History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 11 October 2009. Updated 18 December 2011



Canterbury Part 24: Churches of Herne Bay & Herne

The Beacon Church

The Beacon Church lies opposite Bognor Drive on Sea Street, leading out of the town centre in the direction of Whitstable. The church was 'planted' in 1995 by the New Life Christian Community Church (Whitstable) to serve the people of Herne Bay and is highly distinctive, thanks to its steep front-gable which is attached to a far more simple low-roofed brick building at the back. A dressing of knapped flint, typical of Canterbury's older churches, finishes off the frontage.

Herne Bay Evangelical Free Church

Herne Bay Evangelical Free Church is also known as 'The Sunnyhill Church' and is located at 64 Sunnyhill Road, near Grand Drive. Services are held by an 'elder' rather than a priest, in a building which was probably constructed in the 1980s and attached to an earlier building, itself probably built in the fifties. The church was formerly linked to Herne Bay Court, an evangelical Christian holiday and conference centre which existed on Canterbury Road until it closed early in 2008.

St Andrew's Church

St Andrew's Church is on Hampton Pier Avenue, close to the junction with Sea Street, and is the sister church of Christ Church. It was opened to serve the area of Hampton, at the western end of Herne Bay, a sometimes extremely steep section of land which climbs up to the bay, and Stud Hill, which borders it to the west. The Hampton area is filled with post-war detached houses, many of which are bungalows, while Stud Hill contains older, wooden-framed bungalows.

St Peter's at Greenhill

St Peter's at Greenhill is on Herne Drive in Greenhill, part of a relatively new estate of houses put up on Herne Bay's southern boundaries from the 1970s onwards. The church is a hall, complete with stage, which can be used for meetings during the week. On Sundays, the front end is opened up, and it becomes a church. To one side there is a Garden of Remembrance where ashes can be interred. The church is 'twinned' with St Martin's in Herne.

St Martin of Tours Church

St Martin of Tours Church is in the village of Herne, which is the 'mother town' of Herne Bay. There was, without doubt, a much older church on the site than the one that now stands here, and some of its Norman stones, moulded and carved, may be seen in the walls of the porch and west front of the present nave. Deeds of gift of the thirteenth century relate to that church and the churchyard. The new church was constructed in the early part of the fourteenth century.

St Martin of Tours Church

The new church was extremely large for the small village which housed it. However, it is highly possible that a chapel stood in the village and may have been associated with nearby St Mary's Reculver prior to the construction of the existing structure. The tower seems to have been added in about 1350, and has distinctive alternate bands of flint and Kentish ragstone at its base. The church has a beautiful interior, which has been preserved rather than modernised.

Three photos on this page contributed by M Kessler.

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