Site of church and graveyard of St Mary de Castro


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Canterbury (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TR 14686 57503


Remains of the church and graveyard of St Mary de Castro.

Reasons for Designation

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little fabric of the first church being still easily visible.

St Mary de Castro is an early example of a parish church, known from documentary sources and thought to have been founded in the seventh century AD. The site has been relatively undisturbed by development and retains potential for archaeological investigation. The site will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the ground plan, layout and construction of the building and the use and history of the medieval church.

The associated graveyard will contain inhumation burials, which will provide information on the 18th and 19th century population such as the demography, dietary habits, and health of people in the town, as well as developments in medicinal practice and surgical procedures. The design and inscriptions on memorials and gravestones will provide additional information on society, whilst their location will provide evidence for the layout of the graveyard.


See Details.


This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a medieval parish church, known as St Mary de Castro, and graveyard surviving as buried remains. It is situated on level ground between St Mary’s Street and Castle Row in Canterbury. The buried remains of the church have not been excavated but will survive intact below-ground.

Documentary sources record that St Mary’s was erected in AD 618 by Eadbald, son of Ethelbert, at the instance of Archbishop Laurence. At the time of the Norman Conquest, William I gave the church to St Augustine’s Abbey in exchange for dwellings belonging to the Abbey which had to be cleared to build Canterbury Castle. The church fell into decay in the second half of the 15th century when the parish of St Mary’s was united with St Mildred’s. It was partially demolished in 1540. However the chancel was still standing in the early 17th century but was entirely levelled by about 1750. The graveyard continued in use and the surviving tombstones on the site cover a period from about the mid 18th century to the mid 19th century.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
KE 345
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hussey, A, Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey , (1852)
'Canterbury', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Vol 11 (1800), 78-81, 208-288, accessed from
Kent HER TR 15 NW 181. NMR TR 15 NW 181. PastScape 464854,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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