Our Local Churches
This page contains some information about the churches in our local area, many of which we use on a regular basis.
Walmer Baptist Church
It was in February 1899 that the members of Victoria Baptist Church resolved at their annual church meeting to start working to establish a church in the fast expanding adjacent residential district of Lower Walmer.
By April the following year £800 was raised at a magnificent supper and Mr W Parkinson announced that he had secured part of The Great Field and presented it to the church. In June 1901 an informal dedication service was held on the site of the new church building and the foundation stone was laid in August 1903. The contract for the building was awarded to Mr A.W. Thompson of Walmer and was constructed of locally manufactured red brick in the “Early English” style, with bath stone dressings to the design of Architects J Willis & Son of Derby at a cost of £3,500.
The plan is cruciform, with shallow transepts, and a fine off-set tower on the front elevation. With seating for 500 persons, a gallery to the rear of the nave and features an open baptistery. The Organ was built by a local firm of F.W.Browne. The Church building was opened on July 21st 1904.
The church is still used today for Worship, and secular events. For the Centenary celebrations in 2004 a stained glass window was commissioned and installed in the north transept and was designed by Bradley Love, a former pupil at The Downs CE Primary School. The church hall is used by the community during the week where many activities take place.
Walmer Baptist Church's mission statement is "A Christian Community, for the Community, in the Community".
Walmer Parish Churches:
There are three parish churches... Blessed Mary of Walmer, St Saviour’s and St Mary’s.
BMW was Walmer's original parish church built around 1120. At first it was a private chapel of the d'Auberville family who lived in the adjacent moated 'Walmer Court'. After the dissolution of the monasteries during the reformation the church became the responsibility of the Archbishop of Canterbury who subsequently appointed the vicar.
By the end of the 18th century Walmer had grown considerably and the church was not big enough for all who attended services there. By 1826 the church had been enlarged by extending to the north. During some of this time the Duke of Wellington was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and was a regular member of the congregation. However, by the mid 19th century, with further population growth to the north of Walmer nearer the sea, the church had become too small and poorly located.
In the days of sailing ships the Downs, the area of sea between Deal/Walmer, and the Goodwin Sands, was used for mooring and as a safe 'harbour' during stormy weather. Large numbers of boatmen came to live on the Walmer seashore to work rowing out to the ships with all that they needed. By the 1840's there was a need to build a new church in lower Walmer for the spiritual life of the seafarers. The foundation stone of St Saviour's was laid in August 1848. Within a year it was in use.
As time went on Blessed Mary of Walmer church became unsuitable for the growing population of upper Walmer. Due to the generosity of several local families the architect Arthur Blomfield was appointed to design and build a new church. The foundation stone of the new building was laid in 1887 and the church completed a year later, dedicated by Archbishop Benson on April 5th 1888. The tower, with a peal of eight bells, wasn't built until 1893 and has been left unfinished without it's originally intended spire.
Walmer Parish Churches Mission Statement is
‘Open lives, open hands, open churches’
We seek to fulfil this mission through worship, prayer and spirituality, ministry and discipleship, witness and evangelism, fulfilling Christ’s call to love God, love one another, and love our neighbour.
One of the key ways we seek to do all of the above is through our close links with our parish school, the Downs Church of England Primary School, and other schools in the area.
For full details of our services, children’s and youth work, church life, and community activities please visit our website www.walmerparishchurches.org or contact our parish office:
32 St Mary’s Road
Tel: 01304 366605