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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. For the country rap artist, see Upchurch (musician).
Upchurch 9135.JPG
The church of St Mary the Virgin, with unusual steeple
Upchurch is located in Kent
 Upchurch shown within Kent
Population 2,484 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid reference TQ843675
District 12
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

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

Upchurch is a village and civil parish in the Sittingbourne district of Kent, England. It is situated just off the A2 road, between Rainham and Sittingbourne.


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 in 1950.[2] 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 Anglican parish church of St Mary's originally was linked to the Abbey of Lisle Dieu, in Normandy and was founded by Reginald de Paveley in 1187.[3] It is a Grade I listed building[4] Under the 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. The wall surrounding the church also falls within the Grade I status listing. 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.[5]

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.[6] The book, published by Meresborough Books/ was produced by resident Mike Gunnill. The project to retain old photographs of the area continues under the heading, the Upchurch Collection.

The settlement of Otterham Quay lies a mile west of the village at the head of Otterham Creek. This small port gave young Francis Drake his first experience of the sea.[7] When the very last brick field was given planning permission for development, a publication Otterham, Kent: Your Heritage was produced. The book wanted to record and save the heritage of the area ahead of new housing.


Upchurch is twinned with the Commune of Ferques, Pas de Calais, France.[8]


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Upchurch Hoard, Andrew McCabe, ancients.info, accessed June 2010
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Notes on Upchurch
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ Kent, Vol.1 County History by Bushell, 1976
  8. ^ "Upchurch Twinning Group". Upchurch Matters. Retrieved 6 August 2015. Upchurch is twinned with the Commune of Ferques, Pas de Calais, France 

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