Not to be confused with Minster, Swale.

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Minster-in-Thanet
 Minster-in-Thanet shown within Kent
Population 3,569 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceTR308645
Civil parishMinster-in-Thanet
Shire countyKent
RegionSouth East
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town RAMSGATE
Postcode district CT12
Dialling code 01843
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK ParliamentSouth Thanet
List of places

Coordinates: 51°20′02″N 1°18′54″E / 51.334°N 1.315°E / 51.334; 1.315

Minster-in-Thanet, also known as Minster, is a village and civil parish in the Thanet District of Kent, England. The village is situated to the west of Ramsgate and to the north east of Canterbury; it lies just south west of Kent International Airport and just north of the River Stour. Minster is also the "ancient capital of Thanet".[2] At the 2011 Census the hamlet of Ebbsfleet was included.


The name comes from the Latin monasterium and denotes the historical presence of an abbey or monastery.


Archaeology has shown a Bronze Age settlement at Minster-in-Thanet.[3] The area became part of the Roman Empire under the emperor Claudius which four centuries later was ceded to the Saxons around 450AD.


In 597 Augustine of Canterbury is said, by the Venerable Bede, to have landed with 40 men at nearby Ebbsfleet, in the parish of Minster-in-Thanet, before founding a monastery in Canterbury; a cross marks the spot of his landing.
Minster itself originally started as a monastic settlement in 670 AD. The buildings are still used as nunneries today.[2] The first abbey in the village was founded by St. Domneva, a widowed noblewoman, whose daughter St. Mildred, is taken as the first abbess. The tradition is that Domneva was granted as much land as a hind could run over in a day, the hind remains the village emblem, see also Thanet. The abbey was extinguished by Viking raiding. The next abbess after St. Mildred was St Edburga daughter of King Centwine of the West Saxons.[4]
The third known abbess was Sigeburh, who was active[5] around 762 AD and is known from the Secgan hagiography and from Royal charters.[6] In 761AD Offa, king of the Mercians, granted Sigeburh a toll-exemption which king Æthelbald had previously granted to Abbess Mildrith. Again in about 763 AD Eadberht II, king of Kent, granted the remission of toll on two ships at Sarre and on a third at Fordwich.[7] It has been stated that in gaining these privileges, she may have been taking advantage of Æthelbald's political weakness.[8]
Vikings attacked the surrounding area in 850 AD.[9]


The parish church of St. Mary-the-Virgin is largely Norman but with significant traces of earlier work, the problems of which are unresolved. The nave is impressive with five bays, and the crossing has an ancient chalk block vaulting. The chancel is Early English with later flying buttresses intended to halt the very obvious spread of the upper walls. There is a fine set of misericords reliably dated around 1400. The tower has a curious turret at its southeast corner that is locally referred to as a Saxon watch tower but is built at least partly from Caen stone; it may be that it dates from the time of the conquest but is built in an antique style sometimes called Saxo-Norman. A doorway in the turret opens out some two metres above the present roof line.

The church was used by both the brethren of the second abbey, a dependency of St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury, and as a parish church. Socket holes in the piers of the crossing suggest that, as well as a rood screen, there was a further screen dividing nave and crossing, such as still exists at Dunster in Somerset. This abbey surrendered during the dissolution in 1534.

Twentieth century

Minster Abbey is a house incorporating remains of the Anglo-Saxon abbey and alleged to be the oldest continuously inhabited house in England. It now houses the village's third religious community, a priory of Roman Catholic Benedictine sisters that is a daughter community of Eichstätt in Bavaria. It was settled in 1937 by refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and continues to flourish as an international community.[10] The Priory has the care of a relic of St. Mildred that had been in the care of a church in Deventer in the Netherlands since the Reformation.[11]


The smithy ca.1903, by Fred C. Palmer

Generally a flat landscape, the area's main features include marshes, farms and rivers. Thanet District Council has, however, assessed Minster Marshes, south of the village, as being unstable,[12] and some areas of Minster, particularly in the south of the village, have suffered from flooding.[13]

Land reclamation has had a strong history in Minster and Monkton, where the original reclamation was done by the monks themselves.[14]


The Primary School is called "Minster Church of England Primary School", which caters for the village's population.[15] As of 2007, there are 410 pupils attending the school.[16]


Minster railway station lies to the south of the village, on the line from Canterbury West to Ramsgate and on the junction to the Kent Coast Line.

Bus services are provided by Stagecoach.


Minster has a war memorial dedicated to those lost in World War I and World War II and this is located in St Mary's church.

In 2013, Minster hosted a memorial for Jean de Selys Longchamps, a Belgian fighter pilot who is buried in Minster cemetery. This event was hosted by Minster & Monkton Royal British Legion in conjunction with Minster Parish Council and was attended by such dignitaries as The Lord Lieutenant of Kent and the Chief of the Belgian Air Defense.

Notable residents


  1. "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  2. 1 2 Minster-In-Thanet; retrieved on 22 May 2008
  3. Jessup, Frank W., Kent History Illustrated (Kent County Council, 1966) ISBN 9780900947063
  4. "Medieval Sourcebook: The Correspondence of St. Boniface". Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  5. William George Searle, onomasticon (Cambridge University Press Archive, 1879) page 418.
  6. David Rollason, ‘Mildrith (fl. 716–c. 733)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press,2004).
  7. Charters of the St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury, and Minster-in-Thanet, ed. S. E. Kelly, Anglo-Saxon Charters 4 (Oxford: Published for The British Academy by Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 179.
  8. Johannes Hoops, Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, Vol. 24 (Walter de Gruyter, 1968) page 298.
  9. A. Forte, R. Oram, and F. Pederson. Viking Empires. 1st. ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), page 67.
  10. "Minster Abbey". Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  11. "Monasticon: Community: Minster in Thanet". Monastic Matrix. University of Southern California. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  12. "Thanet Plan 13". Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  13. "Thanet Local Plan 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  14. Curators Introduction; retrieved on 22 May 2008
  15. "Minster CE Primary School". Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  16. "Minster Church of England Primary School". Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  17. "Blue Dick Culmer". Retrieved 13 September 2008.
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