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St Laurence, St Laurence in Thanet, Ramsgate, Kent

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posted by alias Jelltex on Wednesday 3rd of October 2018 07:17:43 PM

These days, St Laurence sits beside a busy double mini roundabout, surrounded by shots and take aways, it is a place you could easily miss. I have had my eye on htis for some time, but there is always elsewhere to go to on Heritage weekend, so a second weekend of that this year meant that on the second Saturday we were parking the car outside. The church is pretty enough from the outside, but the windows have wire mesh to protect them, but we received a warm welcome as we entered the porch. ----------------------------------------- Very much a village church, set back from the road in the heart of this former agricultural settlement. Now a suburb of Ramsgate it is the original parish church for the later resort. Norman in date, with a fine crossing tower, it is well worth a visit if only for its monuments which record many military men (who passed through the parish during the Napoleonic Wars) and the wealthy eighteenth century visitors who came to Ramsgate for their health and died there. There is a fine Royal Arms of George II over the south door, whilst a twentieth century rood beam emphasises the height of the Norman crossing arch. The chancel is pleasantly empty, with a noble nineteenth century reredos of blank arcading. The south chapel contains an unusual memorial to Sarah Spencer who died in 1745. This poor lady has had so many later members of her family commemorated on her tablet, that there is no room left. Every flat surface has been utilised! Opposite is a little-known but eminently beautiful relief of Henrietta Ashley who died in 1874 carved by the Royal Academician Thomas Woolner. The collection of stained glass has recently been enriched by a window in the north aisle by the Cathedral Studios (1998) which depicts the nearby St Augustine's Cross. It is a simple, dignified and moving attempt to record the 1400th anniversary of the landing of St Augustine which occurred just a couple of miles away. Other stained glass can best be described as curious. The east window was erected as a memorial to Queen Victoria who, we are told, `worshipped in this church` when staying in the area. At the base is a series of panels recording the arrival of St Augustine. One shows the baptism of King Ethelbert in the font of St Martin's Church, Canterbury - a font which wasn't carved until 400 years later! The artist, Alfred Hemming, obviously felt that a font of authentic design would not have been worthy of the subject! The bizarre east window in the south chapel (1902) shows some very sleepy dead being woken at the Last Trump whilst St Peter swings his key impatiently at the gates of Heaven! Not to be missed! ------------------------------------------ ST. LAURENCE. THE PARISH OF ST. LAURENCE lies the next southward from that of St. Peter last described, taking its name from the saint to which the church is dedicated. The ville Ramsgate, within this parish, is within the liberty of the cinque ports; but the rest of the parish is within the hundred of Ringslow and jurisdiction of the justices of the county. The VILLAGE OF ST. LAURENCE, having the church on an hill on the west side of it, is neat and small, being pleasantly situated in the south-east part of this parish, and commands one of the most extensive prospects in this island, as well towards the sea as the neighbouring parts of the county. This parish is about three miles from east to west, and two miles from north to south. The lands in it are more enclosed than the more northern parishes before-described. It is very populous, and has in it several small hamlets, or knots of houses, besides those particularly mentioned before; among which, in the western part of it, are Manston-green, and Spratingstreet; (fn. 1) on the northern, Hains, and Lymington; on the eastern, Hallicandane, and Herson; and towards the south, Great and Little Cliffsend, Chilson, Courtstairs; and adjoining to the sea, Pegwell, alias Courtis a small manor, usually stiled Pegwell, alias Courtstairs, and is an appendage to that of Sheriffs court, in Minster, as has been taken notice of before, in the description of that estate. Adjoining is Courtstairs, alias Pegwell bay, where the inhabitants catch shrimps, lobsters, soles, mullets, &c. and a delicious flat-fish, called a prill, much sought after. At Pegwell there is a neat villa, lately erected by William Garrow, esq. for his occasional residence, and between this place and Ramsgate is another, called Belmont, an elegant building in the gothic taste, late the residence of Joseph Ruse, esq. ¶From this bay to a place called Cliffs-end, instead of chalk, the ground next the sea is a sort of blueish earth, somewhat like Fuller's earth; it is about sixteen feet above the sand, and in it are seen strata of culver and other fish shells, lying in a confused manner, one on the top of the other. This earth has been carried away frequently by people, as Fuller's earth, in great quantities, to dispose of as such; but on a trial it was found very deficient, and not partaking of any quality belonging to it. By the return made by archbishop Parker, in 1563, to the privy council, it appears that there were then here ninety-eight housholds; but this place, owing to the prosperity of Ramsgate, has greatly increased for many years past, insomuch that in 1773, here were in this parish, including Ramsgate, which contains more than two thirds of the houses and inhabitants of the whole parish, 699 houses, and 2726 inhabitants; and in 1792 there were found 825 houses and 3601 inhabitants; which is a great increase for so short a space as nineteen years. (fn. 2) A fair is held here yearly, on August 10, for toys, pedlary, &c. In this parish lived one Joy, who in king William's reign had such a reputation for very extraordinary strength of body, that he was called the English Sampson, and the strong man of Kent, and was taken notice of by the king, royal family, and the nobility, before whom he performed his feats. In 1699 his picture was engraved, and round it several representations of his performances, as pulling against an extraordinary strong horse, breaking a rope, which would bear thirty-five hundred weight, and lifting a weight of 2240lb. He was drowned in 1734. In the month of March, 1764, between Ramsgate and Pegwell in this parish, a part of the cliff, seventy feet high, on the surface of which was a corn field, gave way for about twenty yards in length, and five yards in breadth, and fell into the sea. The VILLE AND TOWN OF RAMSGATE, so called from the way here which leads to the sea, through the chalk cliff; the inhabitants, of which like those of other places, are fond of having it famous for its antiquity, and have fancied the name of it to have been derived from Romans gate, that is, from its being used as a port, or landing place, by the Romans; but besides, that its name was never so written in antient writings, it may well be doubted, whether during the time of the Romans frequenting this island, there was here any way or gate at all to the sea; and it seems plain, that it was dug first through the cliff, as the rest of the sea gates were in this little island, for the conveniency of the fishery, no Roman coins, &c. have been known ever to have been found here, as they have at Bradstow, where the Romans, if they had any at all, might have a station in this island. The PARISH OF ST. LAURENCE is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Westbere. The church, which is dedicated to St. Laurence, consists of three isles and three chancels, having a tower steeple in the middle of it, standing on four pillars, the capitals of which display the rude conceits of the artist. This tower, on the outside, is encircled with a string of very plain octagonal small pillars and semicircular arches, in the true Saxon taste. There are five bells in it. The church itself is a handsome building, of field stones, rough casted over, as the rest of the churches in this island are, and seems to have been built at several times; of the two side chancels the north one is said to have been built by the Manstons, of Manston-court, many of whom lie buried in it, though most of their monumental inscriptions are perished through length of time. Weever has however preserved two of them, being those of Roger Manston, and Julian his wife, and of Thomas St. Nicholas, who married Joane Manston, and had by her Thomas, entombed here likewise. There was likewise here a brass plate, having the effigies of a man, and these arms, quarterly, first and fourth, A fess, ermine, between three mullets; second and third, On a cross, engrailed, a cinquefoil, and underneath an inscription for Nicholas Manston, esq. obt. 1444. A brass plate, now torn off, for. . . Sayen Nicholas, esq. and Johane his wife; she died 1499; and just by, on a flat stone a brass with the effigies of a woman, and these arms, Ermine, a chief, quarterly; the inscription gone. A monument fixed against the north wall, for Frances, wife of Thomas Coppin, of Westminster, and daughter of Robert Brooke, esq. of Nacton, in Suffolk, who died during her stay here at Manston, in 1677; arms, Parted per pale, azure and gules, three boars heads, couped, or, a chief of the last. On a stone near this monument, and adjoining to that of Nicholas Sprackling, are four shields of arms, first, A cross engrailed, a rose in the centre; second, A cross engrailed; third, A fess, between three mullets, impaling the first coat; fourth, As the third, quartering the first. Part of this chancel is now made into a very handsome vestry. In the high chancel are several memorials in brass, with figures and inscriptions, for the family of Sprakeling. Below these is one having the figure scratched in the marble, of a man lying, with a pen in his hand, writing, Garde promesse fidelement; arms, Sable, a saltier, between four leopards faces, or, impaling or, a chevron, gules, between three bulls passant, sable. In this church is an antient grave-stone of one Umfry, but the arms are gone as well as the inscription, if it ever had any. In the body of the church there have been built several galleries, (which make a most unsightly appearance) to make as much room as possible for the numerous inhabitants of this parish, who had increased to four times the number that they were sixty or seventy years ago; but the inhabitants of Ramsgate are now accommodated with a chapel of of ease, lately built in that ville, as has been already noticed. Besides the above there are numerous monuments and memorials, of a more modern date, and among them, in the south chancel, a mural monument for Sarah, wife of Mr. Adam Spencer, obt. 1745, who with her three children were deposited in a vault near it; she had nine children, of whom four only survived; also for the aforesaid Mr. Adam Spencer, merchant, obt. 1757, who lies in the same vault with Sarah his wife, on it are these arms, Quarterly, first and fourth, Argent; second and third, Gules, a fret, or, over all, on a bend, sable, three escallops of the first, impaling barry of six, azure and gules, a chief, ermine. A mural monument for Capt. Martin Read, obt. 1792, and for Margaret his wife; arms, Gules, a saltier, or, between four leopards faces, proper. A mural monument for Capt. Martin Long, obt. 1751; for Elizabeth his sister, and for his sister Catharine, widow of Mr. William Abbott, arms, Sable, a lion rampant, argent. In the south isle, among many others, a white tablet for Martha, widow of Darell Shorte, jun. esq. of Wadhurst, in Suffex, and daughter of Sir Robert Kemp, bart. late of Appeston, in Suffolk, obt. 1789; another for Dorothy, wife of Mr. William Abbott; she died 1728, and two of their daughters both named Dorothy, and their son Adam, obt. 1735, also the above mentioned Mr. William Abbott, obt. 1755, and for Dorothy his wife, and their children; and for the Holman's. In the great chancel, a memorial for Ann, relict of Capt. William Bookey, of the East-India Company's service, obt. 1770. In the vestry a black tablet for the Rev. Robert Tyler, A. M. twenty-six years vicar, obt. June 10, 1766.—In the north isle a white tablet to the memory of several of the Tomsons. A mural monument for the Tickners. A memorial for Peter Johnson, A. M. son of Henry Johnson, gent. and fellow of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, vicar of this church, obt. April 18, 1704; arms, Parted per fess, dancette, a vulture. On a plain stone, Capt. John Pettit, died; the rest is covered by the pews; arms, On a chevron, gules, three bezants, between three griffins heads, sable, crowned, or. A tablet in the south cross for Anna-Eliza, eldest daughter of the Rev. William-Worcester Wilson, D. D. obt. 1792. A memorial for the Rev. Peter James, M. A. late of Greenwich, and rector of Ight ham, obt. 1791. The following are plain slabs, mostly at the east end of the church; for Mrs. Elizabeth Kelly, daughter of Dr. Kelly, of Winchester, and sister of Dr. Kelly, regius professor, of Oxford; also Martha Kelly, sister to Elizabeth, wife of Lieutenant Charles Kelly, of the royal navy, obt. 1788; arms, A castle, between two lions rampant; for Matthew Brooke, A. M. fellow of king's college, and rector of Walton, in Hertfordshire, and vicar of this parish, obt. 1739; arms, On a fess, three martlets, a bordure engrailed, impaling a chevron, between three covered cups; for Matthew Bookey, son of M. and A. Bookey, obt. 1747. Memorials for several of the Gillows, Tomsons, Abbotts, Pamfleets, Harnets, Law, Joad, Moses, Parkers, Quince, Carraways, Redwood, Evers, Curling, Whites, Napletons, and Hoopers; for George Garrett, esq. obt. 1775. A mural monument, with inscription, that in a vault hereto adjoining, lie several of the family of Abbott, and their relatives; arms, A chevron, between three pears, impaling, on a pile, three griffins heads, erased. In the church-yard are several monuments for the Stocks, Austens and Coxens; for Brotherly and Quince; for the Maxteds and Holmans; for Lithered and Joad. Two mural monuments, one for the Garretts, Casbys, and Browns, and their relatives; arms, Garrett, on a fess, a lion passant; the other for Mark Seller Garrett, obt. 1779. There are principal monuments and gravestones in this church and church-yard, the whole of which are by far too numerous to insert here. Besides the high altar in this church, there were formerly others dedicated to St. James, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, and the Holy Trinity; besides which there were kept wax-lights, the expence of which was maintained by voluntary gifts and legacies. In the west window of the church were formerly painted the arms of Criol, who owned Upper-court, being Or, two chevrons, and a canton, gules. Septvans, Azure, three wheat skreens, or, an annulet for difference; the latter dwelt in this parish, and lies buried under a monument in Ash church. Of St. Nicholas, who married Jane Manstone, Ermine, a chief quarterly, or, and gules; in the first quarter, an annulet for difference Of Chiche, Azure, three lions rampant, argent, a bordure of the second; and of Manston, Gules, a fess, ermine, between three mullets. At a small distance from the church to the eastward, are the remains of a small chapel, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, now converted into a cottage.—There was a chantry founded in it, for the support of which several lands hereabouts were given, which at the suppression of these chapels in king Edward VI.'s reign, came into the hands of the crown, and became a lay fee. This church was one of the three chapels belonging to the church of Minster, and was very probably made parochial sometime after the year 1200, after that church, with its appendages, had been appropriated in 1128, to the monastery of St. Augustine; it was at the same time assigned with the three chapels, and all rents, tithes, and other things belonging to them, to the sacristy of the monastery; and it was further granted, that the abbot and convent should present to the archbishop, in the above-mentioned chapels, fit perpetual chaplains to the altarages of them; but that the vicar of the mother church should take and receive in right of his vicarage, the tenths of small tithes, of lambs and pigs, and all obventions arising from marriages and churchings which were forbid at the chapels, and were solemnized, &c. at the mother church only. (fn. 12) In the year 1275, archbishop Robert consecrated the cemetery of this church, and granted it the right of sepulture, with the restrictions, that the tenants or occupiers of land, who were parishioners of this chapel, should be buried at their mother church of Minster, as the parishioners of this chapel had heretofore been; and that none of them should be buried here, without the express leave of the vicar of Minster, notwithstanding they, by their wills, or by any other means, ordered their burial to be in the burying-place of the chapel; but that children and poor people, who were parishioners of it, and not tenants or occupiers of land, might be buried here, with this proviso, that all obventions, oblations, or legacies arising, on account of such sepulture, in the yard of this chapel, should wholly be divided between the vicars of Minster and this chapel of St. Laurence; that no prejudice might be done to the mother church of Minster, as to marriages and churchings, which should be done for the future at the mother church, as they had been before. These obventions, oblations and legacies, arising from funerals, were to be faithfully laid up and kept by the vicar of this chapel and his chaplains, till they should be equally divided between him and the vicar of Minster, which was to be done every month, unless they should be required of the vicar of Minster, or his chaplain or proctor, oftener. But a composition, we are told, was made between the patrons and several incumbents, which was confirmed by the archbishop, which was, that the incumbents of these chapels or dependant churches should pay only the tenth part of all their real profits to the incumbent of the mother church; which composition was, it is said, duly observed about the year 1370. (fn. 13) Although the chaplains of these chapels were to receive no more than ten marcs of these altarages, yet they were not excluded the enjoyment of the manses and glebes given to these chapels when they were first consecrated, which made some addition to their income, and enabled them to keep a deacon to assist them. On the great and principal festivals, the inhabitants of the three chapelries, preceded by their priests, were accustomed to go in procession to Minster, in token of their subjection to their parochial or mother church. In 1301, the abbot of St. Augustine ordained several new deanries, one of which, named the deanry of Minster, in which this church of St. Laurence was included; but this raising great contests between the abbot and the archbishop, and the pope deciding in favour of the latter, these new deanries were entirely dissolved. (fn. 14) After this, the appropriation of the church of Minster, with its appendant chapels and the advowsons of the vicarages of them, continued with the abbot and convent till the dissolution of the monastery in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when they were surrendered, together with the rest of the possessions of the monastery, into the king's hands. ¶After the dissolution of the monastery, and the change in the service of churches wrought by the reformation, this parochial chapel of St. Laurence became entirely separated from the mother church of Minster, the vicar of this parish having no further subjection to it in any shape whatever; but by the same change he was likewise deprived of several of those emoluments he had before enjoyed in the right of his vicarage; and all the tithes of corn and grain within this parish, being appropriated to the two granges, or parsonages of Newland and Ozingell, and the small tithes of it to that of Salmestone, as has been already mentioned before. The endowment of this vicarage consisted only of the yearly stipends of six pounds paid out of Newland grange, and of ten pounds paid out of Ozingell grange, a vicaragehouse, barn, and two acres of glebe. But this income, by reason of the increase of every necessary article of life, falling far short of a reasonable maintenance, archbishop Juxon, in conformity to the king's letters mandatory, in 1660, augmented this vicarage with the addition of 40l. to be paid yearly out of Newland grange. (fn. 15) This vicarage is valued in the king's books at seven pounds, and the yearly tenths at fourteen shillings. In 1588 here were communicants six hundred and fifty-six, and it was valued at only twenty pounds. In 1640 here were six hundred and fifty communicants. The advowson of this vicarage coming into the hands of the crown, on the dissolution of the abbey of St. Augustine, continued there till Edward VI. in the first year of his reign, granted the advowson of the vicarage of Minster, with the three chapels appendant to it, one of which was this church of St. Laurence, among other premises, to the archbishop, since which this advowson has continued parcel of the possessious of that see, the archbishop being the present patron of it.

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