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Houses on Old Road, Sarre - - 355035.jpg
Houses on Old Road, Sarre
Location: 51°20’21"N, 1°14’21"E
Population: 222  (2011)
Post town: Birchington
Postcode: CT7
Dialling code: 01843
Local Government
Council: =Thanet
North Thanet

Sarre is a village and parish on the isle of Thanet in Kent. The village is an ancient parish, but forms part of St Nicholas-at-Wade ecclesiastical parish, after having lost the local church of St Giles in Elizabethan times.[1] It had a population of 130 in 2001,[2] increasing to 222 at the 2011 Census.[3]

Sarre is located at the point where the old 'Island Road' from Margate to Canterbury crossed the Wantsum Channel initially by a ferry and from the late Middle Ages by a bridge. The route of this bridge is followed by a short section of the modern A28 and is still marked on some maps as Sarre Wall.



The important late Roman or early Anglo-Saxon Sarre Brooch was found near the village; it is now on display in the British Museum (near the Sutton Hoo finds),[4] along with many other important early medieaval artefacts from the same cemetery.[5]

The coastal confederation of Cinque Ports during its mediæal period consisted of a confederation of 42 towns and villages in all. Which included Sarre, under the 'limb' of Sandwich.[6]

World War II

In July 1940 the village was turned into a model strong point by the 1st Canadian Pioneer Battalion. Within three weeks the village bristled with defences including fifteen casemates and a variety of flame traps, flame fougasses and other anti-tank devices.[7]

The Canadian commander Andrew McNaughton later recalled: "I turned a pioneer battalion loose to fortify Sarre in every possible way. They took ladies' boudoirs and turned them into machine-gun posts without showing anything from the outside; I'm sure they never got the concrete out. There was a big building inside the village that had a hoist for casks. The boys arranged a big barrel of petroleum, with phosphorus bombs inside, that was all poised ready to swing. When a tank came through the village and slowed to make the turn they would just pull a catch and the barrel would smack the tank fair and square and go off with a great gust of flame."[nb 1]

While McNaughton was inspecting the defences in August 1940, the village was attacked from the air and three bombs were dropped. A cottage was hit killing one adult and two or three children.[7]


The village has one public house, The Crown Inn – this being known locally as the 'Cherry Brandy House'. A special recipe of Cherry Brandy can be purchased from behind the bar. A second public house, the King's Head, recently closed and was sold privately.

The village mill (Sarre Windmill) was previously open to the public as a working windmill. Recently, the mill has closed and is not open to the public except for the ground floor which is a holiday cottage for two. The mill shop is now also a holiday cottage.[8] The surrounding buildings, including the Old Bakery and the Old Granary (which was originally thatched), have been sold privately and are now subdivided properties.

Nearest Stations: Birchington and Sturry from which regular buses operating on the Margate/Ramsgate to Canterbury route can be obtained.


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Sarre)
  1. McNaughton quoted by Swettenham.[7]
  • Swettenham, John (1968). McNaughton. Volume 2 (1939-1943). Ryerson Press. ISBN 978-0-7700-0238-1.