From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
St Mary the Virgin Church, Minster.jpg
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Minster-in-Thanet
Grid reference: TR305645
Location: 51°19’60"N, 1°18’30"E
Population: 3,267  (2001)
Post town: Ramsgate
Postcode: CT12
Dialling code: 01843
Local Government
Council: Thanet
South Thanet

Minster-in-Thanet, also known as Minster, is a village on the Isle of Thanet in Kent. It is considered the "ancient capital of Thanet".[1]

Minster stands just north of the River Stour and west of Ramsgate. Canterbury lies southwest, off the isle. The name of the village betrays its origins: it is the Old English mynster meaning "monastery", ultimately from the Latin monasterium.

North-eastward lies Kent International Airport.

Parish church

The parish church of St Mary-the-Virgin. It is largely Norman]] but with significant traces of earlier work, the problems of which are unresolved.

The nave is impressive with five bays, and the crossing has an ancient chalk block vaulting. The chancel is Early English with later flying buttresses intended to the very obvious spread of the upper walls. There is a fine set of Misericords reliably dated around 1400. The tower has a curious turret at its southeast corner that is locally referred to as a Saxon watch tower but is built at least partly from Caen stone; it may be that it may be dated from the time of the conquest but in an antique style sometimes called Saxo-Norman. A doorway in the turret opens out some six feet above the present roof line.

Socket holes in the piers of the crossing suggest that, as well as a rood screen, there was a further screen dividing nave and crossing, such as still exists at Dunster in Somerset.


St Augustine of Canterbury, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, is said by the Venerable Bede to have landed with 40 men at Ebbsfleet, now within the parish of Minster, before beginning his mission in Canterbury.

Minster originally started as a monastic settlement in 670. The first abbey in the village was founded by St. Domneva, a widowed noblewoman, whose daughter St Mildrith, is taken as the first Abbess. The tradition is that Domneva was granted as much land as a hind could run over in a day, the hind remains the village emblem. The next abbess after St Mildred was St Edburga daughter of King Centwine of the West Saxons.[2] The abbey was extinguished by Viking raids.

The Church of St Mary-the-Virgin is Norman work on an earlier foundation. The church was used by both the brethren of the second abbey, a dependency of St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury and as a parish church. This abbey surrendered during the dissolution in 1534.

Minster Abbey is a house incorporating remains of the Saxon abbey and alleged to be the oldest continuously inhabited house in England. It now houses a religious community again; a Priory of Roman Catholic Benedictine sisters that is a daughter community of Eichstätt in Bavaria. It was settled in 1937 by refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and continues to flourish as an international community.[3] The Priory has brought in a relic of St Mildred that had been taken to a church in Deventer in the Netherlands at the Reformation.[4]

In 1645 the parish was presented to Richard Culmer, the famous Puritan minister, a man of Thanet, known locally as "Blue Dick Culmer" as he refused to wear the usual black gown of a cleric, preferring blue. Culmer was unpopular, having served as a General in Cromwell’s army and for his iconoclastic zeal and at his ordination the townsfolk locked the church: when Culmer attempted to break into the church he was mobbed and beaten. To this day Culmer is omitted from the role of incumbents in the church porch.[5]


The Smithy ca.1903, by Fred C Palmer

Thanet’s flat landscape is displayed here; marshes, farms and rivers. The local council has assessed Minster Marshes, south of the village, as being unstable,[6] and some areas of Minster, particularly in the south of the village, have suffered from flooding.[7]

Land reclamation has had a strong history in Minster and Monkton, where the original reclamation was done by the monks themselves.[8]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Minster-in-Thanet)