Free

An Evening of Dode History

Actions and Detail Panel

Free

Event Information

Share this event

Date and time

Location

Location

The Lost Village of Dode

Wrangling Lane

Great Buckland

DA13 0XF

United Kingdom

View Map

Event description
Always been interested in finding out more about the great history that fills Dodes walls....this is your chance.

About this event

Always been interested in finding out more about the great history that fills Dodes walls....this is your chance.

Many people believe that Dode was built in 1100 by Gundulf, a Norman Bishop and contemporary & confidant of both William the Conqueror and his son William Rufus. There is good historical evidence to suggest this. Bishop Gundulf is best known for building the Tower of London (White Tower) and Colchester Castle.

The author of Lord of the Rings, J.R.R Tolkien, was well acquainted with the life and times of Gundulf as he was a professor of Anglo-Saxon history at Oxford.

So, this begs the question; was Gandalf's name (arguably the most famous wizard in literature) based on the builder of Dode? The similarity to the name together with the reference to the Two Towers certainly may be more than just a coincidence!

If you would like to learn more of both the history of Dode and some of its magical, mystical stories - including the appearance of ‘the Dode Child’ - Doug will be giving a talk in the Church at 7.00pm on Sunday 27th June 2021.

To attend please confirm your interest via the booking link. In line with current social distancing rules, tickets will be strictly limited.

There is no charge but a donation to charity would be appropriate.

Share with friends

Date and time

Location

The Lost Village of Dode

Wrangling Lane

Great Buckland

DA13 0XF

United Kingdom

View Map

{ _('Organizer Image')}

Organiser The Lost Village of Dode

Organiser of An Evening of Dode History

If you would learn of history – of a fragment of rural history in these hidden vales of Kent – come with me to this Ghost Village of Dode – So wrote Donald Maxwell – 1926.

This Little Norman Building is a rare and magical place indeed, looking almost exactly as it did over 900 years ago when it was first built in the reign of William Rufus, the son of the Conqueror.

As you stand beneath the massive stone arch, you stand where, over 800 years ago, a Priest told of the death of Thomas Becket. As you sit beneath the sturdy Oak roof, you sit where almost exactly 650 years ago the Villagers prayed for their loved ones as the Black Death swept England. You are in their space within the four walls which they knew.

Dode is more than an ancient building, for it is a far older place than perhaps we can imagine, it’s beginnings go back into the mist of time. If you walk into the meadow surrounding the building you will see that it is build on a substantial mound which is man-made. The hill which totally surrounds and shelters the building has been known from time immemorial as Holly Hill and it is approached by a narrow roadway which goes nowhere, its ancient name is Wrangling Lane. Here then are the clues to a site of deep antiquity, for Holly Hill is a corruption of Holy Hill and the name Wrangling Lane indicates that here on this mound may well be the site of a Moot or Meeting Place perhaps going back thousands of years.

Archaeological evidence confirms occupation of the site during the Roman period and on a still night when the moon is full it is not difficult to imagine pre-Christian rites in this secluded Valley where real harmony with nature still exists, Dode is indeed a place of myth and legend.

The mound stands at the end of a ley-line which stretches to the east for some 10 miles, exactly upon this line stands three Pre-Reformation Churches, two Roman sites, a Bronze Age Burial Ground and two of the Medway Megaliths, the Coffin Stone and enigmatic Little Kits Coty.

Ancient stones are also to be found on the ley-line including a substantial Sarsen now buried within the fabric of the building itself. This truly is an ancient place, steeped in history which is needed as much today as it was in the distant past, and perhaps more.

The Village of Dode was destroyed in 1349 as a result of the Black Death and shortly afterwards the building was abandoned, it was not to be used for regular worship again. If you have read the last few lines quickly, please re-read them, and think exactly what they mean. To help, visualize that the last Masses were said and that the Building had been silent and sleeping for almost 150 years before Columbus discovered America. Indeed it was to remain asleep until 1901 when it was purchased by a local antiquary who restored it at his own expense, thereafter it gradually began to wake up and for over a hundred years occasional use was made of the building although it is still very much a silent place.

Today Dode is in private ownership and after an almost unimaginable time span, regular use is again made of the building. To celebrate the millennium a beautiful retreat building was constructed in English Oak – a place of solitude and peace for those wishing to escape the world for a few days or indeed celebrate their wedding.

Responding to requests from many couples to be married at Dode, some 18 years ago it was licensed as a Civil Wedding Venue, a use which continues. Baby naming’s, Renewals of Vows and Memorial Services are also a feature of this sacred place. The basic simplicity of the building, which has always been Dode’s abiding strength, will however remain unaltered. Light will only be provided by candles and braziers, and straw and autumn leaves scented with herbs will always cover the floor.

The 12th Century seating – still in place – around the walls will continue to be used and to provide a reminder of the circle of our forefathers who once gathered here to celebrate important times in their lives, long before any building occupied this special place.

Dode has been loved and cared for the last 28 years by Douglas & Mary Chapman

Save This Event

Event Saved