the romney marsh

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Another amazing piece of art by @badlemonade!! As many Scarecrow fans may remember, Tim Sale’s version of The Scarecrow is based on Disney’s The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. I had the idea to commission this cover of one of the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh novel covers(featuring a “daring” redhead), but this time featuring DC’s The Scarecrow and his own “daring” redhead, Becky Albright! 

For something this detailed and unusual, I commissioned the incredibly talented @badlemonade, who has done 2 other amazing pieces for me before!

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28 August 2015.  Morning Light, St Mary’s Bay.   I was up with the lark this morning to do a sunrise over the sea - all so exciting, because for most of the summer, the sun rises over the land.    Anyway, the sunrise painting didn’t turn out to be that marvellous, but when I turned round I saw this!!  I hadn’t intended doing a second painting, but it was still early and I couldn’t resist these clouds.  By the time I stopped, it still wasn’t eight o’clock.  It’s amazing how much you can do when you get up early.

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18 January 2016.  St Thomas a Beckett Church, Fairfield, Romney Marsh, Kent.  This 13th Century church stands alone in a field, with the village it once served long since disappeared.   Lucky enough to spend the day here, with no one else around.  It’s such an iconic place and so beautiful.   

19 August 2014:  St Mary’s Bay.   After painting landscapes in the depth of the country, I felt as if I needed a taste of the sea.   St Mary’s Bay is so attractive looking towards Hythe and Folkestone and for some reason the clouds often come up trumps there.   Although it was sunny, it was quite windy and cold for August, so I had to wear a coat.  I loved the excitement of the sea and the movement in the sky - it all felt so fresh and airy.  I painted the sky very freely and the whole picture seemed to come right quickly.  Haven’t touched it since and I think I’m pleased with it.  

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St Thomas à Becket Church at Fairfield, Romney Marsh.


Where we live on the beach we have the English Channel in front of us and behind Romney Marsh - flat and desolate.

The marsh has many medieval churches - some still in use, others abandoned. Fairfield lies between Brookland and Brenzett on a minor road in a deserted part of the Walland Marsh. The area was won from the sea (inned) sometime between 1200 and 1270. The monks from Canterbury built dykes to the western edge of the Rhee Wall (the sea defenses built by the Romans) and enclosed the land so reclaiming the rich and fertile soil from the sea.

1287 saw the great storm in which Broomhill was swept away and New Romney barely survived. The River Rother changed its course to the sea, and exited the marshes at Rye, whereas before the storm the river found its way to the sea near to modern day Greatstone and Littlestone.

Fayrefelde (old English spelling) existed before 1595 as a map of the time shows the village approximately where the church now sits. It is likely that as the land became more reclaimed so the village sprung up.

The church was built as a temporary structure of timber lath and plaster in the 1200’s to support the local farming community. The exterior has been strengthened with brick, and in 1913 the whole building was reconstructed and encased to preserve it.

The church now stands alone as the village of Fairfield no longer exists. Uniquely, the churchyard has no boundary, no tombstones, no trees and no memorials.

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29 November 2014:  Near Botolph’s Bridge, Romney Marsh.    It was a beautiful sunny day, perhaps the last of Autumn, with only the odd leaf remaining.  These willow trees are at the foot of Portus Lemanus, a Roman Fort built in the third century.  The hills in the background formed the old Saxon shore.

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4 November 2014.  Autumn, Romney Marsh.   I’ve been meaning to paint this old tree for ages.  It’s literally falling to bits, but still manages to look beautiful.   It was late afternoon and there wasn’t a breath of wind - all so tranquil.    Romney Marsh is one of my favourite places - it’s not overtly beautiful, but it’s an acquired taste that grows on you.  Sometimes it can be quite haunting, especially when there’s no one else around. 

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Long Walk, Windsor Castle.  28 January 2016.  After the previous painting in Romney Marsh, this was so different.  Instead of being in the middle of nowhere, with no one around, I was now in the most central place, looking at Windsor Castle, where the Queen spends much of her time.  I had a commission to paint the castle, which was definitely a labour of love.  Fortunately I chose a sunny day and I was gifted a lovely puddle of water reflecting the Chapel of St George, where Henry the 8th is buried.