New Romney's parish church is 12th-century Norman with some Gothic additions at the east end. It has a large and attractive exterior, including a stout tower that once overlooked the harbor.

Facts & Stats on New Romney Church

Church of St Nicholas
New Romney Church
New Romney Church (St Nicholas)
St Nicholas Church
319036 Go Historic
1344057 Grade I listed building

Listed Building Description of New Romney Church


church of St. Nicholas

TR 0624 1/49 28.8.51


2. This is the only survivubg Church of the five (three parish mchurches, the Priory and the Hospital) that existed in New Romney in the Medieval Period. The 3 lower stages of the tower and 4 bays of the Nave date from circa 1160-70. the 2 upper stages of the Tower with the corner turrets and octagonal papapet (or remains of spire) are circa 1200. Tthe Easternmost bay of the Nave, the Chancel and the Aisles of the Nave are C14. Piuscina and triple sedilia in the Chancel and both aisles. Early C14 recess in the North Chapel having a depressed arch with big cusping and a frieze of larege 4 pettled flowers. Brasses. Box pews.

Listing NGR: TR0653224750

from The National Heritage List for England
Crown copyright. Reprinted under the Open Government License.

History of New Romney Church

New Romney is one of the Cinque Ports of the southern English coast founded by William the Conqueror in 1066. These five towns - Romney, Hythe, Dover, Sandwich and Hastings - resisted William's initial landings until he bribed them with trading privileges. Romney was the lead port of the five. Cinque Port merchants also enjoyed the right to carry the canopy over the king at his coronation and sit next to him at the coronation banquet. These privileges have since gone the way of history, but the towns still have special duties at coronations.

The Church of St. Nicholas was begun by Bishop Odo, brother-in-law of William the Conqueror, in 1086. But most of it dates from the early 12th century. Constructed of Caen stone by masons from Normandy, the church consisted originally of a nave with clerestory and low-pitched side aisles.

It is quite hard to imagine today since the coast is now a couple of miles away, but at that time the church stood at the head of the harbor and ships were moored at the edge of the churchyard. The tower and nave were regularly crowded with traders conducting business.

In 1287, the great South Coast storm filled the port with four feet of sand and shingle and singlehandedly moved the Rother estuary west to Rye. New Romney was covered in a deep layer of debris and went into decline. But the church survived it all, and still bears witness to the disaster through its below-ground entrance and stained pillars.

In the 13th and 14th centuries, the church was enlarged with a Gothic chancel and two side chapels at the east end. The side aisles were also raised, with the result that the clerestory windows no longer let in sunlight.