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St Bartholomew Herne Bay (CT6 6EB)

The history of the Church and Parish

St Bartholomew’s was built to serve the needs of the expanding population of early twentieth century Herne Bay. It is an imposing building, standing at the junction of Dence Park and King Edward Avenue, and at the top of Mickleburgh Hill. A church has stood on this site since 1908, first a wooden building, then, in stages, the building you see today, completed and consecrated in 1932. 

In 1905 the Reverend Giles Daubeney came to Herne Bay as Vicar of the ancient Parish Church of St Martin, Herne. At that time the parish of Herne extended from Herne itself down to the sea, and Giles Daubeney soon became concerned at the distance some of his parishioners were forced to travel (usually on foot) to attend St Martin’s. Daubeney was a formidable character; when he said he would do a thing he did it, and a year after his arrival he launched an appeal for funds to build a daughter church on this site, the land having been bought by St Martin’s. The Archbishop of Canterbury sent the first £20 for the appeal, and Daubeney wrote letters requesting help from the well-to-do of the area.

The well-to-do certainly helped, but Daubeney would later maintain that it was the shillings and pence of the ordinary folk that had really built the Church. He was, however, over-optimistic in his estimate of both the ultimate cost of the church and the time scale needed to build it. In 1908 a wooden church costing £452 was erected on the site and consecrated by the Bishop of Dover, William Walsh, on August 8th. In fact, the Bishop arrived just an hour after the West Window completed the building!

By 1913 enough money had been raised to start work on the permanent building. It was designed by W D Caroe, then architect to Canterbury Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid on All Saints’ Day, November 1st, 1913, by Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury, using a silver trowel still in the possession of the Church, having been returned by his widow after his death. A congregation was well established in the wooden church, but any hopes that that the building would soon be replaced by the brick one were dashed by the declaration of war in 1914. The porch, the memorial to Lilian Daubeney, the Vicar’s wife, was dedicated on December 15th, 1914, by the Bishop of Dover, and the building stopped there. It was not until 1922 that the Archdeacon of Maidstone came to dedicate the Memorial Chapel in memory of Henry Hogarth Bell and Giles Robert Daubeney, the Vicar’s step-son and son, who gave their lives in the War. Between 1922 and 1932 the wooden church was taken down in stages as the building of the brick church advanced, and the permanent church was finally consecrated by Cosmo Gordon Lang on Saturday July 30th, 1932. The Church was finished, but incomplete; it had been hoped that it would cost £5,000 and seat 500, in fact it cost £18,000 and can seat about 300.

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