More Arts on Romney Marsh
The Arts, comprising art, literature, poetry, music, theatre, photography etc are well represented on Romney Marsh:
Romney Marsh has a distinguished literary history. Many authors used the Marsh as settings for their works, including Rev Richard Harris Barham, famous for his Ingoldsby Legends, E.F. Benson, author of the Mapp and Lucia novels; Russell Thorndike, author of the Doctor Syn novels; and the children's writer Monica Edwards, author of the Romney Marsh books. Rosemary Sutcliff's 1955 historical novel Outcast depicts Roman efforts to build the Rhee Wall and reclaim land from the sea.
Many other well-known writers have been associated with the area: H.G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Stephen Crane, Radclyffe Hall, Noël Coward, Edith Nesbit, Rumer Godden, and Conrad Aiken. Rudyard Kipling and his Smugglers' Song are famous.
Books about Romney Marsh
Marsh Ink Writers' are a small, informal group with an interest in creative writing. Our aim is to support members by reading their work, offering constructive advice and encouraging their aspirations to see their name in print. We hope to inspire members through our meetings and workshops. Regular daytime and evening meetings now being held in St Mary's Bay village hall. New members are very welcome.
Emma Batten lives on Romney Marsh and loves to combine her interest in local history with creative writing. It's important to her that the historical details are accurate and to give her readers an authentic insight of life here on Romney Marsh, as well as creating believable plots.
She has written two novels, Secrets of the Shingle which is based on Dungeness and A Place Called Hope, based around Hope Church of All Saints near New Romney. Her latest novel What the Monk Didn't See, based on the great Storm of 1287, is almost complete and she hopes to have it available to buy by August.
More recently she have moved into writing non-fiction in the form of local interest articles for both The Looker and Cinque Ports magazines.
Emma is an active member of Marsh Ink Writers' Group and meeting other local writers gives her motivation and there is always something new to learn.
You can find out more about Emma and where to find her novels by visiting her website.
Bennie Jane Cross
Bennie Jane is a keen photographer living in New Romney who in 2011 was proud to win the Kent County Photographic Association Ross Cup Landscape Trophy (pictured). She uses her photographs in her work as a graphic designer and website designer.
Bennie says "I believe photography can be used to great effect in design and is essential on most websites. A picture can say a thousand words and is an immediate communication tool to show or describe a place, object or atmosphere."
Bennie Jane Cross
St Mary's Bay Camera Club
St. Mary’s Bay Camera Club was formed in 1997 by a group of local, like-minded photographers interested in digital photography. This was at a time when the digital camera was becoming more and more popular and started to replace the traditional film camera. Originally the club had only 6 or 7 members but, over the years, it has grown to have a membership of about 40, with most using digital cameras.
They are well-known within the Kent County Photographic Association, with which they are affiliated, and have members with all standards of expertise. Being a very friendly camera club, they do our best to help novices improve their techniques and knowledge of the art of photography.
Find out more at the St Mary's Bay Camera Club website.
Anthony lives on the Marsh in Greatstone and has written a number of poems about Romney Marsh, all of which are illustrated by various artists.
The poems main theme is 18th century Smuggling on the Marsh.
Find out more about Anthony Webb and to read his illustrated poems, please visit our Anthony Web page.
John Davidson (11 April 1857 – 23 March 1909) was a Scottish poet, playwright and novelist, best known for his ballads and his poem about Romney Marsh.
In the poem, the poet describes, in great and loving detail, his love for the place Romney Marsh, with a particular reverence given to the beauty and the placement of Romney Marsh, and with a familiarity that makes the poem read almost like a love poem.
In Romney Marsh
As I went down to Dymchurch Wall,
I heard the South sing o'er the land
I saw the yellow sunlight fall
On knolls where Norman churches stand.
And ringing shrilly, taut and lithe,
Within the wind a core of sound,
The wire from Romney town to Hythe
Along its airy journey wound.
A veil of purple vapour flowed
And trailed its fringe along the Straits;
The upper air like sapphire glowed:
And roses filled Heaven's central gates.
Masts in the offing wagged their tops;
The swinging waves pealed on the shore;
The saffron beach, all diamond drops
And beads of surge, prolonged the roar.
As I came up from Dymchurch Wall,
I saw above the Downs' low crest
The crimson brands of sunset fall,
Flicker and fade from out the West.
Night sank: like flakes of silver fire
The stars in one great shower came down;
Shrill blew the wind; and shrill the wire
Rang out from Hythe to Romney town.
The darkly shining salt sea drops
Streamed as the waves clashed on the shore;
The beach, with all its organ stops
Pealing again, prolonged the roar.
In 2005 the poet Ben Kaye was commissioned to write The Fifth Continent – A gift from the Sea to be set to music by the composer Paul Patterson.
Richard Selby is a storyteller, writer, and bookseller with a keen interest in modern art and modern poetry. He performs solo as a storyteller, with Fire Springs and occasionally with musician Beth Porter. The Fifth Quarter – his collection of prose, poetry, and tales about Romney Marsh, in Kent – was published in 2008, The Mouth Of The Night followed in 2012 and his new book of poetry The Marsh with illustrations by Nigel Davison is due for publication winter 2016.
He lives in Bath with his wife Judith and has family associations with Romney Marsh which go back one hundred years.
More about Richard Selby
The Haywardians are a four part harmony choir which sings all kinds of music from Bach to Barlow and from Elgar to Elton.
The Haywardians is the brainchild of organist, Dean Hayward. Following the success of assembling a scratch choir for the St Mary’s 2009 Christmas Carol Service, he decided to start a four-part community choir, based in St Mary in the Marsh, to sing a variety of music and to perform as widely as possible. Consequently, a choir of thirty voices formed. The choir is blessed with experienced choral singers from all over SE Kent: From Lyminge to Lydd-on-Sea and from Dover to Brookland, in itself no small tribute to Dean’s reputation as both organist and choir master.
Find out more at The Haywardians website.
The Romney Marsh Music Centre (RMMC) offers music lovers the opportunity to participate in either the Choir, Junior String Orchestra, Senior Strings or the Wind Ensemble. Founded in 1983, the RMMC give concerts on Romney Marsh in local parish churches, village halls, and open air concerts. They took part in Kent Music’s “World Largest Orchestra” Guinness Book of World Records attempt, and gave three concerts in Ardres in France, as well as hosting return visits from music groups across the Channel.
The groups meet weekly during academic term time and you can join any of the groups, just turn up and ask for an application form at your first session. You can also join the group for a taster session, to see if you like it. You do not have to audition. There is a membership fee.
Find out more at the Romney Marsh Music Centre website.
In 2005 the Poet Ben Kaye was commissioned to write The Fifth Continent – A gift from the Sea to be set to music by the composer Paul Patterson. Premiered in Southwark Cathedral, the work is one of the most performed pieces of contemporary classical music and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. It has been performed to packed and enthusiastic audiences in both Lydd and new Romney parish churches.
Set to the specially written text by Ben Kaye, The Fifth Continent derives its inspiration from Romney Marsh. The Marsh has mused the minds of artists since the 1500’s when William Camden’s “Britannia” labelled it as “A Gift from the Sea”. Consisting of four movements continuously, the work is essentially about the Marsh’s sense of timelessness with its many different moods. Space and physical movement are used as an integral part of the musical structure. A sense of boundless mystery prevails, encompassing a huge range of extremes of ambience, from the dark and austere, to the serene and tranquil via storms of violent winds and high seas.
You can listen to BBC Radio 3 broadcast of The Fifth Continent here
To find out more about The Fifth Continent piece and to listen to extracts, please visit Paul Patterson's website
John Armitage Memorial Trust
The John Armitage Memorial Trust (JAM) is a charitable organisation set up to promote the development of classical music composition. Since 2000 they have existed purely to nurture, commission, perform and promote new music in the UK.
From the 7 July to 17 July 2016, JAM on the Marsh brings a series of concerts and events to the Romney Marsh. There will be 10 concerts, 4 exhibitions, 4 kids events, 2 poetry recitals and 1 churches tour.
For more information please visit our JAM on the Marsh page.
A Sculpture Park is being planned for Romney Marsh. Three sculptures have already been put up in New Romney, a fourth is on its way and more are being considered for Littlestone. The first sculptures may be seen in New Romney town in the garden at Sainsbury's and in the High Street opposite the Methodist Church,
Further works are to be placed along the entire length of the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Steam Railway. Works will be exhibited along the tracks and at the stations. Other sites will be included as time and funding allow. It is an enjoyable challenge for the IMOS Foundation to make Romney Marsh an even greater draw for visitors with the addition of an international level attraction
The sculptures are being placed by the charity IMOS Foundation, based in New Romney.
Once in place the sculptures, under the general ownership of the IMOS Foundation. will make permanent or semi-permanent fixtures. There may be some variation of the display from time to time as a work is added or another replaced. It is anticipated that only those works that require almost no maintenance and pose no danger to the public are commissioned and displayed.
For more information, please visit the IMOS Foundation website.
Sculpture at Sainsbury's