Romney Marsh is known as The Fifth Continent. Thomas Ingoldsby, the pen name of 19th century author and cleric Richard Harris Barham (sometime Rector of St Dunstan, Snargate), wrote in his The Ingoldsby Legends:
The World, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Romney Marsh.
Serve God, honour the King, but first maintain the Wall is an apt slogan for Romney Marsh. Penned by author Russell Thorndike in his Dr Syn novel 'The Scarecrow Rides', it epitomises the fact that Romney Marsh owes its existence to the Dymchurch Wall, which stops the sea from flooding the Marsh.
John Betjeman wrote about Romney Marsh:
Romney Marsh, on the Sussex border of Kent and close to the sea. Romney Marsh, where the roads wind like streams through pasture and the sky is always three-quarters of the landscape. The sounds I associate with Romney Marsh are the bleating of innumerable sheep and the whistle of the sea wind in old willow trees. The sea has given a colour to this district: it has spotted with silver the oak posts and rails; it gives the grass and the rushes a grey salty look and turns the red bricks and tiles of Fairfield Church a saffron yellow.
Origin of the Name Romney
The name Romney is derived from Old English 'at the spacious, or wide, river' recorded in 895 as Rumenea, and in 914 as Rumenesea. This appears to have been an early name for Romney Marsh, whose inhabitants are referred to in 774 as Merscuuare and in 796 as Merscware (Old English merscware: marsh people). Their territory is described in 811 as regio Merscuuariorum (region of the Marsh People); and earlier, in 697, there appears here the name Ruminingseta: 'fold of the dwellers by the spacious river' and Rumeneia
Rumeneia was the name of the river we know as the Rother, which used to flow into sea at New Romney but now flows out through Rye. It would appear that this river had different names in different parts of it, which is not unusual and happens elsewhere in the country. Near the source or spring head, it was likely called the Rother. Lower down and along the branch which flowed out to the sea at the Roman port Portus Lemanis near the Roman fort at Stutfall, the Limen and as the Rumeneia near New Romney. Hence the name Romney. The present place names appear as Rumney, Old Rumney in1575, and as Romney, Old Romney in 1610.
Romney Marsh was known by the English Saxons first as Merscwarum and then, in c795, as Merscware. It is not certain when it first became know as Rommene, or Romney. There was mention of this name in 895 related with land owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury near the river called Rumeneia.