The Minster Gatehouse Museum is housed in the 12th century gatehouse building, which was originally gatehouse to the Minster Abbey of SS Mary and Sexburga.
The Gatehouse is a Grade 1 listed building and has been a museum since it was first leased to the Sheppey Local History Society by the council in the late 1970’s.
It was first suggested that the building might possibly be a local history museum when the building was handed back to the church by Mr George Ramuz, a local estate agent in 1928.
The Gatehouse was offered to the council by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1967 and the Archbishop of the time said, “the preservation of the Abbey Gatehouse is a matter of public importance, not in Minster only, but in Kent and far beyond.”
The Gatehouse was leased to the Sheppey Local History Society in the late 1970’s and the hard work began to convert the old building into a local history museum.
The Minster Gatehouse Museum opened its doors to the public in 1982
The present band of volunteers who help to run the Museum, spend their time and money, with the help of various local organisations; i.e. Minster Rotary Club, Queenborough Fisheries, Co-operative Society, Tesco, etc., keeping the building interesting and clean, and tidy. This is done of course, to welcome visitors to the Gatehouse Museum who come to see the extensive history that the Isle of Sheppey has to offer.
The entrance fee to the Museum is kept at a minimum to encourage visitors and allow us to share and promote the amazing history of Sheppey with as many people as possible.
We do use the internet, Facebook facility in the form of the “Sheppey History Page” and “Minster Gatehouse Museum” to promote the SLHS talks that are held once a month with guest speakers who donate their time for free. The use of Facebook does mean that we reach people all over the world who have lived on Sheppey in the past and wish to keep a connection with the Island. This has resulted in items of a historical significance being donated at times to the Gatehouse from as far away as Canada and even Australia.
Enquiries of a historical nature are welcomed by the volunteers, and if they can’t be answered, we could perhaps explore the answers together.
Donations of artefacts that are relevant to the history of the Isle of Sheppey including historical documents are always welcome and would be treated with the utmost care and respect
Credit: Roger Betts