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(Sluice Gates made by Royal Order)

Name Derivation

General Details

10 miles south east of Tenterden on the B2080 in the heart of the Romney Marsh lies Snargate .

The name of the village has varied over the years from Snergathe to Snergate, and can be traced back to the snare-gate or sluice gates erected here. They were essential in the maintenance of a water-way to the harbour at Romney.

In 1254 during Henry III reign it was directed by Royal order, that a new sluice gate should be made. In 1401 the Jurats of Romney paid 16 10s 9d for the making of a new gate.

The list of Knights Fees in Kent mentions the manor of 'Snergate'.

Admiral Gervase Alard held the manor in 1306, and paid 1/4 of a knights fee. In 1347 when Edward the Black Prince was made a knight, Dionisia Alard paid 1/8th of a fee for the Manor. The famous historian, Halsted, says that in 1369 Agnes Alard, widow, died in posession of this property. There is no other mention of posession of the manor until 1461, when it passed to John Fare of Tonbridge.

Late in the 18th century, the row of cottages in front of the church were used as a workhouse for the poor. The church records show an old bill of 6s 6d paid to Miss Smith for nursing the smallpox victims of the workhouse for three nights, three days and a half.

In 1821 the parish held 15 dwellings and a total population of 93 people.

The parish church is dedicated to St Dunstan, and stands on a man made mound, surrounded by trees. A surprisingly large building, it was erected around 1200 in the Early English style. The interest of the interior was diminished somewhat by the considerable restorations carried out by the Reverend Edward Wilkinson in 1871.

On the north side of the nave stands the font, which has a square bowl and stem. It dates from about 1220, and still retains its original lead lining. It has a flat oak lid which probably dates from the 16th century.

A peculiar feature of this, and other churches in the district, is the lack of a chancel arch.

On the south side of the altar in the east wall lies a 14th century piscina, which fell victim to the Victorian restoration.

The sanctuary rails, made of oak with lovely wrought iron supports are believed to date from the 14th century.

A finely carved Late Stuart chair, made around 1685 can be seen on the north side of the chancel. It is still used by the Bishop officiating at Confirmation Services and other functions.

Opposite the main door, on the north wall is a terracotta coloured painting of a ship of around the year 1500. About 5ft by 4ft the painting was hidden under a layer of whitewash, and was uncovered a few years ago when work was being done on the church. Mrs Baker an authority on mural painting, considered it to be a 16th century work. Her assistant, Mr David Perry, later cleaned and restored it.

The big house behind the church used to be the Rectory. Due to the difficulty of finding a clergyman for every parish the house was sold to a Mr H Clarke in 1918.

St Dunstan at Snargate is one of those churches supported by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust .


Snargate's local services are limited, and New Romney about 4 miles south provides local services.

The nearest train runs from Appledore station on the Hastings to Ashford line, which runs hourly services across the Romney Marsh .


Snargate and the surrounding area
If you park by the church and walk down the lane, the rich farmlands can be seen all around. Watch out for sheep, as there are many in this area.

A walk around the church is quite relaxing, and there is always the local public house to stop at.

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