Seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year as they tour Dover Castle, St. Mary in Castro is, first and foremost, a working place of worship.
Services are usually at 10am every Sunday, (unless highlighted below)
Services are normally Holy Communion unless otherwise stated, with Sung Matins on the second Sunday each month.
All are welcome to attend any of our services, please advise the kiosk of your intentions.
If you are intending to continue to visit the Castle after the service please purchase a ticket in the usual manner.
The Church is open at all times during your visit to the Castle.
The Churchwardens are :
Marianne Slater & Mary Sherred
Services In September / October 2023
Sun 01 Oct 11:00 Harvest Service with lunch to follow - please book
Sun 08 Oct 10:00 Matins Trinity 18
Sun 15 Oct 10:00 Trinity 19
Sun 22 Oct 10:00 Trinity 20
Sun 29 Oct 10:00 Last Sunday after Trinity
Thur 02 Nov 12:00 All Souls Service
Sun 05 Nov 10:00 All Saints Sunday
Sun 12 Nov 10:00 Special Service Remembrance Sunday
Sun 19 Nov 10:00 2nd before Advent
Sun 26 Nov 10:00 Christ the King
Sun 03 Dec 10:00 Advent 1 / St Andrew
Sun 10 Dec 10:00 Morning Prayer Advent 2 / St Barbara
Sun 17 Dec 10:00 Advent 3
Sun 17 Dec 18:30 Carol Service with refreshment to follow
Sun 24 Dec 10:00 Advent 4
Sun 24 Dec 16:30 Christingle & Crib Service
Sun 24 Dec 23:30 Midnight Mass
Mon 25 Dec 10:00 Christmas Day Communion
Sun 31 Dec 10:00 Christmas 1
Once the local Garrison church, it is now an Extra-parochial Church in Canterbury Diocese, but it still keeps a military ethos.
All services are open to everyone, if attending worship, an entry ticket from English Heritage is not required. The church is inside the Castle grounds and, from its Saxon beginnings, has served garrisons within the castle and in the surrounding area.
There is still an active congregation, with a Church council and Co-coordinating Chaplain and is part of the Church of England, if not technically the Deanery of Dover.
Although we have no parish we have many thousands of children visiting each year. Our Church Council takes Safeguarding very seriously and has appointed a Safeguarding Coordinator for both Vulnerable Adults and Children - Miranda Chapman - who may be contacted on 07969 614420.
Sited on the White Cliffs of Dover with a 360 degree panorama the age of the church is uncertain but the current building dates from 800 to 1000AD (late Saxon ). It is likely that it is on the site of earlier Roman foundations, either a place of worship or a building linked to the Roman lighthouse, Pharos, which is by the West door. Roman building materials, especially tiles, were re-used by the Saxons in walls and arches.
At the end of the seventeenth century, church attendance dropped, the church fell into ruins. It was later used as a fives court, a coal store and rubbish dump. In 1862 the church was restored by George Gilbert Scott and the distinctive mosaic work and other cosmetic additions were added by William Butterfield in 1889/90.
The church played a major part during the two world wars as a place of worship and contemplation for those stationed in the castle, or those heading overseas. During the spring and summer of 1940 services continued despite almost constant air-raids and anti-aircraft fire.