Copyright Kent Past 2010

Kent Past

The History of Kent

Home Towns & Villages Time-Line Articles Kent Past Times Contact

Leave your email address to receive Kent Past Times free every month

History of Dungeness

Dungeness comes from the Old English ‘næss’ meaning ‘headland’ with ‘mersc’ as ‘marsh’ and ‘denu’ for ‘valley’; therefore, ‘headland near the marsh of the valley district’.

Shingle formed a barrier across the bay between Hythe and Fairlight - in Sussex. Silt built up in the bay, brought in by the river Rother. Trees began to grow, and about 1000BC, the sea flooded turning the area into a bog. The shingle continued to spread separating Romney Marsh from the sea, and creating Dungeness.

In 1883, the South Eastern Railway built a line from Appledore to Dungeness, with the prospect of the development of a cross channel port. The port never materialised, however, a number of the workers who built the railway, purchased disused railway carriages, and moved them from the tracks, for holiday homes.  

There have been six lighthouses or warning beacons at Dungeness. The first, being just a beacon, as a warning to sailors. Then the first lighthouse came into use in 1615, although, replaced 20 years later by a lighthouse nearer the sea. The erection of a newer lighthouse became necessary in 1792 as the headland extended further, and yet another in 1901, finally the latest in 1961.

There are two nuclear power stations at Dungeness, the first built in 1965, and the second in 1983. 

Dungeness railway station opened on 1st April 1883 and closed 70 years later. The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, a 1 ft. 3 in (381 mm) gauge light railway, opened to New Romney in 1927 and extended to Dungeness a year later.

View Larger Map