Copyright Kent Past 2010

Kent Past

The History of Kent

Home Towns & Villages Time-Line Articles Kent Past Times Contact

Leave your email address to receive Kent Past Times free every month

View Larger Map

Seasalter comes from the Old English ‘Sæ’ meaning a ‘lake, sea’ and ‘salt-ærn’ as a building ‘where salt is made or sold’; therefore, ‘salt-works on the sea’. The Domesday Book chronicles Seasalter as Seseltre.

In 1799, Edward Hasted describes Seasalter as being ‘in an obscure out of the way situation, bounded by the sea northward, but the large tract of marshes which adjoin it westward, as well as the badness of the water, make it very unhealthy.

Seasalter Old Church is a Grade: II listed building, and dedicated to Saint Alphege, although, originally a Saxon building dedicated to St Peter. Following the murder of Archbishop Alphege, by the Danes in 1012, his body initially lay in St Paul’s Cathedral. However, King Canute decided his remains should be returned to Canterbury. The saint’s body travelled, by ship, to Seasalter where it rested, for three days in the church, before continuing its journey to Canterbury. While the body rested at Seasalter, in 1023, the dedication of the church changed to St Alphege. In 1099, a storm caused the coastline to change and in so doing, destroyed the church.

Edward Hasted notes that following ‘the great storm, which happened on Jan. 1, 1779, there was discovered among the beach on the sea shore, at Codhams corner, about half a mile westward of the present church, the stone foundations of a large long buildings, lying due east and west, supposed to have been the remains of the antient church of Seasalter. Many human bones were likewise uncovered, by the shifting of the beach, both within and about it, all of which that could be found, were collected together and buried in the church-yard of Seasalter; but those which have been since uncovered remain at this time sticking up an end among the beach.

The Normans built a new church on higher ground during the 12th century. Following the expansion of Whitstable as a fishing port, and with the Seasalter church being in a poor condition, the parishioners decided to build a new church at Whitstable. In 1845, the architect H Marshall built a new church in the expanding town, and demolished much of the old church to provide the building materials for the new St Alphege. The remaining chancel he converted into a burial chapel.

History of Seasalter