Father Costigan of Margate and Walmer Castle


Father Thomas Costigan was posted to the Margate Mission in 1829 and died with his boots on in 1860. His grave is at the cemetery of the shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate. He never quite settled to the establishment of a hierarchy and episcopal control.

He used to walk to sick calls and hail down a passing coach driver if he was fortunate. On one occasion, the driver stopped, but the passengers were not keen on accepting such a fellow. Fr Costigan explained that he it was the Catholic missioner and the passenger, the Anglican Bishop of Exeter accepted him, stopping on the way at Walmer Castle. After the sick call, Fr Costigan was received as a guest by the Duke of Wellington, then Warden of the Cinq Ports, staying the night and returning to Margate the following day.

Hence it has been on my list for some time to pay a visit to Walmer Castle to see both the stopping place of my predecessor, and the home for some time of the great Duke. I was pleased to see the eponymous boots and the Duke's campaign bed as well as the redoubt protecting the coast from French invasion.

I sometimes wonder whether it would be over the top to claim the title of "Rector of Margate."

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