DOVER

Situated high on the Western heights above Dover, hidden by trees from the thousands of drivers that pass every day on their way to catch ferrys to Calais, lie the exposed footings of the round Templar church. It is not easy to find. As you head toward Dover on the A20 you reach a roundabout. The first exit off this roundabout is signed Western Heights on a small local info sign. Take this turn off the roundabout and then head up the steep hill by making a right turn up a road called Artillery road, or something similar. Continue up the hill, past a carpark on the right and take the left hand turn identified as a private road, something or other Young Offenders Institute. On your right you will see a sign, like a road name sign, that says The Knights Templar. The church footings are opposite this sign on your left behind a wooden stake fence. Unfortunately the site is actually closed off so you can't jump around on the footings exposed by the excavation which took place sometime prior to 1911, but it is possible to see everything as the grass is very neatly trimmed and cared for.

This small round church has not been clearly dated. It is thought to be younger than nearby Temple Ewell, though why they should have built such a small church at a time when they were becoming very prosporous is one of those intriguing mysteries. Some commentators believe that its position on the top of the hill made it very useful as a sighting point for ships as they approached the harbour below. Whether or not that was the case is impossible to tell now.

When I asked a very nice old lady for directions to the church, she said "Oh you mean the church where the Knights went to pray before boarding the ships for the Holy Land". Maybe the church served as a sighting point, but it was most likely the last place to call on English soil to ask for a blessing, and the first place on their return to give thanks.

The external measurements of the footings are approximately: 32 feet diameter of the round; length of the rectangular chancel 26 feet; and width of the rectangular chancel 20 feet.

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