Searching for Hampshire's English Roots


St. Nicholas Church in New Romney, England

Appendix to Part 3 of a series of articles exploring the connection between
our Hampshire County and Lord Fairfax, and his England.

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Church of St. Nicholas

In the Domesday Book of 1086 Romney is listed as having five churches. The only one that remains today is the Church of St. Nicholas. It is perhaps the oldest complete building in New Romney. Dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, it was begun in the early 1100s by William the Conqueror's brother-in-law, Bishop Odo. Its tower was begun probably in the same century. Then in the 13th and 14th centuries the tower was raised and the church expanded. Today one can see the progress of the centuries by the change in architectural styles throughout the building. Stout Norman pillars and rounded windows are set alongside transitional and early Gothic arches. Interestingly, the Caen stone for the church was brought from France. This gives us some indication of both the wealth and trading power of Romney that allowed shipping stone across the English Channel. The floor has several tomb markers; the earliest brass marker is dated 1375.

Photo Album for New Romney

Timeline for St. Nicholas Church, New Romney
  • 55 B.C. Julius Caesar scouted Romney Marsh bay as a landing site for his contemplated invasion of Britain
  • 740 a grant of King Ethelbert mentions the oratory of St. Martin located at Romney (probably New Romney, see: The Sea and the Marsh p. 14).
  • 1066 William the Conqueror is turned away from a Romney Marsh landing by local boats; he goes west to land near Hastings.
  • c. 1140s-1150s The building of St. Nicholas Church in New Romney is thought to have begun under William the Conqueror's half-brother, Bishop Odo.
  • c. 1160s work seems to have stopped on building of St. Nicholas
  • c. late 1180s work starts again in tower of St. Nicholas in new Gothic style
  • 1287 the greatest storm of a series of storms buries New Romney under about a meter of shale it washes in from the English Channel.
  • 1575 Queen Elizabeth grants a Royal Charter of Incorporation to New Romney
  • 1762 The Town of Romney, Virginia, is established.
  • 1863 Romney, Virginia becomes Romney, West Virginia, with the establishment of West Virginia during the Civil War.

   The History of St. Nicholas, New Romney by Joan Campbell; PCC and Friends of St. Nicholas, New Romney, 2010.
   "Churches in a Maritime Landscape" by Nathalie Cohen; The Romney March Irregular, no. 31, Spring 2008.

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Hampshire County and its County Town - Not Available Yet

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Old Romney, New Romney and Our Romney

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Forts, Towns and a Home on the Frontier