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History of Dymchurch

Dymchurch comes from the Old English ‘dema’ meaning ‘judge’ and ‘cirice’ as ‘church’; therefore, ‘judge’s church’. In the middle ages, Dymchurch was the seat of government for Romney Marsh.


Dymchurch parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The Normans built the church, consisting of a nave and chancel, in the mid-12th century. The church remained virtually unchanged for nearly 700 years. In 1552, there is a record of two bells, with Christopher Hodson adding three more in 1685. In 1799, Edward Hasted described the church as consisting of ‘one isle and one chancel, having a low pointed steeple at the west end, in which hang five bells’. In 1821, the Georgians extended the church and added a gallery. Further repairs mainly to windows happened in 1927. By 1887, only the three Hodson bells remained…. more


In the 12th Century, a body called Lex Marisci received the right to self-governing of the land in the area; in exchange, for people keeping the sea wall maintained. In 1250, the Jurats of the Level of Romney Marsh, an ancient organisation whose headquarters existed at
Dymchurch, received the benefit of autonomy in exchange for maintaining the sea wall. All local residents had to pay the Scott Tax, as a means of funding the on-going maintenance of the sea wall. People living just outside the boundary, did not have to pay and had got away ‘Scott Free’.

As part of the Napoleonic defences of England in the early 1800's, the government installed three 
Martello towers and a Redoubt, at Dymchurch, together with the Royal Military Canal, to protect against invasion. At the time, the only people who lived in Dymchurch were a few fishermen, or smugglers. 

On 16 July 1927, the 
Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway opened a station at Dymchurch. During WW2, the army requisitioned the line, with the commanding officer making his headquarters at Dymchurch.