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Project Gets Digging to Uncover History of Kearsney Abbey


With construction work set to get underway on a new £1m café extension at Kearsney Abbey, the Kearsney Parks project team are taking the opportunity to uncover the history of the grand mansion that once graced the grounds of Kearsney Abbey, and the public are being invited to help with an archaeological dig!   

Canterbury Archaeological Trust will be excavating the car park next to the old billiard room which is the only part of the former mansion still standing. The car park covers part of the site of the old mansion house that was built in the 1820s. 

The Heritage Lottery funded Kearsney Parks project team wants to find out as much as they can about the layout of the old mansion house and are looking for volunteers to help.  The dig is open to people aged 16 and over, with beginners particularly welcome. 

The dig will run from Monday, 15 October until Friday, 19 October, and again from Monday, 22 October until Friday 26 October.  There are a limited number of spaces available each day. If you'd like to come along, please email kearsney.parks@dover.gov.uk stating which days you would like to take part. 

Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Cabinet Member for Corporate Property, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for local people to get involved in uncovering the history of one of the district’s former grand country estates.” 

Keith Parfitt of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said: “We are greatly looking forward to seeing more of the lost nineteenth century mansion and perhaps even finding evidence for earlier activity on the site.”

Note to editors:

Kearsney Abbey is a fine example of a former country house and estate. The history of the site can be traced back to the Norman Conquest when it was known as Castney Court and part of the Barony of Saye, whose men maintained and garrisoned the Saye Tower at Dover Castle.

Although never a monastic estate, it takes its name from the impressive Gothic revival manor house built between 1820-1822 by local merchant and banker, John Minet Fector (1754-1821).  Unfortunately he died in 1821 before Kearsney Abbey had been completed, but it remained a family residence until 1844.

. Keep-me-posted.