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The History of Kent

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History of Ramsgate

Ramsgate comes from the Old English ‘geat’ meaning ‘gate, gap’ with either ‘Hraefn’ as a warlord or ‘Hraefn’ as ‘of the raven’; therefore, either ‘Hraefn’s gate’ or ‘gate of the raven’.


Ramsgate’s oldest church is a Grade: I listed building and dedicated to St Laurence. Foundations date to 1062, and originally consisted of the nave and a tower, with the side aisles and chancel added in the 12th and 13th centuries. They heightened the tower around 1439, having been damaged by lightning during a storm. As a young girl, Queen Victoria worshiped at the church.

Construction of
Ramsgate harbour commenced in 1749, and not completed until 1850. It has the distinction of being the only royal harbour in the United Kingdom. Armies used it extensively during the Napoleonic wars as an embarkation point, due to its proximity to France. There are many mass graves from the period in the St Laurence churchyard. 

Following parliamentary approval for the 
South Eastern Railway to create a branch line from Ashford to Margate, Ramsgate Town station opened on 13th April 1846. On 5th October 1863, the  London, Chatham and Dover Railway, opened its station at Ramsgate Harbour. Following rationalisation of the newly formed Southern Railway in 1924, Ramsgate Town station closed…. more