Bishop Trevor to open 950 year celebrations for St. Laurence-in-Thanet Church

The Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott will open a fair and preach at a special service this weekend to mark the 950th anniversary of St Laurence-in-Thanet church.

On Saturday 4 August, the week-long celebrations will commence with the St. Laurence-tide Fair in the church grounds when at 2pm Bishop Trevor will declare the fair open. Running until 5pm, the fair will include cream teas, traditional stalls, free tours of the churchyard and tower and live entertainment from the Thanet Concert Band.

Bishop Trevor will also attend the church at 6.30pm on Sunday 5th August when he will celebrate and preach at the Patronal Service in the church. This special service will be attended by some past rectors of the parish, as well as the Area Dean and the Mayor and Mayoress of Ramsgate.

The Reverend Sharran Ireland, Team Rector of St Laurence in Thanet commented: We are privileged to be part of the history of this great church, once known as the ‘Church on the

Hill’ the mother church of St. Laurence-on-Sea as it was then.” Explaining that the week of activities are open to the whole community, Reverend Sharran continued: “There are various activities during the week and we look forward to you coming to join us to help celebrate this wonderful occasion.”

Events during the week include an organ recital on the evening of Monday 6 August (7pm), a chance to try handbell ringing on Tuesday 7th August (7.30pm), a display of memorabilia on the afternoons of Tuesday and Wednesday and a ‘Songs of Praise’ style service on Sunday 12 August at 6.30pm.

St. Laurence-in-Thanet Church was built in 1062. Originally, it consisted of just the tower and nave, it was extended in the late 12th century by the addition of side aisles and reached its present size early in the 13th century. The tower was severely damaged by a storm in 1439, after which it was rebuilt and raised in height. Visitors to the St. Laurence Fair will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the tower to experience the magnificent views of surrounding area.

Queen Victoria used to worship in the church as a young girl. The clock was purchased in

1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and the Great East Window, depicting the story of St. Augustine bringing Christianity to Kent in 597, was also given in memory of her.

The churchyard contains some 1,400 graves dating back to 1656. During the Napoleonic wars, mass graves were dug as Ramsgate became a vast army camp of troops awaiting embarkation and returning injured. As well as being a place of historical significance, the churchyard has recently won awards for conservation and wildlife management.


Further information from:

Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446,




950 Celebration Week at St. Laurence Church, High Street St. Lawrence, Ramsgate



Saturday 4th August – St. Laurence Fair, 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. Lots of traditional stalls. Church, Churchyard and Tower tours. Entertainment from the Thanet Concert Band. Cream Teas. Adults 50p, children free.


Sunday 5th August – Patronal Service, 6.30 p.m.



Monday 6th August – Organ Recital by Edward Greenhalgh. 7.00 p.m. Edward is the organist and choirmaster of St. Laurence Church. He is also known for his work with local choirs and orchestras and as Musical Director for numerous shows and pantomimes. Tickets £4.00.


Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th August – Memorabilia Display and a chance to look around the church, 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.


Tuesday 7th August – Come and Try Handbell Ringing, 7.30 p.m. All welcome to come along and give it a go! Session to be run by the St. Laurence Change Ringers.


Wednesday 8th August – Cantate in Concert, 7.30 p.m. The popular choir will perform works by Purcell, Byrd, Tallis and many more. Tickets £5.00.


Thursday 9th August – “1062 & All That”; A pageant celebrating 950 years of St. Laurence

Church, 3.00 p.m. & 7.00 p.m. Devised by Veronica Ashby. Retiring collection.



Sunday 12th August – “Songs of Praise”, 6.30 p.m. Hymns chosen by members of the congregation.


The Parish Office (01843) 592478 can be contacted for more information about any of the above events.