Market Square History Panel 2: The Church of St Martin-le-Grand

Panel 2

The Church of St. Martin-le-Grand

 In the 7th Century Widred, King of Kent, built a Saxon church dedicated to St. Martin, the Patron Saint of Dover. The church was built within the walls of the ruined Roman fort, on what is today the west side of the square. This may have been the area burnt by William the Conqueror during his march from Hastings to London in 1066.

 The church was soon replaced by a much larger collegiate church. The new church of St. Martin-le-Grand became so large that it eventually contained altars to three separate parishes; St. Martin, St. Nicholas and St. John the Baptist. The church was closed in 1535, during Henry VIII’s Reformation. Gradually it was destroyed and used as a source of building material in the town. Part of the nave was turned into a cemetery. A passage was cut in the east end to give access to the Market Square.

 Most of the remains were finally removed in 1892. The last standing and visible remnants, demolished in 1955, were incorporated into the front of a bank on the west side of the square. Excavations in the 1970s revealed the footings of the nave and standing walls that had previously been buried. These remains are visible from the entrance to Dover Discovery Centre.




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Dover Museum
Market Square
Kent CT16 1PH

Tel: 01304 201066


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10.00 - 3.00 Sunday 
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