Canterbury, St Mary de Castro

Photo: Civitates orbis terrarum, 1588

  • Formerly ring of 3. Church demolished.
  • Formerly 3 bells (at least). 3 bells transferred to Lower Hardres.
  • Grid Ref: TR146574
  • Church demolished c. 1542. All that remains is the church yard.
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
    Archdeaconry (Anglican): Canterbury
  • Building Listed Grade: Click for Heritage details.

The bells transferred to Lower Hardres

Bell DateFounderRetunedFate
1UnknownUnknownNeverSold to Lower Hardres, 1542
2UnknownUnknownNeverSold to Lower Hardres, 1542
3UnknownUnknownNeverSold to Lower Hardres, 1542


615 The church of St Mary was erected in 618 by Eadbald, son of King Ethelbert. [1]
1542 At about this time, the church was desecrated and items were sold, including (in this year) the 3 bells, which went to Lower Hardres. [2]
1654 The parishes of St Mary de Castro and St Mildred were united on 19 Sept 1654.
[1] St. Mary's Church was erected A.D. 618 by Eadbald, son of Ethelbert, at the instance of Laurence, archbishop. Another church, St. John's, afterwards Christ's Church, is stated to have been built in 746, temp. K. Eadbert, by Cuthbert, archbishop. (Lambarde, who does not give the authority for his assertions, but at the commencement of his work names the records, whence he obtained his information.) For notice of the existence of the church of St. Mary, A.D. 804, see the quotation from Somner in the Note on Liminge. "Twenty churches were antiently in this city and the suburbs thereof; seventeen whereof, viz. St. Alphage, St. Andrew, St. Mary Bredman, St. Mary Breeden, Holy Cross Westgate, St. George, St. Margaret, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Mary Northgate, St. Mildred, St. Peter, All Saints, St. Mary Castle, St. Edmund, St. John, St. Mary Queeningate, and St. Michael, were in the city. And the other three, viz. St. Dunstan, St. Martin, and St. Paul, were in the suburbs. All which parishes are still in being, except St. Mary Castle, St. Edmund, St. John, St. Mary Queeningate, and St. Michael, which are demolished." (Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, Hussey, Rev Arthur, 1852 pg 43)
[2] The union of St. Mary Castle with St. Mildred took place the 19th of Sept. 1654. The desecration of its church was about 1542, as in the city accounts of that year the Corporation have credit for four pounds received of the parishioners of Nether Hardres, for the city’s part of three bells to them sold out of the church of St. Mary Castle. The church of St. Mary de Castro stood on the S. W. side of the chapel burial ground in Castle-Street, near to the back of the house of Mr Turner, as appears by part its old foundation, oftentimes met with in digging graves thereabouts. (Kentish Gazette (Friday 4 July 1800))


The church yard of the church continued in use after the church was destroyed, and the area is preserved as a listed scheduled monument. The other scheduled monument pictured here (not as yet listed by Historic England) is the former vicar of another church dedicated to St Mary de Castro - the one in the City of Leicester!
Photo: Dickon R Love, 11 Sept 2020

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 11 October 2020