Rhee Wall

What is the Rhee Wall?

The so-called Rhee Wall crosses the whole width of the Marsh, running 7.5 miles from Appledore to New Romney . It consists of two parallel earth banks some 50 metres apart east of Snargate, widening to about 100 metres apart west of that. The ground between these banks is raised well above the marsh on either side.

The name Rhee meant ‘watercourse’ in Old English and, although it has not contained water since about A.D.1400, it was indeed constructed as a channe1 to convey water from Appledore to wash away the silt being deposited by the sea in the harbour at Romney.

In 1258 an already ‘ancient’ watercourse (perhaps no more than 50 years old) existed as far as Old Romney, and the King gave instructions to extend it to New Romney. One sluice was made to take in water at Appledore and two others were built to control the flow at Snargate and New Romney.

For over 100 years the flow was maintained, but the sea brought in its load of silt, which blocked and raised the channe1. As the silt grew higher, the walls had to be built even higher to prevent the water overflowing on to the marsh. By about 1400 the channel had dried out, and the Rhee ‘wall’ was left as a tract, usefully raised above the marsh and possible floods. It is now followed by the Appledore to Romney road.

NOTE: There is NO evidence to support an old suggestion that the Rhee was a Roman sea wall!

First posted in Romney Marsh on 6th October 2009
Last updated: 27th November 2012