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Dr Syn

All Saints Church - Burmarsh

Canterbury Diocese


Image by John Hendy


Church Services at Burmarsh - Click here for Services at Burmarsh


Priest in Charge Revd. Julie Coleman, The Vicarage, North Street, New Romney TN28 8DR - Tel: 01797 362308


Click here to email Julie

Please telephone Julie for Baptisms, Weddings and Banns at Burmarsh or for any

pastoral concern which you would like to discuss

  •  Churchwardens: Malcolm Wood and Heather Bateman 

  •  PCC Secretary: Janet Andrew

  •  PCC Treasurer: Gina Hyson

  •  Magazine Editor: Mike Worthington to email: click here

  •  Magazine Advertising: Mike Worthington

  •  Web-site: Mike Worthington

  •  Sacristans: Malcolm Wood

  •  Church keys: Available from the Shepherd & Crook Inn next door to the church

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 Read the brief guide to All Saints Church, Burmarsh, by scrolling down the page


Burmarsh flower festival

Here are just a few of the flower entries taken by John Hendy

WE WOULD LIKE to say a  huge "Thank you", to the flower ladies who made our Church look amazing during the Flower Festival weekend. Our theme of Musicals was well received by the people who were delighted to discover the additions that were added to the arrangements to enhance the displays. Thanks also to Sue and Barrie who organised the excellent Tombola; Robert and Celia who lent us their 'pop-up' gazebos and extra tables for the large numbers of plants that were donated. Without the help of others who made the tea, washed up, cleaned up, moved tables and chairs, not to mention pews, the weekend would not have run so smoothly. Finally, without the generosity of those who gave us sponsor money to buy the flowers, we would not have made the magnificent total of £1300.  Heather Bateman & Gina Hyson





Sturdy and squat, the church of All Saints lies off the beaten track in the small village of Burmarsh. Set amongst  yew, sycamore and chestnut trees, and beyond a drainage dyke, it has watched over the village for over 800 years since being built by the monks from Canterbury after the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066.  William had tactfully made his elder (and legitimate)  brother Odo Archbishop and had given him plenty of land.  Many of the churches on the Romney Marsh date from that time. 

Even before the arrival of the French, the Saxons were Christian and it is thought that the present Norman church was built on the site of an earlier small Saxon church.  To the right of the porch, the south wall is buttressed and one has the idea that the church has had several repairs and restorations during its long life.  The tower also has two large strengthening buttresses, set at unusual angles at the outer corners.

The porch dates from the nineteenth century and the 17th century  benches were brought out from the church and installed when it was re-ordered; it replaces an earlier porch.   In the early years the porch was a very important part of the church;  significant people would be buried as close as possible;  the village school would have been held here;  part of the marriage service was held here;  and certain notices affixed so that all could be aware of them.

Before going into the church, stop and look at the Norman arch encasing the door.  With the exception of the two arches infilling it, presumably added to reduce the rush of cold air in the winter, it is exactly the same as the Norman arches in the south and west walls in Dymchurch church. In Burmarsh a strange head or gargoyle looks out from the top of the arch and there is another, but in very weathered condition, over the window above the west door.  Another example of Norman work is the small window in the north wall in the chancel.  Other windows have been altered or added over the years.

At the end of the nineteenth century the interior of the church was modernised during the time of Rector J. C. W. Valpy (1876-1881) and the old box pews and three-tier pulpit and sounding board were turned out.  For the previous 200 years the interior would have looked very like the interior of Fairfield today.  Before that, there would have been no seats in the church and the congregation would have stood during the services.  Two mediaeval scratch dials  exist on the south wall between the porch and the tower, where the priest would have placed a twig or small piece of wood to indicate the time of the next service.  In the middle ages the decorative chevron moulding adorning the Norman arches would have been painted brightly and pictures would have been painted on the plaster below them.

Dividing the chancel from the nave is a fine screen erected as a memorial to two Burmarsh men lost in the first world war, Albert Butcher and Simeon Beale.  It is likely that in earlier years a rood screen was on the same site;  evidence would be from indents in the stone work, but in this case it lies in various fifteenth century Wills.  The wooden reredos under the East window was installed at the end of  the nineteenth century.  The painted inscriptions on the cross beams were added by the Rector, the Revd Edmund Ibbotson  (1897-1902)  and his churchwarden Albert Checksfield.  It is interesting to note that Albert Checksfield and his cousin Percy were both churchwardens. 

The stained-glass East window is believed to have been in memory of a former rector who was thrown from his horse and found drowned.  I believe this to be Henry J. Borckhardt who died in 1876 at the age of 53 and is buried in the churchyard.  The window is believed to have been made by the London firm of Clayton & Bell.

Association with the medical profession is evident:   it is known that the Royal College of Physicians were landowners in the early nineteenth century. A large plaque on the north wall is in memory of Edward Coleman, born in Burmarsh in 1764 who died at the Royal Veterinary  College in London in 1830 – in fact most of the memorials in the church are associated with the Coleman family.  In addition, William Harvey (1578-1657) physician and discoverer of the circulation of blood, was a native of Folkestone and regularly visited his aunt who lived in Burmarsh.

The bell tower measures about 12ft by 10ft at ground level  and is an important part of the church, holding six bells:  a Tenor and 2nd, dated 1899 made by Mears and Steibank, 5th and Treble,  1926, by the same makers, the 4th and 3rd late fourteenth century probably by William Burford of London.  In addition,  one of the three mediaeval bells which was cracked stands in the nave near the screen.  It bears the Royal Arms of England and the foundry mark of a foliate tree indicating it was cast by the royal bellfounder.   Known as the Magdalene bell, it is inscribed    NOMEN MAGDALENE CAMPANA GERIT MELODIE and weighs 8 cwt.  The bells have recently had new ropes costing over £1,000, the money raised by local children and visiting bellringers.

The font is on the left of the main door;  it is lead lined and the base supporting it has eight sides. On the south wall nearby hangs the eighteenth century Royal Arms, not dated to a specific year the date is merely George III (G 3rd R).  This would have been the only decoration allowed in the church at that time and would have reminded parishioners that the King was head of the Church of England.  It is possible that the date would have been written on the frame;  it is likely to have been before 1801, the Treaty of Amiens, because the French fleur de lys is still included in the quartering.  Other coats of Arms signed by the same artist  “J. Marten, Tenterden” may be found at Upper Hardres, Hinxhill and at Staplehurst.

The most recent work was carried out in the last years of the twentieth century when the lead roof over the nave was taken away, recast and replaced;  the battlements above the south wall were replaced with  diamond-cut and distressed  Kentish Ragstone quarried in Cheriton at Nicholls Ragstone quarry.  Some of the funds for this work were raised by the villagers and some given by  English Heritage.  The total cost was £135,000 – a huge amount for a small village to find.  A source of annoyance also is that only two-thirds of this sum was spent on the actual building while one-third went on VAT and fees.

Although each generation has made changes and alterations, the church remains an oasis of quiet and peace, in silent witness to
God – silent that is, unless the bellringers, either locals, or visiting, are making a joyful noise.


J. V. Holmes                                                                  


 Important Burmarsh Dates



Thomas Lane (Rector)
1623 Anthony Fenton (Rector)
1631 Thomas Heylin (Rector)
1632 Arthur Coythmore (Rector)
James Burnett(Rector)
1640 Alexander Burnett (Rector)
1661 James Watts (Rector)
1662 George Jones (Rector) died in 1706.  Also Vicar of Sittingbourne also presented
as Vicar of Bapchild.  Built a house at Burmarsh
1666 Henry Hurt (Curate)  also Rector of St Mary in the Marsh, he lived at Ashford
for some time and was married in Burmarsh in 1672 His son Noel was baptised

in Ashford Church. His wife and nephew buried in the Chancel of Burmarsh Church,

1672. He then lived in New Romney and was buried at St Mary's in 1699.

1667 A new burial ground was consecrated at Burmarsh in March 1667
1699 Edward Wace (Curate) also Rector of St Mary's
1706 Samuel Wightwick (Rector) also Rector of Kingsnorth where he resided.
1708 John Moneywood (Rector) also Vicar of Petham and Waltham.
He built the parsonage house  at Burmarsh; lived at Petham.
1714 Laud Cade (Curate) also Vicar of Sellinge
1729 William Gurney (Curate)  also Curate of Dymchurch
1730 Henry Bagnall (Curate)  Also Vicar of Lympne and rector of Frittenden
1737 John Head (Rector) also Vicar of Sellinge
1754 John Powell (Curate)
1754 Richard Smith (Rector) also Vicar of Alkham
1756 Edward Wilson (Curate)
1758 Robert Tournay (Curate)
1761 Henry Friend (Curate)
1762 Edward Sedgewick (Curate)
1772 William Wing Fowle (Rector) Vicar of Snargate
1784 John Charles Beckingham (Curate) was inducted by G. Bryant, Curate of New Romney
1788 Henry Pix Hayman
1790 William Tournay(Curate)
1790 Stephen Tucker (Curate)
1795 Richard Sharpe (Curate)
1796 Copy of baptism Register sent to the Visitation
1797 J. Bell (Curate) Smallpox epidemic in 1799
1801 John Troughton (Curate)
1805 Thomas Wilkinson (Curate)
1806 G. Powell (Curate)
1809 Ralph Price (Curate)  James Carpenter (Rector) also Rector of Ivychurch. Wm Webster
of Dymchurch also helps occasionally
1810 J. Tims (Curate)  Population:  Burmarsh 96, Eastbridge 21.
Poor rate 2/6 in the £ (1812)
1814 Charles James Blenkarne (Curate)  Occasional help given by Wm Webster, W. Ramsey
and B. Davies, Rector of Newchurch
1816 J. Bell (Curate) also Vicar of Lympne
1819 £2. 2s. Subscribed to Dymchurch Sunday School
1820 Parish movement to restore Spiritual Life
1823 The two guinea subscription transferred back to Burmarsh and Burmarsh Sunday School began.
Purchase of Pewter Vessels for the church.
1825 R. Cobb (Rector)  2/6 per week paid towards "Learning the Inhabitants to sing in Church until
the next Parish Meeting"
1826 Church Porch built.  Revival of worship goes on.
1828 Two families emigrate to America.  Four adults and eight children £100 granted
1840 William Hooker (Curate)  Public meetings for Overseers close and re-open as a Vestry meeting,
Nov. 10, 1840
1850 Henry Borckhardt (Curate)  The Rural Dean Rev Richard Baldock
visits the church and finds all in good order
1870 Henry Borckhardt (Rector) 1872 Vestry Meeting adjourned to the Shepherd and Crook Inn.
1876 John Clay Worthington Valpy (Rector) inducted May 17 by the Rev Richard Baldock
1877 August 14 Meeting at the Church to consider the necessity of the Restoration of the church
and expediency of obtaining a Faculty for the same.  Agreed necessary Faculty obtained for
1.  Removing old Pews in the aforesaid church
2.  Restoring old roofs
3.  Removing and refixing Monuments and Tablets if necessary
4.  Pulling up old paving
5.  Removing Reading Desk and Pulpit
6.  Renovating certain windows
7.  Removing reredos and Altar Rails
8.  Readjusting Headstones in the churchyard
1879 The Bishop of Dover reopens the church on June 24.  Services during the restoration period had
been held in the Shepherd and Crook. In July a Confirmation was held in the Church, nineteen
candidates were presented including six from Lympne
1882 J. L Cotter (Rector)  Dr Cotter was inducted Jan. 17, 1882 by Rev. J. B. Blowfield, Rector of
Aldington and rural Dean.  He had been incumbent of St Paul's Liverpool
1886 A large and handsome Bible presented by J. Kemp Coleman, Esq., of London.  Also a Prayer Book
1887 A communion Book presented by Sharpe, Esq.
1886 May 27.  Visitation by the Rural Dean, Rev G. Hope Robertson, Rector of Smeeth.
1.  The Church should be insured against Fire.
2.  The Tower and Belfry should be cleaned of all rubbish and the
entrance of birds prevented by netting
3.  The Parish Chest should be clean of useless paper. Old Parchments examined to see if
they contain bequests of land to the parish.  The chest should be kept in the rectory.
4.  An inventory of Church Property should be made lest anything be lost of the things inside the Church
1887 October 5.  The rural Dean again visited the Church and found his recommendations carried out. 
Owing to illness, the Rector was absent for three months.  The Rev Henry Parker from St Mary's 
performed the Sunday Duties, and the Rev Charles Eaton Plater, Rector of Dymchurch, visited
the sick and poor.
1890 G. Victor Macdona (Rector).  Pop. Civil Parish 243, ecc. 139 Surpliced Choir introduced 1891.
June 7, choral communion started
1894 Services held in Church five days a week.  Children attend Dymchurch school
1895 A curtain hung behind the Altar. May 26, Sunday School re-opened with 5 children
1897 Edmund Ibbotson (Rector)  Instituted by Dr Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury. Inducted Aug 30
by the Rev T. F. Dixon, Rural Dean and Rector of Willesborough.  Inventory of property taken.
Sept 30 Public meeting held to consider the dangerous condition of the bells in the Belfry.
Parish magazine started.  Dedication Festival observed.
1899 Feb 4 Old Bells re-hung and two new ones dedicated.  Hythe Ringers ring a Peal £204.18s.3d  
collected. The Tower was also restored.  Twenty-six boys and thirteen girls in the Sunday School
Severe gales and snow.  A kite was blown over from France and subsequently restored to its
owner in the Pas de Calais. Memorial Service to Queen Victoria
1900 Fifty-four children in the Sunday School Fifty-one communicants on Easter Day New Reredos put
 up and stencilling on the beams
1901 J. W. Davidson (Curate)
1902 Charles James Oliphant (Rector) inducted April 4 by the Rural Dean, Rev. F. Dixon. 
 Visited by the Bishop of Croydon
1910 Memorial Service for King Edward, May 10
1912 Mission held in the Parish by Rev F. D. Robinson
1917 Visit by Bishop Brent of the Philippines
1923 Dedication of the War Memorial Screen by the Archdeacon of Maidstone, August 2
1926 The Rev C. J. Oliphant resigned.  Duties carried out by various clergy, mostly Rev A. L. Brine
June 29  The Patronage of the Benefice exchanged with that of Ivychurch. Thje Crown received
that of Ivychurch valued at £44.16s.8d. Per year and the Archbishop of Canterbury receiving
1927 Aug 5  The benefice of Burmarsh was united with Dymchurch and the Rev Gordon Cuming, Rector
of Dymchurch, instituted to Burmarsh by the Rev Percy Collins, Rector of Lydd and Rural Dean
1931 Dedication of Children's Corner, Nov 8
1934 Angus Forbes Simons (Rector) instituted by the Rev. A. MacMichael, Rector of New Romney
and Rural Dean.
1934 Alfred Wayment (Curate)  
1936 Memorial Service for King George V, Jan 26
1937 Robert Douglas Bruce (Curate).  Oct 11-16 Mission Week, conducted by the Rev. R. G. Cooper
1939 Sept 3 War declared on Germany.  First Air Raid Warning First bombs dropped near Forty Acre Farm
1940 Rev R. D. Bruce leaves.  Rectory taken over by the Military Authorities. During the war years,
work assisted by Army Chaplains and other occasional help. Church Hall also commandeered and
church blacked out. Sunday afternoon services instituted.  Church came through undamaged
except for a bullet through one of the windows
1945 Thanksgiving Services for Victory over Germany were held on VE Day, May 8 and the bells were
rung and again on the following Sunday. On August 15,VJ day, the Victory over Japan was
celebrated with the return of peace. The bells were rung and Thanksgiving Services on the day
and on the following Sunday.
One Burmarsh woman, Mrs Alma Baker, had been killed in an Air Raid at Hythe.



If you would like to make a donation towards the upkeep of any of these four wonderful churches then please telephone


Priest in Charge  The Vicarage, North Street, New Romney TN28 8DR - Tel: 01797 362308


Please telephone for Baptisms, Weddings and Banns at Dymchurch or for any pastoral concerns which you would like to discuss.