May 21 – Church micros around Deal, Worth, Northbourne, Great Mongeham and Ripple

Worth a Stroll

Hello from 1066 – Medieval Mosaic

We thought we would start off by doing some caches in Deal today before we leave without doing them. The first took us to the garden planted on the sight of the Sandown Castle. The castle has gone now and the cache has been muggled too. A gentleman came up to us as he recognised us as geocachers and we talked with him for ages. John and his wife, Shannon are two of the volunteers who look after the Sandown Community Garden. It is a riot of colour and a real joy to see. The garden is entered in the ‘Britain in Bloom competition and won Silver Gilt in 2016.

https://www.facebook.com/Sandown-Castle-Community-Garden-Deal-Kent-1389260144706043/

We then visited St Andrews and St Leonards before moving on to Worth. Worth has a church micro but in order to get the coordinates, you have to do the multi called ‘Worth a Stroll’which requires you to walk around the village collecting numbers. We often don’t do these more time-consuming multis but this one was quickly done and we were able to see the whole village too and get two caches for the price of one. The church was open when we arrived as there was a wedding here yesterday and the churchwarden was watering the flowers so we were able to have a look around.

The next cache was named ‘Ham Sandwich’ and we just couldn’t resist. There is a place named Ham, near Sandwich. We could imagine a whole series of caches – Egg Sandwich, Tomato Sandwich, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. LOL. It was down a twisty turning narrow road until you come to a three road intersection. Of course, when we got there, there was a horse float of loading a horse and then being cleaned out in sight of us plus various cars coming down the road trying to run us over. The cache was super hard to find but eventually, Mike resorted to poking it with one of my walking poles and he eventually knocked into it just as we were going to give up.A

St Augustine’s Northbourne is a 12th-century grade 1 listed church in the cruciform shape. It is on the site of early Saxon church said to be founded by Monks of St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury. Unsurprisingly, the site of St Augustine’s church claims to be one of the oldest places of Christian worship in England. St Augustine landed at Ebbsfleet, just 5 miles away, in AD597. It is thought that in AD618 Eadbald, the newly crowned King of Kent gave land at Northbourne to St Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury. Although records show that a church was indeed built on the site, the present building was built in about AD 1120, although fragments of masonry from the earlier churches can be seen built into the walls. One of only a few cruciform churches to have been built in Kent, St Augustine’s has retained that layout with few alterations.

st-augustine-northbourne-3
Weather Vane – St Augustine, Northbourne

The tower was built as a village refuge in the tradition that started in the reign of Alfred the Great when the King ordered the construction of stone churches with tiled roofs and refuge towers as village fortresses against the attacks of the Danes. Most of these refuge towers had access from the outside, halfway up. The ‘ghost’ outline of the entrance on the North side of the tower and part of the one remaining step set in the exterior of the North Transept are visible when standing in the churchyard. Internal access to the tower was by a stone turret stair built on the North West corner of the tower with the entrance behind the pulpit.

It was after 6 pm when we arrived at St Martin’s in Great Mongeham and so the church was closed. A lady arrived who insisted on getting the keys so that we could go inside to see the church which was very nice of her. Our last call of the day was St Mary the Virgin at Ripple. It is Sunday night and the minister was just being driven away when we arrived. The church, however, was still open as some locals have the responsibility of opening and closing it. We were able to see this lovely small church on such a beautiful evening. The couple had never heard of geocaching so we showed them the church micro for their church. They thought it sounded like a lot of fun, we might have a couple of converts here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mongeham

Our last call of the day was St Mary the Virgin at Ripple. It is Sunday night and the minister was just being driven away when we arrived. The church, however, was still open as some locals have the responsibility of opening and closing it. We were able to see this lovely small church on such a beautiful evening. The couple had never heard of geocaching so we showed them the church micro for their church. They thought it sounded like a lot of fun, we might have a couple of converts here.