bay .

The Dymchurch wall (sea defences) were built by the Romans to protect their harbour at Port Lympne they run for about 4 miles and were about 20 ft high.

The Saxons were here between 400 - 1000 AD see the place name derivation, possibly using the area as an execution site for criminals.

The effect of this wall together with the Rhee Wall they erected between New Romney and Appledore ensured that the rich alluvial land deposited by the river Limen ( Rother ) initially used as salt pans, slowly through time became rich and fertile farmland.

The Normans built the small parish church of St Peter and St Paul, and it still keeps its ancient feel.

In the 1100's the right to the self governing of the land in this area was given to a body called Lex Marisci, in exchange for these people to keep the sea wall maintained. In 1250 saw the creation of the Jurats of the Level of Romney Marsh , an ancient organisation who like the Cinque Ports were allowed the privilege of governing themselves in exchange for the sea wall maintenance, its headquarters were at Dymchurch.

The church has been used for storing smuggled goods as were most of the others on Romney Marsh . This started in the reign of Edward I, about 1300, when a customs duty was placed on the export of wool, which was in great demand in Europe.

Dymchurch was part of the Napoleonic defenses of England in the early 1800's. Two Martello towers were built in the Village act as a deterrent to Napoleon invading.
At the time, the only people who lived here were a few fishermen, or smugglers.

In 1908 Walter Jerrold described the village as quiet scattered village and a delightful place far from the madding crowd.

The book Dr Syn written by Russell Thorndike helps to give the feel of the marshes, its smuggling and owling, the church described in the book is that in Dymchurch .

On the 16th July 1927, the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (RHDR) a narrow gauge railway was opened, during the war the army requisitioned the line and Dymchurch station became the Commanding Officer's base. The armoured train was based near here.

The railway was built by Captain J. E. P. Howey and Count Louis Zborowski to serve the local population and tourist trade, it stretches for nearly 14 miles from Hythe through Dymchurch , St Marys Bay ,its base at New Romney ,Romney Sands and then to the fishermens cottages and lighthouses at Dungeness . It is still a major tourist attraction and well worth a visit. (Click here for the Official RHDR site)

Today Dymchurch is a bustling holiday centre with its Amusement Arcades and attractions.

St Peter & St Paul is one of those churches supported by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust .


Dymchurch is quite a large village which spreads along the A259 it has a wide range of services , and is mostly geared towards the holidaymaker.

The nearest main shopping centre is in Folkestone about 6 miles to the East.


From the top of the Dymchurch wall there are fine views of the White Cliffs at Folkestone and Dover. To the north are the hills near Lympne . In the distance to the west lies the bulk of the nuclear power stations at Dungeness .

The Martello tower in the village is open to the public during the summer and is quite interesting.

The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway has a stop in the village which will carry visitors to Dungeness , New Romney , St Marys Bay and Hythe by miniature steam train.

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