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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 9 May 2010

 

 

Dover Part 6: Churches of Deal & Walmer

Deal Spiritualist Church Centre

Deal Spiritualist Church Centre is on the western side of Mill Hill, close to the St Richard's Road junction. There was a small gathering of Christian Spiritualists in Deal (mostly miners' wives) before the Second World War, who used to meet in each others' houses. After the war, they collected funds in small amounts until they could afford a building of their own, which opened in 1952. Refurbishments in 2010 saw the side windows sealed up and a new entrance fitted.

St Richard's Church Centre

St Richard's Church Centre is on the eastern side of Mill Hill, close to the junction with St Richard's Road. It opened as St Richard's Church, probably in the 1950s, but low parishioner numbers at the end of the twentieth century faced it with the prospect of closing down. Instead, the church found a new lease of life when on 18 February 2010 the Mill Hill Community Centre Group was launched at the centre. Regular services were still held at the normal times.

Old St Mary's Church

Old St Mary's Church in Upper Walmer is more correctly known as The Church of the Blessed Mary of Walmer. It occupies a large area of land on the southern side of Church Street which includes the old churchyard. The nave of the church and the adjoining manor house were probably built around 1120 by one of the d'Auberville family. The ruins of the manor house are still visible against the north wall of the churchyard. The chancel was added in the thirteenth century.

Old St Mary's Church

In 1192, Sir William d'Auberville founded Langdon Abbey, and gave the church to it. After the Reformation it went to the archbishop of Canterbury. As the parish grew the church became too small. In 1816 the nave's north wall was demolished and a large, square extension added, but it was not enough and St Mary's New Church was built in 1888. In 1898 the square extension was removed and the church restored. The old bell tower was later replaced by a turret.

Walmer Chapel

Walmer Chapel is on the northern side of Station Road, opposite the Green. Its date of construction is unknown, but a date around the 1980s or 1990s would probably be close to the mark. It houses a small Evangelical Free church which is not attached to any denominational structure, being fully independent and self-governing. It is probably affiliated to the FIEC (the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches), and also plays host to a parent and toddler group.

Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart

The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart is on the north-east corner of Dover Road and Gram's Road. This Gothic chapel was part of the Convent of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary which stood immediately behind the church (on the right here). Founded in 1875 by refugees from Poland and Germany, the main convent building was completed in 1881, followed by the chapel, designed by Pugin, in 1890. The order left Walmer in 1971 and the convent was demolished in 1982.

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