FAIRFIELD. St Thomas of Canterbury.
By itself on the Marsh, and mellowed with yellow lichen.
The illustration in Oyler's Churches of the Diocese of Canterbury
(1912) shows a tottering ruin by the dyke, mostly of timber.
W.D.Caröe rebuilt it from the ground in 1913,
with great care and sensibility.
Some of the old materials were re-used.
The box pews, pulpit and reading desk are painted white
picked out in black.
The oval text boards add character.
So wrote John Piper when he was sent by King Penguin books
to stay for a time in Romney Marsh, Kent.
Long before I knew of the BBC 's intention to film
Great Expectations, I had formulated a plan
to visit the churches of the Marsh
which he painted.
All we had to do was collect the key
hanging by the back door of a nearby farm,
and let ourselves in.
It was great.