St. Mary in Castro (St. Mary in the Castle) Garrison Church, Dover Castle, Dover

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Perched on top of the White Cliffs of Dover with a 360 degree panorama of the English Channel and surrounding countryside lies St. Mary in Castro. The church sits within the English Heritage site of Dover Castle and from its Saxon beginnings has served the army garrison within the castle and the surrounding area for many centuries.

The church remains an army garrison church but the services are open to all.

The age of the church is uncertain but the current building dates from 800 to 1000AD (late Saxon period). However, it is likely that an earlier Roman building sat on the site, whether as a place of worship or a building to maintain the Roman lighthouse, Pharos, which lies just outside the West door. Roman building materials, especially Roman tiles, were incorporated into the walls and arches of the church by the Saxons.

At the end of the seventeenth century, church attendance dropped and soon the church fell into ruins (having been used as a fives court, coal store and rubbish dump). In 1862  the church was restored by George Gilbert Scott and later the distinctive mosaic work and other cosmetic additons were added by William Butterfield in 1889/90.

The church played a major part in the castle's history during the two world wars as a place of worship and contemplation for personnel stationed in the castle and for those heading overseas. During the spring and summer of 1940 services continued despite almost constant disruption from air-raids and anti-aircraft fire.

Today, hundreds of thousands of visitors visit the church every year as they tour around the castle. However, first and foremost, St. Mary in Castro is a working place of worship. If attending worship, an entry ticket from English Heritage is not required.

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St Mary in Castro
Dover Castle
CT16 1HU
Tel: (01304) 202979 (Church Office)
  • Regular Services
  • Other Events
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Holy Communion Service
A Holy Communion service takes place at 10am.
Lent service at noon Wednesdays every first third fourth and fifth Sunday at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Coffee Common Worship
Matins from BCP
Traditional service of Matins from the Book of Common Prayer
Frequency changes occasionally, please check with the verger if attending specifically for Matins. every second Sunday at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Coffee Book of Common Prayer


Holy Communion
Each Wednesday of Lent
5 March to 9th April inclusive Wednesday at 12:00 PM for 1 hour
Common Worship
Printer friendly list of events
St George's Day
St George's Day Service
Sunday 27th April 2014 at 10:00 AM for 50 minutes
Family Friendly Coffee
Royal Artillery Foundation Service
Royal Artillery Foundation Service (St Barbara's Day) followed by said Holy Communion in Military Chapel
Sunday 25th May 2014 at 10:00 AM for 50 minutes
Ours is a Listed Building Conservation Area Floodlighting Wall paintings / art Stained glass Guidebooks / notes Cafe / restaurant Shop Organ Church Open Hearing / Induction Loop Large Print Hymnbooks / Orders of Service Assistance Dogs Toilets Baby Changing Facilities Visitor Parking Available

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Other information
A Church Near You ID: 5393
Built: 1000
Architect: Restored by Gilbert Scott and Butterfield
Style of worship: Traditional Catholic

The current editor is: Tom Russell

St. Mary in Castro (St. Mary in the Castle) Garrison Church, Dover Castle Dover Castle, Dover, Kent, CT16 1HU
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