WE WISH PEACE AND HAPPINESS TO OUR VISITORS AND THOSE LOOKING FOR A PLACE FOR QUIET REFLECTION IN AN INCREASINGLY BUSY WORLD.
When you walk through St. Laurence-In-Thanet Churchyard, you walk in the footsteps of Elizabeth I, William Pitt, the Duke of Wellington, William IV, Queen Victoria and many other well-known dignitaries.
Consecrated in 1275, the churchyard covers three and a half acres and contains over 1,400 graves. Before stone memorials became common in the 17th century the churchyard was used to graze sheep and pardoners used the space to preach in the open air.
More recently the churchyard was closed to burials and a Memorial Garden was created for the interment of ashes.
As well as the valuable social history, the churchyard is an oasis for flora and fauna. Managed for the benefit of wildlife, the grass is not cut regularly and certain areas are left uncut to encourage wild flowers and food for wild creatures.
Blackbirds, Wrens, Blue Tits, Robins, Jays and Green Woodpeckers are regular visitors. Butterflies include Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Painted Lady and Common Blue. There are also Ladybirds, Dragonflies and several types of Bee and Spider.
Following the burst of colour from Crocuses and Primroses in the Spring, Summer Flowers include Bluebells, Cow Parsley, Ox-Eye Daisies, Spear Thistles, Greater Knapweed and Arum Maculatum (‘Lords and Ladies’).
The churchyard is home to mature Oask, Yews, Populars, Sycamores, Fir Trees and Holly. Ivy grows over old boundary walls providing important nesting sites for the birds and a food source in the Winter.
As many species of bird and butterfly become endangered the environmental potential of St. Laurence-In-Thanet Churchyard is clear.
There are over 1,400 graves in the churchyard. One of the earliest graves is of George Skinner, born in 1594, buried in 1656 who was alive during the time of Oliver Cromwell. Several luminaries rest their bones here;
SIR WILLIAM GARROW: 1760 – 1840
The eminent Lawyer, Barrister and Politican; recently the subject of a TV series ‘Garrow’s Law’, who was responsible for that cornerstone of British law – ‘Innocent until proven guilty’.
JOHN COLLIS BROWNE: 1819 – 1884
The doctor who invented Chlorodyne, originally a treatment for Chloera but which became a ‘miracle cure’ for everything from colds and diarrhoea to whooping cough, neuralgia and rheumatism.
COLONEL CROMWELL MASSEY: 1742 – 1845
Who died in 1845 ages 103. Having fought for the East Indie Company against the Sultan of Mysore, he was captured and thrown into a dungeon for three years and nine months. After retirement he sepnt his last 11 years in Ramsgate.
CAPTIAN JOHN WOOLWARD: 1780 – 1836
Having fought with Nelson at Aboukir he then became Harbour Master at Ramsgate for 26 years.
The resting place of two grandchildren of George III. Grandson Augustus Frederick had the mausoleum built for this mother, Lady Augusta Murray. She married the sixth son of George III in 1973 who became the Duke of Sussex and a favourite Uncle of Queen Victoria. Under the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, the marriage was rules invalid and the couple parted in 1801. In the mausoleum are Lady Augusta, her parents – the Earl of Dunmore and his Countess, Lady Augusta’s son, daughter and son-in-law – Baron Truro. Ramsgate road names remember the family – Augusta Road, Augusta Steps, Truro Road adn D’este Road.
For a more details explanation of the history, including Social History in St. Laurence-In-Thanet Churchyard please join us on one of our guided tours of the area which happen on the first Saturday of each month between April and October. They start at 10.00am and there is no need to book, simply turn up on the day. After the tour, why not stay for a coffee and take a look around the Church.
For more information please contact the Parish Office on 01843 592478 or by using the contact form on the Contact page.