St Andrew's Church Buckland


Tucked in behind the site of Buckland Paper Mill stands St. Andrew's Church.

Buckland Church is the only existing parish church in Dover mentioned in the Domesday Survey, and may be presumed to have existed in the Saxon period.  The present church has no trace of Saxon work in any part of it but, before 1066 it belonged to the Canons of St Martin's.

The entry in the Domesday Book reads:

"In Bocheland, Godric holds one sulung, and he has here 2 carucates in demesne and 3 villeins and 4 borderers with one carucate and one church.  It is worth six pounds.  In the time of Edward the Confessor eight pounds."

It is clear that a church has stood on this site since Saxon times, but the early building may have been a simple timber structure or built of chalk and flint dug out of the adjoining hillside.  The population of Buckland at the end of Saxon rule was "twenty families, bond and free".

The Buckland Yew is believed to be well over 1000 years old.  in about 1841, "Old Humphrey" visited the church and included this description of the tree in a pamphlet published by the Religious Tract Society:

"... the old yew in the churchyard is a curiosity.  I wandered amongst the tombs, and mused over such of the green hillocks as had no stone to tell the names of those who slept beneath them; but the old yew tree, after all, was the greatest object of interest.  Many an age must that old tree have stood sentinel  amongst the graves; sometimes enriched with berries, and always adorned with leaves.  At least, I should say, that 500 summer suns and winter snows have passed over it.  Grey-haired and bald-headed men, on the Sabbath, have stood beneath it, in the time of barley harvest, before they entered the House of God.  Old women, too, have assembled there in their russet gowns, and light-hearted children on a week-day, have indulged there in pastimes.  The tree is hollow, and time and the elements have writhed it into fantastic shapes.  I can see, or fancy I see, snakes and dragons in the twisted branches.(J.B.J. 1907)

The plea to "Spare that tree" prevailed with the church restorers in 1880 and the tree was moved 60 feet to the west to make way for the doubling in length of the church.

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The Buckland Yew

The sign on the fence round the tree reads:

        The   Buckland   Yew.
     This   ancient   tree   is   estimated
to be  1,000 years  old. It stood 60 feet
to  the  east  until  1880  when  it   was
transplanted   to  allow   the   church
to  be  extended. A  deep  trench  was
dug  round  the  roots,  which  were
supported  on  timber  baulks,  rollers
placed  beneath and the tree  weighing
some  56 tons was  moved  to  the
present    site.

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The Lych Gate at Buckland


The present church was built by the monks of Dover Priory in about 1196 and the original fabric is still visible, despite restoration and enlargement work in 1851 and the considerable extensions of 1880.

"Buckland Churchyard has, for many years past, ceased to be a burial place.  The old churchyard is kept up in a way that does credit to the Vicar, the Rev. Turbeville Evans, and the Churchwardens, Mr. W. G. Lewis and Mr. C. J. Sellens.  It is approached through a very handsome covered lych-gate, in which there are seats.  On the well-kept greensward there are several very old headstones, which have resisted the effects of weather remarkable.  One is in memory of Mary Gurner, who died in September, 1635; another to James Wood, who died 1692; and another to Ann, the wife of William Wood, who died June, 1733.  On the higher ground, on the south side, under the spreading chestnut tree, is a headstone in the memory of Mrs. Jane Wilson, who died at Buckland, 12th August, 1849, aged 92 years.  It was stated in the newspapers, at the time of her death, that she was a native of Canterbury, but had been resident for many years at Buckland.  She had paid three different clergymen to bury her.  To one she gave, in addition, all her plate.  Two of them left Dover previous to her death.  She had paid the undertaker for her funeral three years before she died.  Adjoining the old churchyard, westward, and on the higher ground to the south, is Buckland Cemetery."   (J.B.J. 1907) 

Buckland Church and Churchyard 1907

In 1839, Sir Stephen R. Glynne, Bart., described the building thus:

"This small church has a nave, north aisle, and chancel with south aisle, a south porch, and a wooden belfry over the west end... The aisle of the nave is very narrow ... The aisle is divided from the nave by three plain Early English arches, one of which is circular, the piers octagonal, with inverted capitals.  The chancel arch is pointed, with Early English mouldings, and springs from half shafts in octagonal form.  The chancel has a south aisle or chapel, from which it is divided by two very dissimilar arches that seem to have been opened in the original wall.  The chapel was probably added in the 14th century, as it has windows of Decorated character, which have lately been restored.  The western arch (opening to the chapel), has its spring very low, its mouldings are fine, and rest on corbel heads; a drip stone over it is continued in the wall, and stopped by the other arch.  The eastern arch (also opening to the chapel), is of a very different shape, having its spring very high upon half octagonal shafts.  In this arch is a low stone partition in which there seems to have been a stall or sedile.  In the space eastward of the arch is a moulded niche, trefoiled, having a drip stone, and containing a shelf and piscina; also another recess walled up ...  The south chapel is included in the same roof as the chancel.  In the north aisle is a square aumbry."

On 8th May 1774, the spire was struck by lightning.

Bavington Jones described the church in 1907, after the extension:

"As the church now stands, the nave has an arcade of six arches on either side.  On the south side, right up to the pulpit, the arches are all modern, but on the north side there are three old arches which represent the length of the church previous to the enlargement of 1880, while the three corresponding arches on the south side and the aisles south of it, must have been added at the restoration of 1851.(J.B.J. 1907)