Historical information and pictures about Greatstone, the village of Romney Marsh on the coast in south east Kent.
Greatstone is a recent name taken from a shoreline feature, since eroded by coastal changes, known as the Great Stone. Less than 200 years ago the village of Greatstone did not exist. As recent as c1800 the land on which the present village now stands was no more than just part of the seabed in Romney Bay, washed over by the tides of the English Channel.
Great Stone, as it was known in c1800, was just a shingle headland, being the land point that marked the southern entrance to the bay that extended almost as far west as New Romney. The sea had been retreating from New Romney, once a harbour and port, ever since the 13th century.
The same shingle headland existed in 1617. It was the northern extremity of the Dungeness shingle and was known as Stone Point/End. In about pre 1800 shingle moved south from Dymchurch (to the north of Greatstone, south of Hythe) and started to form a barrier to the sea. This was know as Little Stone.
Silt started to build up behind this barrier and in 1839 a wall was built to exclude the sea just to the north of the present Littlestone, which accelerated this silting process. Around 1900 a further sea all was built that resulted in the gap between Greatstone and Littlestone being closed.
Prior to the 1920s there was hardly anything to Greatstone at all. In the 1920s the area was predominantly covered by sand dunes and was known as the Greatstone Dunes Estate. It consisted of just a few properties mainly used as holiday homes.