Sentinels on the Marsh – Historical and archaeological surveys



This project aimed at helping local people to gain a better understanding of Romney Marsh’s historic churches and the role they played in shaping the communities and landscape of the Marsh. The project was broken down into two separate parts. The first focussing on the churches which remain, and the second on those which are now in ruins.

Using volunteers, the project charted the history of the churches and their relationship with the communities in which they are situated. Churchyards were surveyed to record the memorials and assess their condition. Photographic surveys will help to identify and recorded surviving earthworks, and churches will be photographed as a fixed record of the sites.

A community dig  took place at St Martin’s field in New Romney in 2019 and attempted to define the limits of the building and address the key question of its foundation date. A mobile exhibition created from this work with photographs, maps, plans and text took place in New Romney and Ivychurch in 2022 and showcased the results from the whole project.


Sentinels on the Marsh – Historical and archaeological surveys contributes to Rediscover project theme.


With the support of volunteers a  community excavation at St Martin’s church in New Romney, took place in June 2019.


Visit the volunteering page to find out more about getting involved with Fifth Continent projects.

Mar 2021


Towards the end of 2020 we completed the churchyard survey at Snave which was the last of our four church surveys. With the help of our consultants and volunteers we are now producing our churchyard plans which will help anyone who is trying to locate a specific grave at either St Eanswith, Brenzett; All Saints, Burmarsh or St Augustine, Snave.

Feb 2020

Booklet & plan produced for graveyard survey


The booklet and plan of our graveyard survey at All Saints Church, Burmarsh have been produced and will be available in the church. This is the culmination of a lot of dedication and work from the fantastic volunteers recording the position of each of the graves which has then been used to create an accurate map.

Jan 2020

Two training sessions completed

20_01_11 heritage training

2020 is off to a flying start with two training sessions already carried out in January. The first was a Reading Old English session which taught our volunteers how to translate old texts. Next we had another training session in the Archives at the Kent History and Library Centre. Both of these training opportunities have helped to develop the skills needed for our volunteers to carry out their research on the projects.

Oct 2019

Continuing to process material from St Martin’s excavation

Continuing to process material from St Martin’s excavation

We are continuing to process the material from our St Martin’s excavation this summer. Everything has been washed, weighed and recorded and we are now starting to label each individual item. For future finds processing dates, please see our What’s on page. All are welcome to join us for finds processing, no experience necessary.

Oct 2019

Survey completed at All Saints Church

We have completed our survey at All Saints Church, Burmarsh. Our volunteers recorded the position of each of the graves which will then be used to create an accurate map to be displayed in the church. Information about the inscriptions along with photos of each grave will also be available to anyone who is trying to find a particular grave.

Sep 2019

Processing finds from the St Martins excavation

We have started processing the finds from the St Martins excavation. This involves washing and marking the individual finds as well as recording the type and quantity of the material.

Aug 2019

Finds processing started

Finds processing of the material from the St Martins Field evaluation has begun. Drop in sessions will run throughout autumn so please keep an eye on our What’s On page for future dates.

Jul 2019

Two Graveyard Surveys Undertaken

We have carried out two graveyard surveys this month, one at St Eanswith in Brenzett and one at St Augustine in Snave. This involved recording the condition and the inscriptions on the graves. This activity was really interesting, and we are looking forward to carrying out similar surveys in other graveyards on the Marsh.

Jul 2019

Archaeological Evaluation at St Martin’s Field

Our archaeological evaluation at St Martin’s Field, New Romney has taken place this month. Following the survey work we carried out earlier in the year, we have excavated a number of test pits to look for evidence of the church. On the first day we didn’t find any evidence of a building but on the second and third days we found what appears to be two of the buttresses and lots of demolition material. We also found some medieval floor tile and window glass. The finds will now be processed and analysed by our volunteers before being sent to experts who will give us their opinion on the material.

May 2019

Project Update

We are busy preparing for the additional survey and test pitting at St Martin’s Field in New Romney. Despite several archaeological surveys over the past 15 years we still don’t know the location, size or age of the church. We are hoping our work over the next couple of weeks will help to answer some of these questions.    

May 2019

Analysing Results of Geophys Survey

We carried out two days of geophysical survey in April. After analysing the results we have decided to carry out further survey work in June along with some evaluation test pits. Spaces will be limited to 10 volunteers per day and priority will be given to those volunteers who have already taken part in the project.

Apr 2019

Volunteers started finds-processing


Our heritage volunteers started the finds-processing from our recent archaeological excavation on RomneyMarsh. We have number of drop-in sessions planned for the coming weeks.

Apr 2019

Geophys survey of St Martin’s Field


This month our heritage volunteers carried out a geophys survey of St Martin’s Field in New Romney. Initial results look very interesting and we are looking forward to returning to the field for our community archaeology excavation in the summer.  

Feb 2019

New heritage project at Burmarsh

We have met with the community at Burmarsh to discuss a potential graveyard survey. This was well received, and we are hoping to develop this in the coming months.

Nov 2018

Resistivity survey completed

Resistivity survey

A resistivity survey was carried out at St George Ivychurch 4 November. The survey aims to look for evidence for a former extension to the existing church building. Results are currently being analysed.

Oct 2018

Volunteer training

Training underway, with volunteers learning new skills including geophysical survey techniques, landscape and building surveys and archive research.

Jul 2018

Churches specialist appointed

We have recently appointed our Churches specialists and we are now working together to organise the volunteer training sessions. The dates for these sessions will be announced shortly. If you would like to get involved, there is still time to sign up before the training sessions begin. For more details see the volunteering page.

Jun 2018

Ongoing volunteering opportunities

We are looking to involve people of all ages to take part in historical and archaeological surveys of the churches of the marsh and wider landscape. A successful launch day took place on Saturday 9 June, but we a still keen for more people to be involved. Procurement is underway to appoint a churches consultant to support the Heritage Officer in delivering this project. For contact details see the volunteering page.

Jun 2018

Heritage Officer back from maternity leave

Our Heritage Officer Lucie Bolton is back from maternity leave. If you would like to know more about our heritage projects please contact:

Apr 2018

Volunteer training days planned

We are currently planning the volunteer training days for this project. The first training day is due to take place in July. If you are interested in volunteering or would like to know more, please contact Lucie Bolton at  

Visit our News Archive page.

It is planned to create a number of short films about Romney Marsh during the life of the scheme and this will include recording the progress of the projects. Go to the film footage page to get details of the films we have produced so far.


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