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The lost villages of Kent and their fascinating stories

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Original article from Kent Live

There are many villages in Kent which are a mystery to most people.

The vast majority of these have now faded away and are nothing more than just an historical name.

Many of these were abolished years ago, long before any of us were born, such as Broomhill which existed in 1287.

READ MORE: Dramatic picture shows overturned car on main Folkestone road during rush hour

Hampton-on-Sea, just off Herne Bay, is now only seen by looking out across the coastline at low tide.

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It's clear then, that Kent's geography hasn't always looked the same as it does now.

Everything you need to know (and may not have known) about the lost villages that once were, lies below.

Oxney

Track through Oxneybottom Wood

Perhaps the most ghostly of all the abandoned villages is Oxney, off the Dover- Deal road near Ringwould.

Once it was a small community but today, apart from the hidden away reconstructed house of Oxney Court, Oxney is shrouded by dark, ominous woodland and completely cut off from the the public.

There are indications that in days gone by there was a small community living there, probably farming the acres now covered by undergrowth.

Many will be surprised to discover the small village, of just more than 300 acres, was most likely inhabited for thousands of years.

And its name is attached to some dark and sinister tales over the years.

An article in Bygone Kent, published in July 1983, does well to capture the "dread" in which locals used to hold this spot.

Estate Agent CONRAD PAYNE takes Channel 5 viewers on a tour of Oxney Court in St Margarets-at-Cliffe near Dover, Kent. The roofless castle is one of three extravagant properties, all in need of some rebuilding, all of which feature in this renovation special in the popular property programme.

It says classic writers Henry James and Edgar Allen Poe would "have difficulty finding a better setting for any of their ghost stories".

The history of the site too is somewhat mysterious and scant.

We do know that the parish of Oxney is around 1,000 years old and was recorded in the Domesday Book.

It was given to Sir William d'Auverville, a knight, and later passed through the hands of John Smedley.

It wasn't until the Middle Ages that the church itself was built and dedicated to St Nicholas.

Read the full story here.

Dode

All that is left of Dode is the village church

The abandoned village of Dode is in the heart of Gravesham, just above the River Medway.

There has been a settlement in the area since 1087 but all that remains now is the Church of our lady at the meadows, which is now used as a wedding venue.

The villages entire population was wiped out by the Black Death in the during the 14th century. The tragic fate of the village gave it a place in Kentish folklore.

Dode Church has a frightful reputation

It is said that the last survivor of the Black Death at Dode was a seven-year-old girl known as the Dodechild.

The legend goes that she took refuge in the church after all the other villagers were dead, and died within its walls.

The Dodechild is supposed to haunt the churchyard, though sightings are scarce.

Blackmanstone

Blackmanstone was mentioned in the Domesday Book and lay west of Dymchurch, to the Northeast of Ogarswick.

In 1934, it was reportedly abolished as a civil parish to form parts of Burmash, Newchurch and St Mary's.

Broomhill

Broomhill, a port to the West of Dungeness, was lost to the sea in a coastal storm of 1287, according to the site.

It is estimated to have been built around 1200AD on Walland Marsh and was finally excavated to the in the 1980s.

Dengemarsh

Dengemarsh is said to have shut down when the Lydd army ranges were opened during the Second World War.

Like Broomhill it was a non-corporate Cinque Port.

Fairfield

The Church of St Thomas A Becket

The tiny village of Fairfield used to be located in the borough of Folkestone and Hythe until it was absorbed into the village of Snargate in 1934.

Known for it's distinctive isolated church, Fairfield's aesthetics has seen it used in many historical TV programs.

These include Great Expectations and more recently the BBC's adaptation of Parades End starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Eastbridge

Also mentioned in the Domesday Book, Eastbridge is said to have been situated west of Dymchurch.

Today, there is little sign of what used to be, other than the church and a handful of houses.

Fawkenhurst

Fawkenhurst lay West of Dungeness, according to the site.

Today, just a stone cross on a stepped plinth remain.

Faversham Stone Chapel

The Faversham Stone Chapel is all that remains of the lost town of Durolevum

The ruins of Faversham Stone Chapel sit on the ancient site of the roman town of Durolevum.

It is the only chapel in England to incorporate a pagan shrine into its architecture.

Unfortunately the chapel was not up kept throughout history and was reported to be in disrepair by 1511.

It seems to have been abandoned completely by 1600.

Galloways

Similar to Dengemarsh, Galloways was reportedly shut down when the army ranges were opened in Lydd during the Second World War.

Hope

Hope, to the West of New Romney, is said to have been mostly abandoned during the 17 century.

Although a small population remained, it was abolished in 1943 to form part of Newchurch, St. Mary in the Marsh and Old Romney.

Midley

Midley, a small island between Romney and Lydd, was reportedly abolished as a civil parish in 1934 to form part of Old Romney.

A village on the site dates back to the 8 century with 23 people still living there at the start of the 19 century.

Orgarswick

Ogarswick was mentioned in the 1851 census and reportedly lay West of Dymchurch.

It is now marked by a cross of stone from the ancient church.

It became part of Burmarsh in 1934, after being abolished as a civil parish.

Hampton-on-Sea

Looking west from the site of Hampton-On-Sea: Then & Now

Hampton Pier is a lonely spit of land that is only visible at low tide, but it conceals a somewhat tragic past.

It is hard to imagine anything could have possibly happened here at all, or that it was ever anything but rock and sea.

However underneath these murky waters lies the story of Hampton-On-Sea, Kent’s very own sunken hamlet.

There was indeed a small settlement here that was steadily eroded by the sea until the situation became untenable.

Edmund Reid and the inhabitants of Hampton-On-Sea photographed outside 'Reids Ranch'

In 1901, a census put the population of Hampton-On Sea at 42 people. This was a number that would steadily decline.

As the sea rapidly encroached it was clear that the battle was lost.

Hernecliffe Gardens disappeared between 1909 and 1911. As their foundations became untenable the council took the decision to demolish the buildings.

Eddington Gardens, which was further away from the sea, lasted for a while longer until it too was demolished, leaving nothing behind but the Hampton Inn and the remains of the pier.

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Original Article