St. Laurence's Church Hougham
St Laurence Hougham, Kent
A signpost near the Plough Restaurant at Hougham on the B2011 points to Church Hougham. A ten minute walk up the hill, a right turn into the lane at the top, then a left turn just after the red telephone box, brings you to St Laurence Church, Hougham. The parish it serves dates back to the time of St Augustine, and today stretches along the Channel coast from Samphire Hoe westwards towards Capel le Ferne. It once extended eastwards into Dover, but its eastern border is now near Farthingloe. The present parish comprises Church Hougham and West Hougham. The remains of St Radigund’s Abbey, once the home of the monks who served the churches at Alkham and Capel le Ferne, are just inside the northern boundary of the parish in the grounds of St Radigund’s Abbey Farm.
The present beautiful old church is Grade 1 listed, and stands on a site possibly occupied since Roman times. It dates from the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th Century. The architecture is mainly Norman and Early English, restored at various times by among others Robert de Hougham, a local gentleman who fought in the Crusades. It was restored extensively again in Victorian times. Inside, there are two magnificent memorials – one, a marble bust to Peter Nepueu, a Huguenot merchant who settled here from France. The other features the kneeling figures of William Hannington, his wife and their ten children.
Today St Laurence is supported by a small but faithful congregation who will be very happy to welcome you should you wish to visit. There is usually a Family Service on the 1st Sunday of each month at 11.00, and a Eucharist on the 3rd Sunday at 9.30.
Consideration is being given to setting up a Friends’ Group for St Laurence, which we hope will help to secure its future as a living parish church.