23rd November is known as Saint Clement’s Day but in the Middle Ages was also considered to be the beginning of Winter.
Saint Clement was the fourth Christian Pope who lived from 53 to 117 AD. After being banished to the Crimea, he converted heathens to Christianity and built 75 churches. Emperor Trajan then had him thrown into the Black Sea, with an anchor tied around his neck. He is usually depicted alongside a ship and anchor. Saint Clement is also known as the Patron Saint of Marble Workers.
Right on my doorstep is the beautiful medieval church of Old Romney, which lies in the heart of Romney Marsh. Old Romney was once a port, and therefore it’s dedication to Saint Clement is perhaps unsurprising. The church is well worth a visit as it contains many unique and unusual features including a beautiful altar made of local stone and a tomb thought to be that of a Crusader!
The church dates to the twelfth century and was badly damaged in world war two. It was saved thanks to a local book – ‘Doctor Syn,’ which was set in Dymchurch and written by Russell Thorndike. Walt Disney Productions asked to use the interior of the church, painting it pink and black and giving the church a donation to fund it’s repairs.
Saint Clement’s is one of thirteen fabulous medieval churches, which are looked after by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust.