A fascinating and dramatic place, St Augustine’s was the personal project of the renowned 19th century Gothic Revival architect Augustus Pugin, most famous for designing “Big Ben,” and the interiors of the Westminster Houses of Parliament. He designed the building to be the perfect model of his ‘true principles’ of architecture and called it “my own child.” A leader of the Gothic Revival movement, Pugin built St Augustine's with his own money, and so was unencumbered by the demands of patrons. Pugin died in 1852, in his house next door (The Grange), and was buried in the Church, beneath an effigy designed by his eldest son, Edward.
A Heritage Lottery-funded Visitor Centre was completed in 2017. The Centre tells the many fascinating tales associated with this site, with interactive displays, exhibits, and the opportunity to study in the Research Centre. Works were also undertaken to restore the Church to Pugin’s original designs.
The Church is also the shrine of St Augustine of England. Arriving on the shores of Thanet in AD 597, very close to Ramsgate, St Augustine had the mission to bring Christianity to the English for the first time, and to convert them from their Anglo-Saxon pagan ways. He was successful and his legacy is still with us today throughout art, culture, legal systems, music, and more. The shrine houses a relic of one of St Augustine’s bones. This is a working Catholic church with services every day, to which all are welcome.
Open for visits daily 1pm – 3.30pm except Sundays and Tuesdays.