St Clement, Old Romney
St Clement in Old Romney is a Church of England parish church and one of the oldest churches in Kent. It was originally constructed in the 12th century although there is some evidence of an original structure on the site dating back to the 8th century.
One of the most-visited Marsh churches, built on an artificial mound to protect it from the floodwaters. There is a Norman nave enlarged by the addition of aisles in the thirteenth century. Because of its virtually unrestored state it has many items of interest, the uneven floor creating a very rural atmosphere.
The two hagioscopes to either side of the chancel arch are unusually large and are little more than holes knocked into the wall. The rood loft staircase, discovered in the 1920's, still has its medieval door frame - a rare survival indeed. In the north chapel is the mensa medieval altar.
The delightful altar rails are early eighteenth century and present a run of very close-set balusters.
The box pews and gallery are of later eigtheenth century date and were repainted for the Rank film 'Dr Syn'. The large Royal Arms of George III are dated 1800 - the lion has a particularly smug expression!
An interesting, and unusual sight, is the font, the capitals of which are carved with different figures. They date from the fourteenth century, and are much more worn but with patience one can still pick out details of the grotesque animals.
The Rev. John Deffray, Rector of St Clement from 1690 until his death in 1738, was known for his contributions to the Religious Societies and the starting of the West Gallery choir tradition. John Deffray, a Huguenot, born in France in 1661, is buried in the chancel of Old Romney church under a magnificent tombstone bearing his French coat-of-arms.
The twentieth century film producer, Derek Jarman, is buried in the churchyard and is commemorated by a headstone simply bearing his signature.
Text courtesy of John Vigar, Kent Churches
St Clement Church c1875 (Ack.24)