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    East Guldeford
(Barn-like Church)

Name Derivation

General Details

St Mary church (East Guldeford East Sussex)
East Guldeford is located on the A259 about 2 miles from the small town of Rye .

Extract of 14th century map of the Marshes Before the 15th century, the area was mostly salt marshes , and had a thriving salt manufacturing industry, by drying shallow sea water pools.

The village consists of the church and a few house, and was built on land reclaimed from the sea by Sir Richard Guldeford, who built a sea wall, and drained the salt water to provide rich farmland during the late 1400's.

In 1512 the harbour at Rye was looked on as important by Sir Richard who built the small defensive fort of Camber Castle. This was expanded by Henry VIII to provide cover to the harbour in the Camber(Chambre) between present Camber , East Guldeford , Rye and Winchelsea. The fort became obsolete by 1637 as the Camber had silted so badly.

At first glance the church, situated on a bleak out-post on Guldeford (pronounced Gilford) Levels, resembles a barn more than a church! It is situated in a field, and is brick built. It was built under the auspices of Sir Richard Guldeford in 1505.

The church has a very unusual twin roof design with the bell cote balanced between the two roofs.

The inside is a simple hall with a plastered ceiling. Much restoration was carried out in Victorian times. There is an unusual freize of seraphim and musical instruments. The bowl of the font has rosettes on, and dates from the 12th century, implying a relocation from another church, possibly from France.

St Mary at East Guldeford is one of those churches supported by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust .


Old farm buildings
East Guldeford has no shops or services, the main shopping town is Rye about 2 miles to the West.

The nearest train service runs across the Romney Marsh , stopping at nearby Rye station about 2 miles from the village.


The main road
East Guldeford is another of the isolated communities on the Marshes, but has magnificent views across the flat marshland all round.

In the morning look to the west and see the town of Rye on its 'island'.

In the evening again look to the west to see the sun setting behind Rye and the Firehills.

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