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• History of New Romney
Changing face of New Romney Marsh
Story of Dr Syn

History of New Romney

The earliest record of Romney dates from 791 AD. The name, once thought a corruption of Roman-ney, is now believed to derive from the Saxon "rumnea", meaning marsh water.

By 1140 it was a flourishing port extending along the north bank of the River Rother to form the "Longport". But as the harbour silted up, activities centred at the seaward end. Old Romney diminished in importance, while New Romney grew.

However, decline set in after the great storms of the 13th century diverted the Rother to Rye. Efforts to keep the harbour open eventually proved futile. Today the sea is a mile away.

St Nicholas was the first church built in New Romney. Started in 1080 by Bishop Odo half brother to William the Conqueror, it was completed 50 years later in 1130. Today, St Nicholas is one of those churches supported by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust.

Until the 1100’s, Old Romney and New Romney were linked with the port at New Romney moving further away from the old town as the coastline spread the English Channel. As the creeping away of the harbour went on, the distance between Romney and its harbour became too great and so the two villages separated.

Part of the Cinque Ports mentioned in a Royal Charter of 1155, which are the “Ports” of Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich, New Romney had become the major village at this time.

In 1287 AD, a severe storm hit the Channel. Shingles from Dungeness piled up and blocked the outlet of the Rother at New Romney; the river changed its path to its current position to Rye and out into the sea. New Romney had its harbour devastated and shingles and mud flooded the town.
After the storm, the prosperity of the village declined and in 1550 only one church of the original five was left standing.

From the 1300’s till 1724, smuggling of wool (Owling) was rife. But in 1724, the French found they could obtain cheaper wool from Ireland. However, the smuggling in the area continued till the 1840’s when the Excise men mostly stopped it.

A local legend tell that in the late 1700’s a young girl was found hanged in the New Inn and that her ghostly form can be seen walking the rooms and passageways.

On the 16th July 1927, the Romney Hythe&Dymchurch Railways was opened. It stretched for nearly 14 miles from Hythe to the fishermen cottage and lighthouses at Dungeness, through Dymchurch, St Marys Bay and its base et New Romney.
The railway was built by Captain J.E.P Howey and Count Louis Zborowski to serve the local population and tourist trade.





The church

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