Knights Templar Church Ruins, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, UK

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John Latter on March 23, 2010

The ruins of the Knights Templar church on Dover's Western Heights viewed from the west.

Click to see The Knights Templar Church from the East, all Knights Templar photos, and more Dover Churches.

According to the wikipedia Knights Templar in England entry (see under 'Templar Locations in England'), this is the site where the Benedictine monk Matthew Paris says King John submitted to the papal legate Pandulph in May 1213.

A nearby plaque reads (in text and braille):

The remains of a small early 12th Century church built by the Knights Templar. The Order of the Knights Templar was founded in Jerusalem in 1118 to protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land after the First Crusade.

The Order spread rapidly throughout Europe, with its work supported by many estates donated by wealthy benefactors. In 1128 the Order reached England, with this site becoming one of its earliest properties.

Templar churches usually have a circular nave (1), as here, in imitation of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Indications are that this site was abandoned before 1185. The remains were discovered by military engineers fortifying the Western Heights in the early 19th Century (2).

(1) The rectangular section is the Chancel

(2) 1806

From "The History of the Castle, Town and Port of Dover" by Reverend S. P. H. Statham, Rector of St Mary-in-the-Castle (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899), pages 208 - 209:

Knight Templars' Church

The foundations of an ancient building were discovered on the western heights in 1806. .Further investigation proved them to be the remains of a church. The nave, which was circular, was twenty-seven feet in diameter, the walls being four feet thick. An oblong chancel was attached twenty-five feet in length, and fourteen feet wide at the west end, but only thirteen f.eet at the east end. The building was Norman in design, and Caen stone was used in its construction,

The date on King John's surrender of the kingdom to the Legate Paudulph is as follows : "Teste meipso apiid domum Miutum Templi juxta Dovoram, xv. die, Mai, anno regni nostri decimo quarto". It is impossible not to believe that this was the place where the king knelt before the Pope's legate and did homage for his kingdom, England and Ireland. It has been maintained that juxta could not mean "in" Dover, but as late as the seventeenth century the Bredinstone [Bredenstone] was spoken of as being a mile south of the town.

[Archaeologia Cantiana., xi., 45.]

This is an English Heritage site.

Another of Dover's Norman churches in a similar state of disrepair as the Knights Templar one is the ruins of St. Martin-le-Grand near the Market Square.

Currently, there are two views available:

  1. Ruins of St. Martin-le-Grand Church

  2. St. Martin-le-Grand Church Ruins

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 19, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/07/20 11:19:22
    • Exposure: 0.010s (1/100)
    • Focal Length: 18.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/5.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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