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This article is about the village in England. For the surname, see Upchurch (surname). For the community in the United States, see Upchurch, North Carolina.

Coordinates: 51°22′37″N 0°39′01″E / 51.3770°N 0.6503°E / 51.3770; 0.6503

Upchurch 9135.JPG
The church with unusual steeple
Upchurch is located in Kent
 Upchurch shown within Kent
OS grid reference TQ843675
District Swale
Shire county Kent
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Sittingbourne
Postcode district ME9
Dialling code 01634
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Sittingbourne and Sheppey
List of places

Upchurch village is situated at the junction of numerous minor roads in the Swale district of Kent, England. It is a civil parish within Swale Borough Council, and the village centre is about 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the boundary with the unitary authority of Medway.


The Upchurch Hoard in the British Museum.

Upchurch lay on a pre-Roman trackway; the many linking roads are the result of Roman occupation, which had built a community of ex-soldiers who wanted to settle in England. A Roman cemetery has been discovered here. There were also several Roman pottery works sited here. It is probable that, although today the land is low-lying and marshy, it was once higher than it is today.

The Upchurch Hoard is a hoard of well worn coins which date from the first and second century A.D. which were found close to Upchurch.[1] A more recent pottery was established here in 1909 called the Upchurch Pottery. Although it is now closed it became well known and could be found retailing through such outlets as Liberty & Co..

The village has a connection with Sir Francis Drake whose father became its vicar in 1560 after having been prayer-reader to the Medway fleet.[2]

Under the grade I listed[3] 14th century church is a small crypt (a charnel house) where bones were kept when the churchyard was full. It was discovered in 1877 and the bones re-interred. The church is also notable for its very unusual 'candle-snuffer' steeple where an octagonal pyramid appears to have been stacked on top of a square one resembling a couple of inverted ice-cream cones. It is believed that the distinctive shape was chosen to serve as a navigational aid for shipping on The River Thames.

In 2008 residents with the aid of a National Lottery grant collected and published a book Upchurch in old picture postcards. The project was to collect and maintain photographs that reflected changing village life. The project published most of the collected images at http://www.upchurch-village.co.uk The book published by Meresborough Books ISBN 094819393X was produced by resident Mike Gunnill

The settlement of Otterham Quay lies a mile west of the village at the head of Otterham Creek.


  1. ^ Upchurch Hoard, Andrew McCabe, ancients.info, accessed June 2010
  2. ^ Notes on Upchurch
  3. ^ British listed buildings retrieved 20 July 2013