Church of St Peter and St Paul - Worth
Worth Village Pond
The Village of Worth
Worth owes its existence to the fertility of the soil. The land was originally cultivated by the Lords of the Manor living at Eastry. Later, in Norman times, the land was divided and let to tenants who lived on their holdings. From these beginnings the village of Worth developed.
In the sixteenth century, when the castles of Sandown, Deal and Walmer were built, the Downs became an anchorage comparatively safe from marauders, and a more settled condition came to this part of the coast-line. Trade naturally followed. This period saw the beginning of the red brick style of building of which there are still a few pleasing examples in the village today. The Church, however, shows traces of Norman (twelfth century) work.
In Roman times, a temple (possibly to Minerva) existed in Castle Field, just south of Upton House, being the highest point in the parish. Before this, it seems likely that the early Britons had a temple on this site, dedicated to the Celtic war god Tuteles, who was later identified with Mars.
Some say that Archbishop Becket, when he fled from the consequences of his dispute with Henry II, left England from Worth Creek rather than attempt to take ship from Sandwich, which would have been teeming with loyal subjects of the king.
Local legend also claims the Henry V, returning from his St Crispin's Day (25th October) victory at Agincourt, disembarked at Worth and there met and fell in love with a village ale-wife. The story goes that the two lived together for a time at the local inn which has ever since been known as the St Crispin. Another more believable version of the same story names one of Henry's courtiers, rather than Henry himself, as the ale-wife's beau.
Edward Hasted, the 18th century Kentish topographer, said the parish of Worth had three boroughs, one of which was Worth Street, the present village. Early in its history, Worth was a creekside community and Roman finds have encouraged speculation the some of Caesar's legions may have anchored their ships in the creek. It was certainly a Bronze Age settlement and much later one of the local streams was used to drown Sandwich criminals whose bodies were then borne out to sea by the tide. Now, much of the land on the seaward side is part of the famous Prince's and Royal St George's golf courses.