Salmestone Grange


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.

Thanet (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TR 35325 69574

Reasons for Designation

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange. Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands. On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.

Salmestone monastic grange survives well, retaining standing buildings of high architectural quality. Part excavation has confirmed that the monument also contains important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original form, use and development of the grange. The monument is one of the best surviving examples of a group of contemporary Benedictine monastic granges which cluster on the Isle of Thanet, illustrating the control exercised over this part of Kent by St Augustine's Abbey at Canterbury during the medieval period.


The monument includes a Benedictine monastic grange situated on the southern edge of modern Margate, around 1.5km inland from the north Thanet coast. The grange survives in the form of standing buildings and associated below ground remains. Historical records suggest that it was founded by the monks of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury during the 12th century. The grange operated as the administrative centre for part of their large, mainly arable, estate then covering most of the Isle of Thanet, and as a place of occasional quiet retreat for the monks.

Lying towards the centre of the monument, the standing buildings form an irregular group and include a mainly north east-south west aligned, gabled domestic range and a small, detached, east-west aligned chapel to the west. The domestic range is on two storeys and is faced with rubble, ragstone and flint, with ashlar dressings. Dated by its architectural features mainly to the 13th and early 14th centuries, the range incorporates the original refectory hall, an undercroft with ribbed vaulting, the kitchen and a dormitory wing projecting to the north west. There is also some evidence for earlier, timber-framed walls encased within the later masonry. The range has undergone several phases of alteration and repair, and its north eastern end was converted into a secular farmhouse during the 17th century. By the early 20th century the south western end of the building had fallen into ruin. Surviving in situ medieval features include some original windows and doorways.

The chapel was consecrated in 1326 and may have replaced an earlier, more temporary building. It is mainly faced with knapped flint, with limestone ashlar dressings, topped by a clay tiled, crown post roof. There has been some modern restoration. The modern stained glass windows were completed in 1952. The standing medieval buildings, Listed Grade II*, are in use as a dwelling and working chapel and are therefore excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

Investigations carried out in 1979 revealed evidence for possibly 12th century wall foundations beneath the ruined south western end of the domestic range. Wall footings representing later, now demolished post-medieval buildings were also found in the area immediately north of the main range. Further buried traces of buildings and associated features will survive in the areas between and around the standing buildings. Running within the north eastern edge of the monument is a line of earthworks shown by the 1979 investigations to represent the footings of a row of post-medieval barns and outbuildings. The lower flint courses of a ruined rectangular enclosure situated in the north western corner of the monument are thought to represent a post-medieval barn or animal pound.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Salmestone Grange passed into the ownership of the Crown. Between 1559-1886 it became part of the possessions of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Catherdral, before being sold into private ownership.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the Grade II* Listed private dwelling and chapel, all associated outbuildings, modern garden features, structures and fences, and the modern surfaces of all paths, tracks, paving and hardstanding; the ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Impey, E, A Guide to Salmestone Grange, (1992)
Knowles, D , Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, (1971), 75
Newman, J, The Buildings of England: North East and North Kent, (1976), 381-382
Platt, C, The Monastic Grange in Medieval England, (1969), 231-232
Perkins, D, 'Trust for Thanet Archaeology Report 1977-1980' in Salmestone Grange, (1980), 31-34


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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