Church of St Mary the Virgin, Minster-in-Thanet
Minster-in-Thanet shown within Kent
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
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|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||South Thanet|
Minster-in-Thanet, also known as Minster, is a village and civil parish in the Thanet District of Kent, England. The village is situated to the west of Ramsgate and to the north east of Canterbury; it lies just south west of Kent International Airport and just north of the River Stour. Minster is also the "ancient capital of Thanet".2
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Minster originally started as a monastic settlement in AD 670. The buildings are still used as nunneries today.2 The first abbey in the village was founded by St. Domneva, a widowed noblewoman, whose daughter St. Mildred, is taken as the first Abbess. The tradition is that Domneva was granted as much land as a hind could run over in a day, the hind remains the village emblem, see also Thanet. The abbey was extinguished by Viking raiding. The next abbess after St. Mildred was St Edburga daughter of King Centwine of the West Saxons.3
The parish church of St. Mary-the-Virgin is largely Norman but with significant traces of earlier work, the problems of which are unresolved. The nave is impressive with five bays, and the crossing has an ancient chalk block vaulting. The chancel is Early English with later flying buttresses intended to the very obvious spread of the upper walls. There is a fine set of Misericords reliably dated around 1400. The tower has a curious turret at its southeast corner that is locally referred to as a Saxon watch tower but is built at least partly from Caen stone; it may be that it may be dated from the time of the conquest but in an antique style sometimes called Saxo-Norman. A doorway in the turret opens out some two metres above the present roof line.
The church was used by both the brethren of the second abbey, a dependency of St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury and as a parish church. Socket holes in the piers of the crossing suggest that, as well as a rood screen, there was a further screen dividing nave and crossing, such as still exists at Dunster in Somerset. This abbey surrendered during the dissolution in 1534.
Minster Abbey is a house incorporating remains of the Saxon abbey and alleged to be the oldest continuously inhabited house in England. It now houses the village's third religious community, a Priory of Roman Catholic Benedictine sisters that is a daughter community of Eichstätt in Bavaria. It was settled in 1937 by refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and continues to flourish as an international community.4 The Priory has the care of a relic of St. Mildred that had been in the care of a church in Deventer in the Netherlands since the Reformation.5
Generally a flat landscape, the area's main features include marshes, farms and rivers. Thanet District Council has, however, assessed Minster Marshes, south of the village, as being unstable,6 and some areas of Minster, particularly in the south of the village, have suffered from flooding.7
Bus services are provided Monday to Saturday by Eastonways, with services to Ramsgate, Monkton and Westood. More recently Stagecoach have implemented a service (No11) to Canterbury and Ramsgate via the village. On weekdays during term times, a number of school services are run by either Eastonways or Stagecoach.
- St. Augustine of Canterbury is said by the Venerable Bede to have landed with 40 men at Ebbsfleet, within the parish of Minster, before beginning his mission in Canterbury, commemorated by St Augustine's Cross near Cliffsend.
- Richard Culmer, the infamous Puritan minister known locally as Blue Dick Culmer, was presented to the living but the people rejected him and his name - to this day - is still omitted from the role of incumbents in the church porch.11
- "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Minster CP (Parish)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- Minster-In-Thanet; retrieved on [2008-05-22]
- "Medieval Sourcebook: The Correspondence of St. Boniface". Retrieved 13 September 2008.
- "Minster Abbey". Retrieved 13 September 2008.
- "Monasticon: Community: Minster in Thanet". Monastic Matrix. University of Southern California. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
- "Thanet Plan 13". Retrieved 22 May 2008.
- "Thanet Local Plan 2006". Retrieved 22 May 2008.
- Curators Introduction; retrieved on 22 May 2008
- "Minster CE Primary School". Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- "Minster Church of England Primary School]". Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- "Blue Dick Culmer". Retrieved 13 September 2008.
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