Reculver columns (via memorial stones index)

On the south wall of the eastern crypt are two stone columns known as the Reculver Columns. When the church of St Mary’s, Reculver became threatened by coastal erosion the decision was made to dismantle much of the building fabric and erect a new church further inland. The two columns once supported the large central arch in the triple arcade between nave and chancel. The church was dismantled in 1809 and the whereabouts of the stone columns went unrecorded. It was not until 1852 that a number of the columns’ drums were recognised in an orchard near Canterbury, the remainder of the stones were later located in a farmyard in Reculver. All stones were purchased, transported to the cathedral precincts and erected in the Water Tower Garden in 1859. By 1932 there were concerns that the columns were unnecessarily weathering in the open air and should be housed indoors. With funding from the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral they were relocated to the crypt.

The two columns are composed of cylindrical stone drums of Marquise Stone. They are 4.5 metres high and over half a metre in width tapering slightly towards the top. The columns once formed part of the original Anglo-Saxon church of St Mary’s, Reculver dating back to c. 670AD. As the church was built within the walls of a Roman fort, and the Romans are known to have quarried the stone, it is possible that the stone was robbed from an earlier Roman structure to build the church.

Reculver columns – now standing in cathedral crypt