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CHURCH OF ST MARY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  RECULVER TOWERS, RECULVER CHURCH, CHURCH OF ST MARY
DESCRIPTION + /

The site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery at Reculver, and two towers from a 12th century church of St Mary. Much of the site has been lost to the sea. Historical records indicate that an Anglo-Saxon monastery was founded in around AD 669, when Egbert, King of Kent, granted Reculver to Bassa for the foundation of a minster church. The church was built near the centre of the earlier Roman fort and reused part of its defences, bricks, rubble and rubble masonry. It was also probably around the site of an early wayside preaching cross, the base of which was found in 1927. The cross base, now at Canterbury Cathedral along with other fragments of Saxon masonry from the church, has been dated to the 7th century AD (although some now think it dates to the 9th century). Documentary records suggest that the site had ceased to function as a monastic house in AD 949, after which the church became St Mary's, the parish church of Reculver. Much of the original church survives as ruins up to around 2 metres high, incorporated within the later medieval parish church. It was remodelled in the early 12th century and during the 13th century. It was partly demolished in 1805 when the stone was used to construct the new church (also St Mary's) on higher ground at Hillborough, but the twin towers were left. In 1809, the ruined church was bought, repaired and underpinned by Trinity House, and the towers are still used as a navigation mark for shipping. The standing ruins have been subject to modern restoration and repair. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the English Heritage website.