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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 February 2011



Dover Part 10: Churches of Dover

Our Lady of Pity & St Martin Catholic Church

Our Lady of Pity & St Martin Catholic Church stood on the western side of Snargate Street, about seventy-five metres (yards) from the Grand Shaft. Also known as Our Lady of Dover, the church was built in 1905-1906, and was dedicated on 29 March 1906. It closed in 1940 and the building remained empty before being sold in 1960. It is now occupied by Smye Rumsby, but the former church has been knocked through to the building on the right to double its size.

Pentside Baptist Mission

Pentside Baptist Mission opened somewhere around this point on Snargate Street. Shortly after Dover General Baptist Church was opened on Adrian Street, a gift was given to start a Particular Baptist Church, and a former chemist shop in Snargate Street was rented and fitted out for public worship. Founded in 1823, it overlooked the old quayside, close to the swingbridge. It was still there in 1900 but was later demolished and its members moved to Queen Street Chapel.

Snargate Street Wesleyan Chapel

Snargate Street Wesleyan Chapel stood here, on the western side of Snargate Street, immediately next to the Grand Shaft. Methodists began worshipping at The Pier in Elizabeth Square (now gone), before moving to this larger site. The chapel's foundation stone was laid on 3 June 1834 and four months later the building was completed. The ornate entrance was rebuilt following the building of the new A20 road, but the chapel was closed in 1962 and later demolished.

Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church stood on the north-western side of Strond Street. Present by 1900, its date of construction is uncertain. Any trace of Strond Street was swept away by the building of Limekiln Street, but it existed just a few metres (yards) south of that, overlooking the Harbour Station (closed 1960s). The station-master's house is between the church and the railway bridge on the left. There also existed a Strong Lane Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1858, now lost.

St John Mariner Church

St John Mariner Church stood on the south-east corner of Blenheim Square, facing Middle Row, which led to Seven Star Street, all of which is now lost under Dover Western Docks. It was built by a Mr Iggulden for Wesleyan Dissenters in 1822 (engraving circa 1841 on the left). It was later used by Independents, and then the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, unsuccessfully. It became an Anglican mission in 1846-1900, but was abandoned and demolished after 1908.

Knights Templar Round Church

The Knights Templar Round Church stands on the southern side of Citadel Road at the junction with Western Close, on the secluded Western Heights. Originally known as the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, the Knights Templar originated in Jerusalem in 1118. This church was one of their earliest properties when the Order reached England in 1128, built possibly as a last place to ask for a blessing before setting sail. The chancel is nearest the camera.

Knights Templar Round Church

The church was modelled on the Templar headquarters on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The floorplan also matches that of the Temple Church in London. It seems mostly likely that the Templars built their Preceptory at Temple Ewell before opening the Round Church on land they owned on the Heights. The tower may have served as a landmark for shipping. Its remains were discovered during the construction of the 1806 fortifications in preparation for invasion by France.

Belgrave Road Methodist Chapel

Belgrave Road Methodist Chapel is on the eastern side of the street, just north of Longfield Road, in the Maxton district. In 1874, the Round Tower Street Chapel was built near where Methodists had their first preaching place in Dover. But when the Dover & Deal Railway was built in 1879, the chapel was purchased and demolished. The displaced members used a hall in Snargate Street until they were able to built the present chapel in 1882. It closed in the early 2000s.

Maxton Tabernacle

Maxton Tabernacle filled a plot between Folkestone Road and Churchill Road in Maxton. The Reverend Thomas Russell, one of the pioneers of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, built the Barnsley-Smith House in 1874 (on the right here), and the tabernacle on the land behind it. Also known as Barnsley Smith Tabernacle, most of it was demolished, although a stub remains (the white section at the back of the house) while a block of flats was built over the rest.

St Martin of Tours

St Martin of Tours is Maxton's parish church, lying inside the steeply-rising v-junction formed by Church Road and Cow Lane (at the tree line). The church was probably erected between 1890-1910, if not a little later. It has never had its own burial ground, as churchyards ceased to be used in the mid-1800s. Also in Dover was a Friends Meeting House (Quakers), in an end-of-terrace house purchased in 1955, opened in 1858, and converted to a private dwelling about 1974.

Three photos on this page contributed by Dover History Scrapbook.

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