THE TOWN AND PORT OF DOVER.
DOVER lies at the eastern extremity of Kent, adjoining to the sea, the great high London road towards
France ending at it. It lies adjoining to the parish of
Charlton last-described, eastward, in the lath of St.
Augustine and eastern division of the county. It is
within the liberty of the cinque ports, and the juristion of the corporation of the town and port of Dover.
DOVER, written in the Latin Itinerary of Antonine,
Dubris. By the Saxons, Dorsa, and Dofris. By later
historians, Doveria; and in the book of Domesday,
Dovere; took its name most probably from the British
words, Dufir, signifying water, or Dusirrha, high and
steep, alluding to the cliffs adjoining to it. (fn. 1)
It is situated at the extremity of a wide and spacious
valley, inclosed on each side by high and steep hills or
cliffs, and making allowance for the sea's withdrawing
itself from between them, answers well to the description given of it by Julius Cæfar in his Commentaries.
In the middle space, between this chain of high
cliffs, in a break or opening, lies the town of Dover and
its harbour, which latter, before the sea was shut out,
so late as the Norman conquest, was situated much
more within the land than it is at present, as will be
further noticed hereafter.
ON THE SUMMIT of one of these cliffs, of sudden
and stupendous height, close on the north side of the
town and harbour, stands DOVER CASTLE, so famous
and renowned in all the histories of former times. It
is situated so exceeding high, that it is at most times
plainly to be seen from the lowest lands on the coast of
France, and as far beyond as the eye can discern. Its
size, for it contains within it thirty five acres of ground,
six of which are taken up by the antient buildings,
gives it the appearance of a small city, having its citadel conspicuous in the midst of it, with extensive
fortifications, around its walls. The hill, or rather
rock, on which it stands, is ragged and steep towards
the town and harbour; but towards the sea, it is a
perpendicular precipice of a wonderful height, being
more than three hundred and twenty feet high, from its
basis on the shore.
Common tradition supposes, that Julius Cæfar was
the builder of this castle, as well as others in this part
of Britain, but surely without a probability of truth;
for our brave countrymen found Cæfar sufficient employment of a far different sort, during his short stay in
Britain, to give him any opportunity of erecting even
this one fortress. Kilburne says, there was a tower
here, called Cæsar's tower, afterwards the king's lodgings; but these, now called the king's keep, were built
by king Henry II. as will be further mentioned hereafter; and he further says, there were to be seen here
great pipes and casks bound with iron hoops, in which
was liquor supposed to be wine, which by long lying
had become as thick as treacle, and would cleave like
birdlime; salt congealed together as hard as stone;
cross and long bows and arrows, to which brass was
fastened instead of feathers, and they were of such size,
as not to be fit for the use of men of that or any late
ages. These, Lambarde says, the inhabitants shewed
as having belonged to Cæfar, and the wine and salt as
part of the provision he had brought with him hither;
and Camden relates, that he was shewn these arrows,
which he thinks were such as the Romans used to shoot
out of their engines, which were like to large crossbows. These last might, no doubt, though not Cæsar's,
belong to the Romans of a later time; and the former might, perhaps, be part of the provisions and
stores which king Henry VIII. laid in here, at a time
when he passed from hence over sea to France. But
for many years past it has not been known what is become of any of these things.
Others, averse to Cæsar's having built this castle,
and yet willing to give the building of it to the empire
of the Romans of a later time, suppose, and that perhaps with some probability, it was first erected by Arviragus, (or Arivog, as he is called on his coin) king
of Britain, in the time of Claudius, the Roman emperor. (fn. 2)
That there was one built here, during the continuance of the Roman empire in Britain, must be supposed
from the necessity of it, and the circumstances of those
times; and the existence of one plainly appears, from
the remains of the tower and other parts of the antient
church within it, and the octagon tower at the west
end, in which are quantities of Roman brick and tile.
These towers are evidently the remains of Roman
work, the former of much less antiquity than the latter, which may be well supposed to have been built as
early as the emperor Claudius, whose expedition hither
was about or immediately subsequent to the year of
Christ 44. Of these towers, probably the latter was
built for a speculum, or watch-tower, and was used, not
only to watch the approach of enemies, but with another on the opposite hill, to point out the safe entrance into this port between them, by night as well as
In this fortress, the Romans seem afterwards to have
kept a garrison of veterans, as we learn from Pancirollus, who tells us that a company of soldiers under
their chief, called Præpositus Militum Tungricanorum,
was stationed within this fortess.
Out of the remains of part of the above-mentioned
Roman buildings here, a Christian church was erected,
as most historians write, by Lucius, king of Britain,
about the year 161; but it is much to be doubted whether there ever was such a king in Britain; if there
was, he was only a tributary chief to the Roman emperor, under whose peculiar government Britain was
then accounted. This church was built, no doubt, for
the use of that part of the garrison in particular, who
were at that time believers of the gospel, and afterwards during the different changes of the Christian and
Pagan religions in these parts, was made use of accordingly, till St. Augustine, soon after the year 597, at
the request of king Ethelbert, reconsecrated it, and
dedicated it anew, in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary.
His son and successor Eadbald, king of Kent, founded
a college of secular canons and a provost in this church,
whose habitations, undoubtedly near it, there are not
the least traces of. These continued here till after the
year 691; when Widred, king of Kent, having increated the fortifications, and finding the residence of
the religious within them an incumbrance, removed
them from hence into the town of Dover, to the antient church of St. Martin; in the description of which
hereafter, a further account of them will be given.
On the removal of these canons it seems probable,
that king Widred immediately pulled down their college, but the church remained as such for the use of
the garrison; and in later times, as appears by the
wills in the prerogative-office, in Canterbury, it came
to be esteemed a parochial church, having the district
of the castle as a parish to it, by the name of the parish
of the blessed Virgin Mary, within the castle of Dover.
This church had afterwards three chaplains allotted
for the service in it, who were permitted to wear the
habit of canons, on account of the antient foundation
of such within it; and it continued in that state till the
reformation in king Henry VIII.'s reign, when they
were removed, and one chaplain only was appointed
in their room, who officiated in it till about the end of
king Charles I.'s reign, and then the church seems to
have been disused, (fn. 3) and afterwards fell to ruin; the
tower between the body and chancel, and part of the
walls, are the only remains of it at this time. The
chaplain is still appointed, who enjoys the antient salary; but as he never performs any duty, or even resides here, his appointment is made more to answer political than religious purposes; and the inhabitants of
the castle know little further of him than by name.
There have been several persons of eminence buried in this church, particularly Sir Robert Asheton,
constable and warden of the cinque ports, who died in
1384; but the stone, having his effigies and inscription
in brass, has been long since broken to pieces, and the
brass stolen. Sir Richard Malmains, his lieutenant,
beside him; but his stone is gone. John Copeldike,
lieutenant of this castle in king Henry VIII.'s reign,
having had a monument erected to his memory, now
gone. On the right-hand side of the south chapel, was
buried in a marble coffin, Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, constable and warden, who died in 1614.
A noble monument was erected over him of great cost
and beauty; but by reason of the ruinous condition of
this church, the earl's body, as well as the monument,
was moved by the mercer's company in 1696, to the
chapel of the hospital at Greenwich, founded by him.
A stone remains, with the marks of the effigies of a
religious, mitred; the brass long since torn away.
William Crispe, lieutenant of the castle, who died in
1576; and afterwards Sir James Wake in 1632, were
both buried in this church. Besides which, in the wills
in the prerogative-office, Canterbury, mention is made
of several more persons buried here.
Behind the ruins of this church is a burial-place for
the soldiers, who die in the castle; very few of whose
graves have had any remembrance placed over them.
BUT TO RETURN to the state of the castle itself, after
the departure of the Romans, of which history is silent
till the reign of king Edward the Confessor; though
it is not possible to suppose that the monarchs of the
Saxon heptarchy, and the great and prudent Alfred, or
even his successors, should neglect to strengthen this
important fortress, by continued additions to it; the
former by ditches and intrenchments of earth only, and
the latter with fortifications of stones and mortar, to
secure the sea coast and themselves against the cruelties
of their inverterate enemies, the Danes; who were
kept so much in awe of this castle, that they never
once, in their continued ravages of this kingdom, attempted to land, or come within reach of it.
In the time of king Canute, about the year 1019,
Godwin, earl of Kent, had most probably the government of this castle; at least in 1051, in king Edward
the Consessor's reign, he appears to have been governor, and to have made additions to the fortifications of
it. (fn. 4) So important was the castle of Dover accounted at
this time, that whoever attempted the conquest of this
kingdom, made it the first object of his attention; nor
was any progress throught to be made towards it, till
the possession of this fortress was first gained; thus,
when Harold, second son of earl Godwyn, who had
succeeded his father in the government of this castle,
made his expedition into Normandy to duke William,
to induce him to restore his nephew Hacun, the duke
promised it, if Harold would give him his assistance in
gaining the crown of England after king Edward's
death, and among other conditions, deliver to him the
castle of Dover, with the well of water in it; and
when the duke had gained the signal battle of Hastings,
in which king Harold was slain, he marched directly
to this castle, to which numbers had fled for safety, as
to a place then deemed impregnable; but it was surrendered, after a feeble resistance, by Stephen de Ashburnham, then governor of it. After which, the Conqueror having given orders for repairing and strengthening the weak parts, at his departure left William
Peverel governor of it; at which time, as William
Pictavensis, who was the Conqueror's chaplain, writes
this place, towards the sea at least, was not so much
fortified from art as nature, or a mixture of both; the
rock or cliff, at top, being cut with tools of iron into
such notches and indentures, so as to resemble and
serve instead of walls and battlements, which afterwards decaying, as the cliff, consisting of chalk-stone,
crumbled away, other works of stone and wall were
erected in their room. The well above-mentioned, is
reported to be in the north angle of the keep, or palace, being now arched over, and the same which Harold, before his advancement to the crown, promised
upon oath to deliver up with the castle to William,
duke of Normandy. The present noted well is in another part of the castle, in a tower called from it, the
Well tower. Little, if any thing, is known with certainty concerning the sinking of it; but tradition
ascribes it, as well as other works here, to Julius Cæsar;
within the Roman camp here, and they had not so
large a garrison to require another well out of it, there
is little likelihood that it was done by the Romans.
Besides this, there are three wells within a few rods of
each other, and probably more within the Saxon works,
each of them about 370 feet deep. The present well
is always shewn to strangers as a great curiosity. The
bucket of it holds half a hogshead, which is drawn up
by two men in a crane.
BUT TO RETURN, the Conqueror, soon after his coronation, having intrusted his half-brother Odo, bishop
of Baieux, whom he had made earl of Kent, with the
government of this castle, which from its strength and
importance, was called the lock and key of the kingdom, clavis et repagulum regni, and committed this
whole county to his charge, sent him with a strong
force for its defence, against any attack which might
be made upon it. (fn. 5) But Odo behaved with such tyranny afterwards, that the Kentish men, finding their
complaints treated with insults instead of redress, applied to Eustace, earl of Bologne, for his assistance, to
free themselves and the rest of their countrymen from
the oppression of this proud and avaricious prelate;
accordingly they concerted a plan to surprize and possess themselves of Dover castle; for which purpose,
the earl landed with his men in the night-time, but in
their approach towards the castle they were discovered,
as they were ascending the hill, by the centinels of the
garrison, and whilst they were endeavouring to scale
the walls, the besieged made a sudden and unexpected
sally, and as the assailants were wholly unprepared for
it, the earl lost many of his best men, some of whom
were slain and others driven over the precipice; upon
which he retreated to his ships, with such of them as
had escaped, and left the Kentish men to the mercy of
At length, Odo falling under the king's displeasure,
was sent prisoner by him into Normandy, and all his
possessions were confiscated to the crown; upon which
the king seized this castle into his own hands, and immediately fortified it anew, and for the further security of it, put it underan entire new system of government; for which purpose he committed to his kinsman
John de Fiennes, not only the government and custody
of it, but of the rest of the ports too, by gift of inheritance, naming him constable of Dover castle and warden of the cinque ports, and to enable him to bear the
charge of it, he gave him one hundred and seventy one
knights sees and upwards in lands, in order that he
should distribute part of them among other courageous
and trusty knights, for the defence and preservation of
it. Accordingly he made choice of eight others, to
whom he liberally distributed in portions, the greatest
part of what he had received from the king, these
were, William de Albrincis, Fulbert de Dover, William de Arsic, Galfridus Peverel, William Maminot,
Robert de Port, Hugh Crevequer, and Adam Fitzwilliams; each of whom was bound by the tenure of
the lands, so given, to maintain one hundred and
twelve soldiers. These lands were held in capite by
barony, at first of the constable and of his eight knights
respectively, and afterwards of the king as of his castle
of Dover. Besides these lands, there was a considerable
quantity in this county, as well as others, which was
held by the tenure likewise of ward to this castle, for
the common defence of it, by which means there was
always a garrison of one thousand men in it, for its defence; which service, in like manner as those beforementioned, was afterwards changed into a payment of
money, to be applied to the like purpose. And the
constable so divided these soldiers, by the months of the
year, that one hundred and twenty five were to enter,
to perform watch and ward within the castle, for their
several allotments of time, (exclusive of the ward performed by him) and the rest were to be ready whenever they were commanded on any urgent necessity;
and they each of them had their several charges given
them in particular towers, turrets, and bulwarks of the
castle, which they were enjoined to build, and from
time to time to maintain and repair; in consequence of
which, they afterwards bore the names of their respective
captains. And thus, this castle being well fortified,
and furnished with a numerous garrison, under a governor and officers of approved courage and trust,
gained the reputation of a most important, strong, and
necessary hold, not only among the princes and nobility of this kingdom, but with those foreign ones, who
made war against this realm; insomuch, that whatever
wars or commotions happened afterwards, either foreign or domestic, this castle was always the chief object
to which every one directed his first attention to gain
possession of it; and to secure the possession of it, king
Henry II. in 1153, being the year before he ascended
the throne, arriving here from Normandy, built a new
keep, or palace, in this castle, upon the plan of Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, and inclosed it with a new
wall; and the strength of it was at that time such, that
in king John's reign, when Lewis, dauphin of France,
invaded this kingdom, he immediately marched hither
with the whole of his power, and besieged it vigorously;
but Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, then constable of
it, and warden of the cinque ports, defended it with
such resolution and courage, that the French gave over
all thoughts of possessing it, and raised the siege. (fn. 6) And
as Lambarde observes, the delivery of this land from
foreign servitude at that time, was entirely owing to
the bravery and conduct of this great man, who, finding
much inconvenience in the antient arrangement for
the defence of this castle, afterwards, with Henry III.'s
consent, in the year 1263, changed the system of it,
and instead of the personal attendance of those, who
were bound by their tenure to defend it, he ordained
that they should pay a sum of money, to maintain a regular garrison; the land being charged with ten shillings for every warder, which new rent was called from
thenceforward castle-ward. By adopting this plan, he
secured a number of men, who were regularly. trained
to their duty, and were no longer, as they had been
before, ignorant of the service required of them; after
which he new regulated the guard and watch, and
increased the number of the garrison, and warders;
and he influenced the king, by his free charter, in his
11th year, to abolish the custom of forage, due to the
castle, in and before whose reign the constable used to
make captures upon the Kentish men, of straw, hay,
corn, and other like things, by the name of forage, in
Latin, furragium. (fn. 7)
In king Edward III.'s reign, great improvements
were made in the accommodations for the commanders and officers in the castles in different parts of the
realm; and it cannot but be concluded, that this
castle, the principal one within it, was not neglected,
since several of our kings and great men in their passage to and from the continent, as well as at other
times, frequently lodged in it; and the former often
staid here to transact public business, as may be seen
by the various records, dated and signed at this place.
The several succeeding kings from time to time
continued to improve and make additions to the fortification here, in particular king Edward IV. by the
advice of lord Cobham, expended 10,000l. in repairing and fortifying the several works, and beautifying
the apartments in it. King Henry VIII. and queen
Elizabeth, again repaired this castle, at the expence
of very large sums; (fn. 8) and king Charles I. laid out a
great deal of money on the apartments here, to prepare them for the reception of queen Henrietta Maria,
at her first coming over from France; and here the
king met and entertained her, till he went with her to
Canterbury, where they were married.
The regulation for the government of this castle,
made by Hubert de Burgh, in king Henry III's
reign, continued for the most part in force, till that
of king Henry VIII. in the 14th and 15th years of
which, an act passed, that such manors, as were formerly holden of this castle, should be holden of the
king; and in the 32d year of it, another act passed,
for altering both the place, and the penalties of the
non payment of the castle-guard rents. For being
before payable only at the castle, and being doubled
perpetually for every default, it was now enacted, that
the rents should in future be paid into the king's exchequer at Westminster, on the day of St. Simon and
St. Jude, or within fifteen days after, and the forfeitures, or sursize as it was called, should be the rent
doubled only for once, and further, that one hundred
and sixty pounds should be paid quarterly to the constable of this castle, by the king's receiver-general, for
the stipend of the officers and soldiers in garrison.
This act most probably gave the finishing stroke to
Hubert's former regulations, after the most part of
them had continued in force for near three hundred
years, and from this time may be dated the beginning
of the decay of this once important fortress, which
continued in the same ruinous state till the late repair
and new fortifying of it. At which time there were
in this castle a commissary, who held his court here;
a lieutenant; marshal; a learned steward, and clerk
of the exchequer; (for in this castle there was an ofsice of exchequer;) a gentleman porter; four yeomen
porters; a sergeant at arms; boder; sergeant of the
admiralty, with other sergeants and officers of inferior
degree; two warreners, and a chaplain priest, whose
house was called Cocklicoe; all of whom had their
So late as the civil commotions of king Charles I.'s
reign, this castle attracted the attention of the leaders of both parties, and whilst the one endeavoured
to keep, the other strove as constantly to gain the possession of it; but it was wrested out of the king's
hands, being taken in 1642 by surprize, in the night,
by one Drake, a merchant, and a zealous partizan for
the parliament. Drake, who was a merchant, had
formed a plan to besiege this fortress, and August 1,
1642, was the time fixed for putting his design in
execution. Every thing being prepared for the purpose, he, with ten or twelve men, by the assistance of
ropes and scaling ladders, reached the top of the high
cliff, with their muskets, undiscovered. Drake was
probably well acquainted with this part of the castle,
and knew that it was left unguarded, as it was thought
inaccessible from the side next the sea. Having reached
the summit unmolested, they immediately proceeded
to the post where the centinel was placed, and having
secured him, they threw open the gates, and the garrison being few in number, and in the confusion of the
night, concluding he had a strong party with him, the
officer on command surrendered up the castle to them.
Drake immediately dispatched messengers to Canterbury, with the news of his success, and the earl of
Warwick being there, he sent him a sufficient force to
defend the castle in future.
The king having lost this fortress by an insufferable
neglect, by which the reputation of the loyalists suffered greatly, immediately attempted to recover it
again, and sent a general officer with a force to besiege it; but the parliament sending a superior force,
the siege was raised, and the parliament afterwards
kept possession of it.
Nothing of material consequence, or worthy of notice, took place afterwards in relation to this castle,
which was from time to time repaired by government,
as occasion required, and a bastion of earth was erected
on the height of land, at the north-west extremity of
the castle, to the landward, to command the neighbouring country and the approach from it; and in
1745 barracks were built in it sufficient to contain a
regiment of soldiers, of which, together with the several warders and inferior officers under the constable
and lord warden, the garrison at present consists; and
though it afterwards continued little more than a venerable and majestic heap of old and useless buildings
of little or no consequence, yet it is astonishing, what
exaggerated ideas our opposite neighbours on the continent had in general, that Dover castle remained an
exceeding strong and almost impregnable fortress.
However within these very few years Dover castle has
been in some measure restored to consequence, at the
expence of near 40,000l. so that it is now capable of
holding out a siege of some length of time. The antient towers along the walls have been dismantled, by
which its former face of antiquity has been mostly
done away, to give room for improvements after the
modern system of fortification. A new road, an exceeding fine one, has been made up to it, at a little
further distance, in a direction for the different batteries to play upon it, in lieu of the old one, which was
so hollow as to protect the approach of the enemy. A
shaft, or perpendicular stair-case, with loop-holes towards the sea, for musquetry, has been sunk through
the cliff down to the battery on the shore below it, to
secure a retreat for the garrison in case of necessity;
insomuch, that with the other additions of defence
made to it, few fortifications of the like sort can be in
a more perfect state than this castle is at present.
As to a more particular description of the antient
buildings of this castle, they consist of an amazing
congeries of walls, ditches, mounts, and all the imaginable contrivances of former times, to render it impregnable. After ascending the first hill, which is
natural and immense, you come to the outer gate,
before which is the draw-bridge, over a large ditch.
On the right hand, as you enter, are the constable's
and lieutenant's ledgings, and the armory of small
arms; and on the left the porter's lodge. In the
apartments of this gate are shewn two old keys, an
old sword, said to be Cæsar's, but probaby a sword of
state or office; two horns, one of which is a heavy
brass one, with an inscription. About the gate are
the modern barracks. Hence you ascend another hill
and bridge, over the second foss, leading to the inner
court, in the centre of which is a square tower; the
walls near twenty feet thick, with a small tower at
each corner, first built by king Henry II. and rebuilt
afterwards of hewn stone, being entered up by steps
on the south side, and used as barracks. The stairs
wind round two sides of the tower, under several magnificent arches, and the landings are adorned with
Saxon arches in the wall. (fn. 9) The court is surrounded
by a stone wall and towers, within one of which, called
the well tower, is the noted well, called Cæsar's well,
and a large reservoir. Hence you pass through several
ruined gates and works to the south-east point of the
hill, where, on an eminence, within a circular work,
stand two of the oldest buildings in England, the shell
of the first Christian church, and the Roman pharos;
both built of Roman bricks, intermixed with flints
and rude stones; the arches entirely brick, of which
and the rude stones the corners are formed. The
church is in the form of a cross, with a square thick
tower in the centre; the north porch in the Saxon stile.
The Roman pharos, which is an octagon, joins the
west end of it. The bricks, of which it is built, are
some of a bright red, with the blue flinty grit in the
middle; others are of a cream-colour, or white, all
of the same dimensions, except some of the latter,
near the ground, on the south side, near three feet
long, of the same thickness, marked with stria, or
flutings, strait or chequered, strongly glazed, and having more flint in their composition. The castle had
two sally-ports with barbicans, and thirteen towers.
The keep has been much damaged by the French
prisoners, who, to the number of fifteen hundred,
were in the late wars with France kept here, who
within the space of a twelvemonth carried off most of
the timbers and floors, disabling it even for that use
in future. Much of the south-west wall falling down
in 1771, was repaired at the expence of the round or
mill tower. The cliff, on the south-east side, is three
hundred and twenty feet perpendicular; on the summit of which, lies a beautiful piece of brass ordnance,
called Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol, twenty-four
feet long, cast by James Tolkys, of Utrecht, anno
1544, and adorned with emblematical figures and the
arms of England; it carries a twelve-pound ball, and
was made a present to the queen from the States of
Holland; and Kilburne says, there was in his time
remaining in this castle a curious brass piece of ordnance, near twenty-four feet long, called Basilisco, reported to be given by the emperor Charles V. to king
Henry VIII. (fn. 10)
There is a prison in this castle, under the custody of
an officer, under the warden of the cinque ports, called
the bodar of Dover castle, who is likewise a sergeant
at arms. By virtue of his office, he has power from
the warden to take within his peculiar jurisdiction,
crown and other debtors under an arrest, and to confine them in safe custody in a prison, made in Fulbert
de Dovre's tower. Mr. Lyon, in his account of this
prison, in his History of Dover castle, (a treatise containing much curious and accurate information relating to it) has given a melancholy description of it.
He says, there are but two rooms in this building, for
the consine ment of prisoners of all sorts, in which they
are obliged to eat and sleep, and in which it has so
happened, that different sexes have been locked up in
the same apartment. They have not the least outlet
to perform the common occasions of nature, or to
breathe a little fresh air. To add to the horrors of
this jail, there is no allowance whatever for the unfortunate prisoner to subsist on; so that if he has not a
trade to work at, or a supply from the benevolence of
of others, he may be left to starve in misery and
The north turret of the keep of Dover castle is
465. 8 feet above low-water mark, spring tide, and
91.9 feet above the ground on which it stands; and
yet the top of the keep itself is lower than the land to
the south-west by west and north-west of the castle.
Its latitude is 51° 7'–47. 7. N. Its distance from the
spire of the church of Notre Dame, at Calais is 26M.
OF. 10R. and from Dunkirk, 46M. OF. 24R. which
measures are taken from Gen. Roy's curious papers
in the Philosophical Transactions, describing his method of measuring and estimating the distance of the
two observatories of London and Paris.
The limits of Dover castle appear antiently to have
been a parochial district of themselves, by the name of
the parish of St. Mary, as has been already mentioned
before; and they certainly were a jurisdiction within
themselves, exempt from any other; but from neglect, and the trouble arising from the exercising of
these privileges, those antient franchises have been for
some time past disused, and both the civil and military powers have been frequently exercised within
them, independent of any controul from the constable
of the castle.
Among other liberties and franchises belonging to
the office of constable of this castle, he now claims,
to have a right of warren, and to be lord paramount
over the manors within a considerable district of land
adjoining to it, called the Warren; in which he appoints gamekeepers and warreners, to preserve the
game adjoining to it.
A LIST of the GOVERNORS and CONSTABLES of DOVER-CASTLE, and WARDENS of the CINQUE PORTS:
GODWYNE, earl of Kent, was appointed governor
in the reign of king Edward the Confessor. (fn. 11)
Harold, second son of earl Godwyne, who afterwards
succeeded to the crown of England.
Bertram de Ashburnham.
Odo, bishop of Baieux, the Conqueror's half-brother
and earl of Kent.
John de Fiennes was made constable and warden by
the Conqueror, and had these offices entailed upon
him and his heirs male.
James de Fiennes, his son.
John de Fiennes, his son, on whose removal the king
resumed these offices.
Wakelyn de Magminot.
Richard, earl of Ewe, was made governor.
Eustace, earl of Bologne, only son of king Stephen.
Henry de Essex, baron of Raleigh, was made both
constable and warden.
Simon de Sandwich.
Henry de Sandwich.
Alan de Fiennes, a descendant of John de Fiennes
above-mentioned, was restored to these offices.
James de Fiennes, his eldest son, who was the last
of this family who inherited them.
Matthew de Clere.
William Longspee, earl of Salisbury, natural son of
king Henry II.
William de Wrotham.
Thomas Bassett was constable of this castle.
Hubert de Burgh was appointed both constable and
William de Hunting field.
William de Sarum.
Geoffry Fitz-Pier was constable.
Hubert de Burgh was again constable and warden.
Sir Robert de Neresford was appointed constable.
Hugh de Windlesore.
Sir Geoffry de Shurland.
William de Averenches, and likewise lord-warden,
with whom was joined in that office, Tergusius, provost or mayor of Dover.
Hubert de Burgh above-mentioned, then earl of Kent,
was next made constable and warden.
Stephen de Segrave.
Simon Hoese was appointed constable.
Bertram de Criol.
Hubert de Husato was constable.
Hamo de Crevequer was constable by patent; (fn. 12) with
whom Walerand de Teyes was joined in the wardenship. (fn. 13)
Bertram de Criol was again constable.
Peter de Savoy.
Humphry Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex.
Peter de Rivallis.
Bertram de Criol.
Reginald de Cobham, second son of Henry, of Cobham, was made constable and warden, by patent.
Nicholas de Moels.
Richard de Grey, of Codnor.
Hugh Bigod, younger brother of the earl of Norfolk, was appointed constable.
Robert Waleran was made constable.
Edmund and Robt. de Gascoyne were joint constables,
Henry, bishop of London.
Walter de Bersted was made both constable and
Richard de Grey was appointed constable, and Nicholas de Criol, son of Bertram before mentioned, was
made warden, on whose resignation the former held
both these offices. (fn. 14)
Henry Montfort, son of Simon, earl of Leicester, was
made both constable and warden, by patent.
Roger de Leyborne was appointed warden by patent.
Edward, prince of Wales, afterwards king Edward I.
was constable and warden.
Sir Stephen de Penchester was constable, and afterwards warden.
Simon de Crey, of Paul's Crey.
Ralph de Sandwich.
Sir Robert de Shurland was warden.
Sir Stephen de Penchester was again made constable
by patent, and afterwards again was likewise warden.
Robert de Burghersh was appointed constable and
Sir Stephen de Penchester was again made both constable and warden. (fn. 15)
Henry Cobbam, of Roundel, in Shorne, surnamed
Robert de Kendale.
Henry de Cobham, of Cobham, iunior.
Robert de Kendale.
Bartholomew de Badlesmere.
Hugh Despencer, junior, earl of Gloucester, warden.
Edmund, earl of Kent, was appointed constable and
Robert de Kendale and Ralph de Camoys were appointed jointly to these offices.
Ralph de Camoys and Robert de Kendale were again
appointed by patent to both these offices.
Hugh Despencer, junior, was again warden.
Bartholomew de Burghersh, son of Robert beforementioned, was both constable and warden. (fn. 16)
Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent, brother to the
late king, was made constable.
Robert de Burghersh was, by patent, appointed both
constable and warden.
William de Clinton, afterwards earl of Huntingdon,
was, by patent, appointed both constable and warden.
Bartholomew de Burghersh.
Sir John Peche.
Ralph, lord Basset, of Drayton.
Bartholomew de Burghersh.
Reginald de Cobhham, K. G. was next warden.
Otho de Grandison, constable.
Roger de Mortimer, earl of March, was made constable and warden.
Guy St. Clere.
Sir John Beauchamp, younger son of Guy, earl of
Warwick, K. G. After, I find no separation of them.
Reginald de Cobham, K. G. was again appointed to
them both, as were all his successors after named.
Sir Robert Herle.
Sir Ralph Spigurnel.
Sir Richard de Pembrugg.
William de Latimer, of Corbie.
Edmund Langley, earl of Cambridge, fifth son of king
Edward III. and afterwards duke of York.
Sir Robert Asheton.
Sir Simon de Burley, K. G.
Sir John Devereux, K. G.
Henry de Cobham, son of Reginald before-mentioned.
John, lord Beaumont, (in Latin, de Bellomonte).
Edward, duke of York and Albermarle, son of Edmund de Langley, duke of York, was again appointed.
John Beaufort, marquis of Dorset.
Sir Thomas Erpingham.
Henry, princes of Wales, afterwards king Henry V.
Thomas Fitz-alan, earl of Arundel.
Humphry duke of Gloucester, fourth and youngest
son of king Henry IV. was constable and warden, by
Sir James Fienes, lord Say and Seal, was made constable and warden, to him and his heirs male, in like
manner as his ancestor, John de Fiennes, had them
granted by William the Conqueror. He afterwards
granted all his right and title to these offices, to
Humphry Stafford, duke of Buckingham. who took
possession of them, holding them in like tail.
Edmund, duke of Somerset, was next appointed by
patent to them, and afterwards Simon Montfort.
Richard Nevill, the great earl of Warwick.
Sir John Scott.
William Fitz-alan, earl of Arundel.
Richard, duke of Gloucester, the king's uncle, afterwards king Richard III.
Henry Stafford, duke of Buckingham.
William Fitz-alan, earl of Arundel.
Sir William Scott, son of Sir John Scott.
Henry, duke of York, the king's younger son, afterwards king Henry VIII. was made constable for life,
and warden during pleasure.
Sir Edward Poynings, K. G.
Sir George Nevill, lord Abergavenny.
Sir Edward Poynings, K. G.
Sir Edward Guldeford, K. G.
George Boleyne, viscount Rochford.
Henry Fitzroy, duke of Richmond, the king's natural son.
Arthur Plantagenet, viscount Lisle, natural son of
king Edward IV.
Sir Thomas Cheney, K. G.
Sir William Brooke, lord Cobham.
Henry, lord Cobham, his son and heir.
Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, younger brother of Thomas, duke of Norfolk.
Edward, lord Zouch, of Haringworth.
George Villers, duke of Buckingham.
Theophilus Howard, earl of Suffolk, was appointed
to them for life.
James Stuart, duke of Richmond, for the term of
his life; but he seems never to have been sworn into
Robert, earl of Warwick. After which
The Council of State was ordered to execute them
under the parliament; after which they were put into
Colonels, John Lambart, John Deshorough, and Robert Blake, executed these offices; but another commission was afterwards granted to
Charles Fleetwood, and the above mentioned John
James, duke of York, king Charles II.'s brother, afterwards king James II. was appointed, on the king's
restoration in 1660, both constable and warden. (fn. 17)
Henry Sidney, viscount Sidney, afterwards Earl of
Prince George of Denmark, husband of queen Anne.
Lionel Cranfield Sackville, earl of Dorset.
James, duke of Ormond.
Lionel, earl of Dorset.
John Sidney, earl of Leicester.
Lionel, before earl, but then duke of Dorset, was
again re appointed to these offices; and afterwards
had a renewal of his patent for the term of his life.
Robert Darcy, earl of Holderness, for life.
Frederick North, lord North, K. G. afterwards earl
of Guildford, and was confirmed in them for life, by
THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM PITT, appointed,
by patent, dated August 18, 1792, and he continues
at this time both constable of Dover castle and lordwarden of the cinque ports.
The hon. Francis North, younger brother of the
earl of Guildford, is the present lieutenant of Dover
The office of warden of the cinque ports, is of high
honour, as well as trust, as he is at the same time
both chancellor and admiral of the cinque ports, the
two antient towns, and their members, being in his
patent stiled constable of Dover castle, warden, chancellor, and admiral of the cinque ports, the two antient towns, and their members; and his office has
been for a long time consolidated with that of constable of Dover castle, that he may have a strong post
under his command within the ports, and an honourable residence within them. He is usually stiled lord
warden, not only from the eminence of his trust, but
from its having been held at most times by nobility,
and sometimes by princes of the blood royal, and none
below a knight, and not of the king's council, ought
to hold it.
After the Roman government was established in
Britain, the sea-coast in this part of it, called the
Saxon shore, had a peculiar governor, named Comes
Spectabilis Littoris Saxonici, whose particular business
it was, to guard the coast, and to fix garrisons at convenient places on it, to prevent the plunders of the
barbarians, especially of the Saxons, who heavily infested Britain; (fn. 18) his residence being usually in this
county. During the time of the Saxon heptarchy, of
course there could be no such officer, for the Saxons
themselves were then become masters of Britain, and
had divided it into kingdoms among themselves; and
each king took care of his own coast, and no one person could be appointed to govern the whole. But
after England had become an entire monarchy, the
succeeding kings of it were necessitated to fit out from
time to time mighty fleets of shipping, to encounter
their common enemies, the Danes; towards which
the several ports along this shore so often contributed,
and were of such continued service, that in king Edward the Confessor's days, five of them, viz. Hastings,
Hythe, Romney, Dover, and Sandwich, afterwards
called the cinque ports, were rewarded with great privileges; these armaments seem to have been constantly under the direction of the admirals appointed
for this purpose, and thus it remained till after the
Conqueror had gained the crown, in 1066, when he
not only appointed a governor, or constable of the castle
of Dover, which he looked upon as the key of the
kingdom, but in imitation of the Romans, constituted a governor likewise, whom he stiled warden of
the cinque ports, whose jurisdiction in the nature of admiral, as well as chancellor, extended over them, with
the addition afterwards of the two antient towns of
Rye and Winchelsea, as principals, and some other
inferior districts as members; and as these ports and
their members were liable to be called upon on every
occasion of danger, and to furnish their particular
quotas of shipping, those privileges were granted and
confirmed by the charters of the several succeeding
kings. The last charter granted was by Charles II.
in his 20th year, who not only confirmed all the
former ones, but granted other liberties in addition
to them; and under this charter the ports are at this
time governed, and this charter was confirmed by
king James II. in his 4th year.
The whole quota of shipping to be provided by the
cinque ports, with their members, vary in different
records, as well in the total, as the particular quota of
each; for it must be observed, that as occasion required, alterations were made in each, more or less, as
to some towns, by decree of the ports-men, among
themselves, in their courts of brotherhood, or guestling, further charging or easing one another, according to consent or complaint. (fn. 19)
Many signal marks of assistance are mentioned as
having been afforded in different reigns by these ports,
for the defence of the kingdom, most of which are
mentioned in the different parts of this history, but
the royal navy of England, in queen Elizabeth's reign,
being greatly increased, and the ships built of a much
larger tonnage, the small ones fitted out by the ports,
became of little use, and very insufficient for the purposes intended, so that the ports were required, instead of the former number of small ships, to fit out
fewer, but of a much larger size, which they continued
to do till the restoration of king Charles II. when this
system of defence being abolished, we find no further
mention of it, and the custom of it entirely ceased.
But all the privileges granted to these ports on this
account, continued to them, among which was that
of each of them returing two of their freemen, called
barons, to parliament; and of chusing at coronations,
from among their inhabitants, thirty-two, called barons likewise, to support the royal canopies, having
for their fees, those canopies with the silver bells, and
the staves supporting them; and on that time, at the
dinner, they have a table allotted for them in Westminster-hall, on the king's right hand, which service
is called their honours at court.
The court of the cinque ports for the holding of pleas,
and the great assemblies of them, was held, in early
times, at a place called Shepway-cross, near Limne,
and there the lord-warden received his oath at his first
entry into his office. But he is now usually sworn at
Bredenstone-hill, being that on the south west side of
Dover, opposite the castle, where the antient court of
Shepway is now kept, and most of the general business
of the ports transacted. The lord-warden, besides the
above court, holds a court of chancery, or equity, as
chancellor, and a court of admiralty as admiral; both
usually kept in the church of St. James, in Dover;
and since these latter have been more frequented, they
have withdrawn most of the matters determinable in
the former court from it, and have occasioned it to
be of much less account than it ever was in former
Besides these, there is another court of an inferior
sort, called a guestling, or brotherhood, which is held
annually, to consult about such things as concern the
common good of the ports, being usually held in the
town of New Romney, for that purpose.
THE DESCRIPTION, which Cæsar gives in his
Commentaries, of the place where he first intended
to land in Britain, answers so well to the situation of
this town and harbour, that making an allowance for
the sea having withdrawn itself, and become circumscribed within a narrower compass, it cannot be more
exact, or a doubt remain, but that Dover was the spot
described by him. For he says, that on his arrival on
the coast, from the continent, he saw all the cliffs covered by the Britons in arms, and observed, what
would render the execution of his design most difficult at this place, that the sea being narrow, and pent
in by the hills, the Britons could easily throw their
darts from thence upon the shore beneath; upon which,
not thinking this a proper place for landing, he failed
about eight miles further, and then came to a plain and
It appears, by the above account, that the sea came
much more within the land between the hills than it
does at present; and it is supposed that the haven was
once situated as far within it at least as the southwest, or inland extremity of the hill, on which the
DOVER does not seem to have been in much repute
as a harbour, till some time after Cæsar's expedition
hither; for the unfitness, as well as insecurity of the
place, especially for a large fleet of shipping, added to
the character which he had given of it, deterred the
Romans from making a frequent use of it, so that
from Boleyne, or Gessoriacum, their usual port in Gaul,
they in general failed with their fleets to Richborough,
or Portus Rutupinus, situated at the mouth of the
Thames, in Britain, and thence back again; the latter
being a most safe and commodious haven, with a large
and extensive bay.
Notwithstanding which, Dover certainly was then
made use of as a port for smaller vessels, and a nearer
intercourse for passengers from the continent; and to
render the entrance to it more safe, the Romans built
two Specula, or watch-towers, here, on the two hills
opposite to each other, to point out the approach to
it, and one likewise on the opposite hill at Bologne,
for the like purpose there; and it is mentioned as
a port by Antoninus, in his Itinerary, in which,
ITER III. is A Londinio ad Portum Dubris, i. e. from
London to the port of Dover.
After the departure of the Romans from Britain,
when the port of Bologne, as well as Richborough,
fell into decay and disuse, and instead of the former a
nearer port came into use, first at Whitsan, and when
that was stopped up, a little higher at Calais, Dover
quickly became the more usual and established port
of passage between France and Britain, and it has continued so to the present time.
When the antient harbour of Dover was changed
from its antient situation is not known; most probably by various occurrences of nature, the sea left it
by degrees, till at last the farmer scite of it became
entirely swallowed up by the beach. That the harbour was much further within land, even at the time
of the conquest than it is at present, seems to be confirmed by Domesday, in which it is said, that at the
entrance of it, there was a mill which damaged almost
every ship that passed by it, on account of the great
swell of the sea there. Where the scite of this mill
was, is now totally unknown, though it is probable
it was much within the land, and that by the still
further accumulation of the beach, and other natural causes, this haven was in process of time so far
filled up towards the inland part of it, as to change
its situation still more to the south-west, towards
From the time of the Norman conquest this port
continued the usual passage to the continent, and to
confine the intercourse to this port only, there was a
statute passed anno 4 Edward IV. that none should
take shipping for Calais, but at Dover. (fn. 20) But in king
Henry VII.'s time, which was almost the next reign,
the harbour was become so swerved up, as to render
it necessary for the king's immediate attention, to
prevent its total ruin, and he expended great sums of
money for its preservation. But it was found, that
all that was done, would not answer the end proposed,
without the building of a pier to seaward, which was
determined on about the middle of Henry VIII.'s
reign, and one was constructed, which was compiled
of two rows of main posts, and great piles, which
were let into holes hewn in the rock underneath, and
some were shod with iron, and driven down into the
main chalk, and fastened together with iron bands and
bolts. The bottom being first filled up with great
rocks of stone, and the remainder above with great
chalk stones, beach, &c. During the whole of this
work, the king greatly encouraged the undertaking,
and came several times to view it; and in the whole
is said to have expended near 63,000l. on it. But his
absence afterwards abroad, his ill health, and at last
his death, joined to the minority of his successor, king
Edward VI. though some feeble efforts were made in
his reign, towards the support of this pier, put a stop
to, and in the end exposed this noble work to decay
Queen Mary, indeed, attempted to carry it on again,
but neither officers nor workmen being well paid, it
came to nothing, so that in process of time the sea
having brought up great quantities of beach again
upon it, the harbour was choaked up, and the loss
of Calais happening about the same time, threatened
the entire destruction of it. Providentially the shelf
of beach was of itself became a natural defence against
the rage of the sea, insomuch, that if a passage could
be made for ships to get safely within it, they might
ride there securely.
To effect this, several projects were formed, and
queen Elizabeth, to encourage it, gave to the town
the free transportation of several thousand quarters of
corn and tuns of beer; and in the 23d of her reign, an
act passed for giving towards the repair of the harbour,
a certain tonnage from every vessel above twenty tons
burthen, passing by it, which amounted to 1000l.
yearly income; and the lord Cobham, then lordwarden, and others, were appointed commissioners for
this purpose; and in the end, after many different
trials to effect it, a safe harbour was formed, with a
pier, and different walls and sluices, at a great expence; during the time of which a universal diligence
and public spirit appeared in every one concerned in
this great and useful work. During the whole of the
queen's reign, the improvement of this harbour continued without intermission, and several more acts
passed for that purpose; but the future preservation
of it was owing to the charter of incorporation of the
governors of it, in the first year of king James I. by
an act passed that year, by the name of the warden
and assistants of the harbour of Dover, the warden
being always the lord-warden of the cinque ports for
the time being, and his assistants, his lieutenant, and
the mayor of Dover, for the time being, and eight
others, the warden and assistants only making a quorum; six to be present to make a session; at any of
which, on a vacancy, the assistants to be elected; and
the king granted to them his land or waste ground, or
beach, commonly called the Pier, or Harbour ground,
as it lay without Southgate, or Snargate, the rents of
which are now of the yearly value of about three hundred pounds.
Under the direction of this corporation, the works
and improvements of this harbour have been carried
on, and acts of parliament have been passed in almost
every reign since, to give the greater force to their
From what has been said before, the reader will
observe, that this harbour has always been a great national object, and that in the course of many ages,
prodigious sums of money have been from time to
time expended on it, and every endeavour used to
keep it open, and render it commodious; but after
all these repeated endeavours and expences, it still
labours under such circumstances, as in a very great
degree renders unsuccessful all that has ever been
done for that purpose.
DOVER, as has been already mentioned, was of
some estimation in the time of the Roman empire in
Britain, on account of its haven, and afterwards for
the castle, in which they kept a strong garrison of sol.
diers, not only to guard the approach to it, but to
keep the natives in subjection; and in proof of their
residence here, the Rev. Mr. Lyon some years since
discovered the remains of a Roman structure, which
he apprehended to have been a bath, at the west end
of the parish-church of St. Mary, in this town, which
remains have since repeatedly been laid open when
interments have taken place there.
This station of the Romans is mentioned by Antonine, in his Itinerary of the Roman roads in Britain,
by the name of Dubris, as being situated from the
station named Durovernum, or Canterbury, fourteen
miles; which distance, compared with the miles as
they are now numbered from Canterbury, shews the
town, as well as the haven, for they were no doubt
contiguous to each other, to have both been nearer
within land than either of them are at present, the
present distance from Canterbury being near sixteen
miles as the road now goes, The sea, indeed, seems
antiently to have occupied in great part the space
where the present town of Dover, or at least the northwest part of it, now stands; but being shut out by
the quantity of beach thrown up, and the harbour
changed by that means to its present situation, left
that place a dry ground, on which the town of Dover,
the inhabitants following the traffic of the harbour,
was afterwards built.
This town, called by the Saxons, Dofra, and Dofris; by later historians, Doveria; and in Domesday,
Dovere; is agreed by all writers to have been privileged before the conquest; and by the survey of
Domesday, appears to have been of ability in the time
of king Edward the Confessor, to arm yearly twenty
vessels for sea service. In consideration of which, that
king granted to the inhabitants, not only to be free
from the payment of thol and other privileges throughout the realm, but pardoned them all manner of suit
and service to any of his courts whatsoever; and in
those days, the town seems to have been under the
protection and government of Godwin, earl of Kent,
and governor of this castle.
Soon after the conquest, this town was so wasted
by fire, that almost all the houses were reduced to
ashes, as appears by the survey of Domesday, at the
beginning of which is the following entry of it:
DOVERE, in the time of king Edward, paid eighteen
pounds, of which money, king E had two parts, and earl
Goduin the third. On the other hand, the canons of St.
Martin had another moiety. The burgesses gave twenty
ships to the king once in the year, for fifteen days; and in
each ship were twenty and one men. This they did on the
account that he had pardoned them sac and soc. When
the messengers of the king came there, they gave for the
passage of a horse three pence in winter, and two in summer.
But the burgesses found a steerman, and one other assistant,
and if there should be more necessary, they were provided
at his cost. From the festival of St. Michael to the feast
of St. Andrew, the king's peace was in the town. Sigerius had broke it, on which the king's bailiff had received
the usual fine. Whoever resided constantly in the town
paid custom to the king; he was free from thol throughout England. All these customs were there when king
William came into England. On his first arrival in
England, the town itself was burnt, and therefore its value
could not be computed how much it was worth, when the
bishop of Baieux received it. Now it is rated at forty
pounds, and yet the bailiff pays from thence fifty-four
pounds to the king; of which twenty-four pounds in money,
which were twenty in an one, but thirty pounds to the earl
In Dovere there are twenty-nine plats of ground, of
which the king had lost the custom. Of these Robert de
Romenel has two. Ralph de Curbespine three. William,
son of Tedald, one. William, son of Oger, one. William,
son of Tedold, and Robert niger, six. William, son of
Goisfrid, three, in which the guildhall of the burgesses
was. Hugo de Montfort one house. Durand one. Rannulf de Colubels one. Wadard six. The son of Modbert
one. And all these vouch the bishop of Baieux as the protector and giver of these houses. Of that plat of ground,
which Rannulf de Colubels holds, which was a certain
outlaw, they agree that the half of the land was the king's,
and Rannulf himself has both parts. Humphry the lame
man holds one plat of ground, of which half the forfeiture
is the king's. Roger de Ostrabam made a certain house
over the king's water, and held to this time the custom of
the king; nor was a house there in the time of king Edward. In the entrance of the port of Dovere, there is
one mill, which damages almost every ship, by the great
swell of the sea, and does great damage to the king and
his tenants; and it was not there in the time of king
Edward. Concerning this, the grandson of Herbert says,
that the bishop of Baieux granted it to his uncle Herbert,
the son of Ivo.
And a little further, in the same record, under the
bishop's possessions likewise:
In Estrei hundred, Wibertus holds half a yoke, which
lies in the gild of Dover, and now is taxed with the land of
Osbert, the son of Letard, and is worth per annum four
From the Norman conquest, the cities and towns
of this realm appear to have been vested either in the
crown, or else in the clergy or great men of the laity,
and they were each, as such, immediately lords of the
same. Thus, when the bishop of Baieux, to whom
the king had, as may be seen by the above survey,
granted this town, was disgraced. It returned into
the king's hands by forfeiture, and king Richard I.
afterwards granted it in ferme to Robt. Fitz-bernard. (fn. 21)
After the time of the taking of the survey of
Domesday, the harbour of Dover still changing its
situation more to the south-westward, the town seems
to have altered its situation too, and to have been
chiefly rebuilt along the sides of the new harbour, and
as an encouragement to it, at the instance, and
through favour especially to the prior of Dover, king
Edward I. in corporated this town, the first that was
so of any of the cinque ports, by the name of the
mayor and commonalty. The mayor to be chosen
out of the latter, from which body he was afterwards
to chuse the assistants for his year, who were to be
sworn for that purpose. At which time, the king had
a mint for the coinage of money here; and by patent, anno 27 of that reign, the table of the exchequer
of money was appointed to be held here, and at Yarmouth. (fn. 22) But the good effects of these marks of the
royal favour were soon afterwards much lessened, by a
dreadful disaster; for the French landed here in the
night, in the 23d year of that reign, and burnt the
greatest part of the town, and several of the religious
houses, in it, and this was esteemed the more treacherousk, as it was done whilst the two cardinals were here,
treating for a peace between England and France;
which misfortune, however, does not seem to have
totally impoverished it, for in the 17th year of the
next reign of king Edward II it appears in some measure to have recovered its former state, and to have
been rebuilt, as appears by the patent rolls of that
year, in which the town of Dover is said to have then
had in it twenty-one wards, each of which was charged
with one ship for the king's use; in consideration of
which, each ward had the privilege of a licensed packetboat, called a passenger, from Dover across the sea to
Whitsan, in France, the usual port at that time of
embarking from thence.
The state of this place in the reign of Henry VIII.
is given by Leland, in his Itinerary, as follows:
"Dovar ys xii myles fro Canterbury and viii fro
Sandwich. Ther hath bene a haven yn tyme past and
yn taken ther of the ground that lyith up betwyxt the
hilles is yet in digging found wosye. Ther hath bene
found also peeces of cabelles and
anchores and Itinerarium Antonini
cawlyth hyt by the name of a haven. The towne on the front
toward the se hath bene right
strongly walled and embateled
and almost al the residew; but now yt is parly fawlen
downe and broken downe. The residew of the towne
as far as I can perceyve was never waulled. The
towne is devided into vi paroches. Wherof iii be
under one rose at S. Martines yn the hart of the
town. The other iii stand
that yt hath be walled abowt
but not dyked.
The other iii stand
abrode, of the which one is cawled S. James of Rudby
or more likely Rodeby a statione navium. But this
word ys not sufficient to prove that Dovar showld be
that place, the which the Romaynes cawlled Portus
Rutupi or Rutupinum. For I cannot yet se the contrary but Retesboro otherwise cawlled Richeboro by
Sandwich, both ways corruptly, must neades be Rutupinum. The mayne strong and famose castel of Dovar stondeth on the loppe of a hille almost a quarter
of a myle of fro the towne on the lyst side and withyn
the castel ys a chapel, yn the sides wherof appere sum
greate Briton brykes. In the town was a great priory
of blacke monkes late suppressed. There is also an hospitalle cawlled the Meason dew. On the toppe of the
hye clive betwene the towne and the peere remayneth
yet abowt a slyte shot up ynto the land fro the very
brymme of the se clysse as ruine of a towr, the which
has bene as a pharos or a mark to shyppes on the se
and therby was a place of templarys. As concerning
the river of Dovar it hath no long cowrse from no
spring or hedde notable that descendith to that botom.
The principal hed, as they say is at a place cawled
Ewelle and that is not past a iii or iiii myles fro Dovar. Ther be springes of frech waters also at a place
cawled Rivers. Ther is also a great spring at a place
cawled …… and that once in a vi or vii yeres brasted owt so abundantly that a great part of the water
cummeth into Dovar streme, but als yt renneth yn to
the se betwyxt Dovar and Folchestan, but nerer to
Folchestan that is to say withyn a ii myles of yt.
Surely the hedde standeth so that it might with no
no great cost be brought to run alway into Dovar
streame." (fn. 23)
with toures toward
the se. There is beside Beting-gate and
Howbeyt MTuine tol me a late
that yt hath be walled abowt
but not dyked.
This was the state of Dover just before the time of
the dissolution of religious houses, in Henry VIII.'s
reign, when the abolition of private masses, obits, and
such like services in churches, occasioned by the reformation, annillilated the greatest part of the income
of the priests belonging to them, in this as well as in
other towns, in consequence of which most of them
were deserted, and falling to ruin, the parishes belonging to them were united to one or two of the
principal ones of them. Thus, in this town, of the
several churches in it, two only remained in use for divine service, viz. St. Mary's and St. James's, to which
the parishes of the others were united.
After this, the haven continuting to decay more
than ever, notwithstanding the national assistance afforded to it, the town itself seemed hastening to impoverishment. What the state of it was in the 8th
year of queen Elizabeth, may be seen, by the certificate returned by the queen's order of the maritime
places, in her 8th year, by which it appears that there
were then in Dover, houses inhabited three hundred
and fifty-eight; void, or lack of inhabiters, nineteen;
a mayor, customer, comptroller of authorities, not
joint but several; ships and crayers twenty, from four
tons to one hundred and twenty.
This probable ruin of the town, however, most
likely induced the queen, in her 20th year, to grant it
a new charter of incorporation, in which the manner
of chusing mayor, jurats, and commoners, and of
making freemen, was new-modelled, and several surther liberties and privileges granted, and those of the
charter of king Edward I. confirmed likewise by inspeximus. After which, king Charles II. in his 36th
year, anno 1684, granted to it a new charter, which,
however, was never inrolled in chancery, and in consequence of a writ of quo warranto was that same year
surrendered, and another again granted next year;
but this last, as well as another charter granted by
king James II. and forced on the corporation, being
made wholly subservient to the king's own purposes,
were annulled by proclamation, made anno 1688, being the fourth and last year of his reign: but none of
the above charters being at this time extant, (the
charters of this corporation, as well as those of the
other cinque ports, being in 1685, by the king's command, surrendered up to Col. Strode, then governor
of Dover castle, and never returned again, nor is it
known what became of them,) Dover is now held to
be a corporation by prescription, by the stile of the
mayor, jurats, and commonalty of the town and port
of Dover. It consists at present of a mayor, twelve
jurats, and thirty-six commoners, or freemen, together with a chamberlain, recorder, and town-clerk.
The mayor, who is coroner by virtue of his office, is
chosen on Sept. 8, yearly, in St. Mary's church, and
together with the jurats, who are justices within this
liberty, exclusive of all others, hold a court of general
sessions of the peace and gaol delivery, together with
a court of record, and it has other privileges, mostly
the same as the other corporations, within the liberties
of the cinque ports. It has the privilege of a mace.
The election of mayor was antiently in the church of
St. Peter, whence in 1581 it was removed to that of
St. Mary, where it has been, as well as the elections of
barons to serve in parliament, held ever since. These
elections here, as well as elsewhere in churches, set
apart for the worship of God, are certainly a scandal
to decency and religion, and are the more inexcusable
here, as there is a spacious court-hall, much more fit
for the purposes. After this, there was another byelaw made, in June, 1706, for removing these elections into the court-hall; but why it was not put in
execution does not appear, unless custom prevented
it—for if a decree was of force to move them from
one church to another, another decree was of equal
force to remove them from the church to the courthall. Within these few years indeed, a motion was
made in the house of commons, by the late alderman
Sawbridge, a gentlemand not much addicted to speak
in favour of the established church, to remove all such
elections, through decency, from churches to other
places not consecrated to divine worship; but though
allowed to be highly proper, yet party resentment
against the mover of it prevailed, and the motion
was negatived by a great majority.
The mayor is chosen by the resident freemen. The
jurats are nominated from the common-councilmen
by the jurats, and appointed by the mayor, jurats,
and common-councilmen, by ballot.
Besides the jurisdiction which the corporations has
within this town and port, it extends over several
places, as members or limbs of this cinque port of
Dover, not being incorporated, viz. of Margate, alias
St. John's, Goresend, Birchington, Wood alias Woodchurch, and St. Peter's, all in the Isle of Thanet; and
Kingsdowne, and Ringswold, in this county; as will
be further mentioned in their proper places. And
within these limits, as well as of the town of Dover,
and within the harbour and without, the process of the
court of record, holden before the mayor and jurats,
has always been executed by their officer, the water
bailiff; the appointment of which officer, (together
with the office of keeper of the prison here) was by
queen Anne, in her first year, granted to the mayor,
jurats, and commonalty.
The arms of the corporation of Dover are, Sable, a
cross, argent, between four leopards faces, or; being the
same arms as those of the priory of Dover.
The town of Dover was in antient time strongly
walled round and embattled, especially toward the
sea, but it seems not to have been ditched round.
The wall, in which there were ten gates, has been
long since demolished, and some few fragments of it
only are left; and of the gates there is not one remaining. The walls did not encompass a space of
more than half a mile square, yet there were five parish churches within it, and one parish church and
two others belonging to the priory and the Maison
Dieu without it. These churches have been all
long since demolished, excepting those of St. Mary
and St. James, all which will be further mentioned
After queen Elizabeth had thought it necessary to
encourage this place, by bestowing on it, as a mark
of her royal favour, a new charter of incorporation,
in the 20th year of her reign, as before-mentioned,
and had taken under her royal protection the repair
and further improvements of the harbour, for which
several acts passed during the course of her reign, the
intercourse with foreigners, as well as trade and merchandize, greatly increased, as did the number of
houses and inhabitants, especially in the next year of
king James I. when the waste beach being granted to
the trustees of the harbour, began to be built upon,
and in a short progress of time was covered with dwellings and werehouses.
From this time, the town of Dover has continued
in a flourishing condition, insomuch, that it is at present exceeding wealthy and populous, containing near
10,000 inhabitants, among which are some, but yet
not a great number of dissenters, of different persuasions, who have their respective meeting-houses within
this town, viz. the Quakers, and Baptists, and two
different persuasions of Methodists. The town extends from the foot of the Castle-hill in a half circle
south-westward along the foot of the opposite cliffs,
and so on beyond the harbour. There are several good
principal streets in it, which, with the rest of the town,
were greatly improved, by an act, which passed in the
year 1778, for the new paving, watching, lighting,
and otherwise improving it. The two former parts of
the act have been put in execution; but the latter,
of lighting it, the commissioners have not ventured to
attempt, so numerous are the contraband traders here,
whose success is chiesly owing to the darkness of the
night; and at this time there is not a single light in
the night throughout the whole town of Dover.
There are a number of handsome modern-built houses
in the several different parts of the town, mostly built
from fortunes chiefly acquired here by traffic and merchandize.
At the entrance of the town from London, are the
remains of the hospital of the Maison Dieu, now made
use of as the king's victualling-office, and adjoining
to it is the agent's house; opposite to which, at a small
distance from the street, are the ruins of the priory.
The court-hall was built in 1623, undernearth which
the market is held on every Wednesday and Saturday;
and in the same square in which it stands there is a large
fair, formerly held yearly on Nov. 11, being St. Martin's day, the tutelar saint of this place, but now, by the
alteration of the stile, on Nov. 22, which continues for
three market-days; besides which there is another fair
held near the town, where there was once a chapel,
dedicated to St. Bartholomew, on the day of that saint,
being August 24, yearly.
Close to the harbour and pier are situated the customhouse, the public inns, the agents offices, the two banking-houses, and the warehouses and magazines for merchandize; all which being centered near together here,
causes a perpetual bustle and hurry of business, and a
great crowd, especially of seasaring people, as well
of English as of other nations. Here, whatever relates to the shipping, or their cargoes, and refitting
them, is transacted; here the packets and passageboats lie; and every one embarks and lands— so that
here all the wealth and business of the town seems concentred. By a statute, made anno 4 Edward III. it was
enacted, that, as formerly a man with his horse used to
pay only two shillings, for his passage from Dover, and
a man on foot only sixpence; in the port of Dover
the passengers should pay no more than was usual, and
that the keeper of Dover castle should have notice of
this, and put the law in execution at his peril; and if
he should find any one who infringed the law, he
should be punished at the suit of any one who would
make complaint. A law, says Barrington, in his Observations on the Antient Statutes, which deserves much
to be put in execution, though it had escaped most
lawyers, he believed, both from its antiquity and from
its not being translated; and he particularly doubts,
whether the keeper of Dover castle knew any thing of
such a regulation, though the observance of it is so
strongly enjoined to him, and that by an act, which
still continues unrepealed.
Underneath this cliff, near the upper end of the
Rope-walk, was cut and hollowed out, in the year
1735, a range of wine-vaults, which extend inward,
from the entrance, 189 feet within the cliff, in a direct
line to which, if the parts that branch off are added,
they make 366 feet; they are fourteen feet wide, and
vary in height from eight to sixteen feet. These vaults
are well worth the observations of the curious.
There are three forts; one on the height, called
Archcliff-fort; another called Lord North's battery,
at the end of the Rope-walk; and the other under the
Here are in this town, establishments of the offices of
ordnance, customs, excise, victualling, and post-office.
A court of requests is established in it, by an act passed
in the year 1784, for the recovery of small debts in
this town, and in several of the adjacent parishes mentioned in it.
THE TOWN OF DOVER is situated very pleasant and
romantic; for the most part at the foot of the high
chalk cliffs, which seem to hang tremendous over the
roofs of the houses close underneath them. The air is
exceeding healthy, on which account, and for the benefit of sea-bathing, there being a fine open bold beach
all along this shore, numbers of families resort hither
during the summer season. Whoever visits this place
cannot fail to receive a still further pleasure, from the
views of the high and stupendous white cliffs along the
shore, and the grandeur of the neighbouring hills, of
the azure sea, with the moving prospect on it, bounded
by the variegated Bologne hills, on the coast of France;
and from the continued novelty afforded, in the time
of peace, by the packets and passage-boats to and from
France, almost every hour, filled with passengers of
every rank and country.
In this town the lord-warden holds a court of lode
manage, called, by some, the Trinity-house, to which
there is a clerk and sergeant belonging, at which are
chosen and appointed a certain number of skilful and
sufficient pilots, for the safe direction and guidance of
ships into ports, and up the rivers Thames and Medway. Their number consists of fifty, out of which
number the master of the court is chosen; they are
divided into two classes, called the Upper and Lower
Book; the former consists of a master and twenty-four
others, and the lower book of twenty-five, and their
authority extends over those of Deal, Ramsgate, and
Margate, in the Isle of Thanet, in conjunction with
the wardens of the respective places in which they are
stationed; for in the 3d year of king George I. the
pilots obtained an act of parliament, by which it was
settled, that there should be fifty pilots at Dover, and
as many at Deal, and twenty in Thanet; and for the
regulation of this necessary and valuable body of men,
the legislature has passed a law, under which they are
at present governed.
The cinque ports, as well as their two antient towns
of Rye and Winchelsea, have each of them the privilege of returning members, usually stiled barons, to
parliament. The first returns that are mentioned
for any of them, are in the 42d year of king Edward III.
The following is A LIST of such returns for the
town and port of Dover, from the time of queen
|IN THE TIME OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.|
|Years of the Reign, &c.||Names of the Barons in Parliament.|
|1st. At Westminster.||Thomas Warren,
|13th.—||Thomas Andrews, esq.|
John Pinchney, esq.
|14th.—||Tho. Andrews, esq. mayor.|
Thomas Warren, gent.
|27th. —||Richard Barry, esq.|
John More, gent.
|28th. —||John More, gent.|
Richard Barry, esq.
|31st. —||Thomas Fane, esq.|
Edward Stephens, esq. mayor.
|35th.—||Thomas Fane, esq.|
Thomas Elliwood, esq. mayor.
|39th. —||Thomas Fane, esq.|
Wm. Lennard, esq. mayor.
|43d. —||George Fane, esq.|
George Newman, LL. B.
|IN THE TIME OF KING JAMES I.|
|1st. —||Sir Thomas Waller, (fn. 24)
George Bing, gent.|
|12th. —||Thomas Elwood, senior, (fn. 25)
George Bing, gent.|
|18th. At Westminster.||Sir H. Manwaring,
Sir Richard Young. (fn. 26) |
|21st. —||Sir Edward Cecil,
Sir Richard Young. (fn. 27) |
|IN THE TIME OF KING CHARLES I.|
|1st.—||Sir John Hippesley, (fn. 28)
Sir William Beecher.|
|1st.—||Sir John Hippesley,
John Pringle, gent.|
|3d.—||Sir John Hippesley,
Edward Nicholas, esq.|
|15th.—||Sir Edward Boys, (fn. 29)
Sir Peter Heyman.|
|16th.—||Sir Edward Boys,
Benjamin Weston, esq.|
|IN THE TIME OF KING CHARLES II. (fn. 30) |
|12th. —1660.||Edward Montague, (fn. 31)
Arnold Braems, esqrs.|
|13th. — 1661.||Sir F. Vincent, knt. and bart.|
George Montague, esq.
|31st. —1678.||William Stokes,
Thomas Papillon, esqrs.|
|31st. At Westminster,
Thomas Papillon, esqrs.|
|32d. — 1681.||The Same.|
|IN THE TIME OF KING JAMES II.|
|1st. — 1685.||Arthur Herbert,
William Chapman, esqrs.|
|IN THE TIME OF KING WILLIAM AND Q. MARY.|
|1st.— 1688.||Sir Basil Dixwell, bart.|
Thomas Papillon, esq.
|2d. — 1690.||Thomas Papillon,
James Chadwick, esqrs.|
|IN THE TIME OF KING WILLIAM III.|
|7th.— 1695.||Sir Basil Dixwell, bart.|
James, Chadwick, esq.
|10th. — 1698||Sir Basil Dixwell, bart.|
Matthew Aylmer, esq.
|12th. — 1700.||Right Hon. Sir C. Hedges,
Matthew Aylmer, esq.|
|13th. — 1701.||Matthew Aylmer,
Philip Papillon, esqrs.|
|IN THE TIME OF QUEEN ANNE.|
|1st. — 1702.||The Same.|
|4th. — 1705.||The Same.|
|7th. — 1708.||The Same.|
|9th, — 1710.||The Same.|
|12th.— 1713.||Philip Papillon, esq.|
Sir William Hardres, bart.
|IN THE TIME OF KING GEROGE I.|
|1st. At Westminster,
1714.||Admiral Matthew Aylmer,
Philip Papillon, esq.|
|7th. — 1722.||Hon. George Berkeley,
Henry Furnese, esq.|
|IN THE TIME OF KING GEORGE II.|
|1st. — 1727.||The Same.|
|7th. — 1734.||David Papillon,
Thomas Revell, esqrs.|
|14th. — 1741.||Lord George Sackville,
Thomas Revell, esq.|
|21st. — 1747.||The Same.|
|28th. — 1754.||Lord George Sackville,
William Cayley, esq.|
|IN THE TIME OF KING GEORGE III.|
|1st. — 1761.||Sir Joseph Yorke, K.B.
Edward Simpson, LL.D. (fn. 32) |
|7th. — 1768.||Sir Joseph Yorke, K. B.
Marquis of Lorn. (fn. 33) |
|14th. At Westminster.||John Henniker,
John Trevannion, esqrs.|
|20th. — 1780.||The Same.|
|24th. — 1784.||Hon. Henry Luttrel, (fn. 34)
Robert Preston, esq.|
|30th. — 1790.||Charles Small Pybus, (fn. 35)
John Trevannion, esqrs. (fn. 36) |
|36th. — 1796.||The Same. (fn. 37) |
By a vote of the house of commons, in 1623, it was
resolved, that the freemen and free burgesses, inhabitants of Dover, were entitled to vote at the election.
for barons, to serve the town and port of Dover in
parliament; and by another vote, passed on March
12, 1770, it was resolved, that the non-inhabitant
freemen, as well as the inhabitant freemen and free
burgesses, for there are several burgage tenures in this
town, had a voice in the election of barons to serve in
parliament, which resolution was confirmed by another passed in 1770. Freedom is acquired here by
birth, marriage, servitude, purchase, and by burgage
tenure; but the franchise, if by marriage, ceases with
the death of the wife; or if by tenure, with the alienation of the freehold. There are at present 470
non-resident and 1000 resident freemen and free burgesses of this town and port.
Of the several remarkable occurrences which have
happened in this place, many of them have been already mentioned before. Being the usual place of passage to and from the continent, it was of course the
continued resort of royal and illustrious personages.
When the monarchs of this realm came hither, they
and their several great officers of state lodged separately, in the castle, the priory, and the Maison Dieu,
as appears by their instruments and writs, dated from
each of them respectively; but the instances of their
resort hither have been so frequent that the mention
of them, particularly in this place, would extend far
beyond the compass of this work. I shall therefore
only mention two, and those of a late date, one of
which is, that king Charles II. at his restoration, landed
at Dover, on Saturday, May 26, 1660, about one
o'clock in the afternoon. His Majesty came on shore
on the beach, at the pier, with the dukes of York and
Gloucester, and afterwards many noblemen and gentlemen. The town had provided a canopy on the
beach, where the mayor, the jurats, and their minister, having a large bible with gold clasps embossed,
paid their duty to the king, and presented the bible
to him; and the same year, the king made the corporation
a present of a very handsome mace, now made
use of by them. On it is this inscription: Carolus hic
posuit vestigia prima Secundus 1660.
The other is, that Christian VII. the present king of
Denmark, on his visiting England in 1768, landed
here; and again embarked here on his return to his return to his
own country; and on this occasion, both on his landing and return, he did Mr. Fector the honour of using
his house, when the king presented him with a gold
box, set in mosaic, in a very curious manner, as a mark
of his acknowledgment for the attention paid him.
In the year 1665, this town felt the heavy misfortune of the plague's carrying off a number of its inhabitants, 900 at least dying of this dreadful pestilence;
which, it is said, swept off in London upwards of
On account of the deaths occasioned by this dreadful
calamity, a piece of ground, on the side hill, fronting
the pier fort, though in Hougham parish, ever since
called the Graves, was consecrated, where numbers
were buried. The bodies of these unhappy sufferers
were in general carried from the pier in carts, some few
in coffins, but most without.
The hill, on the south-west side of this town, called
Bredenstone hill, on which the ruin of the antient Roman pharos, or watch-tower, remains, as has been already noticed, is within the lordship of Bredon, within
the liberty of this town, and was once belonging to
the commandery of Swynfield, in this neighbourhood,
belonging to the knights hospitallers of St. John of
In August, 1780, there was shot on the cliff at Dover, that beautiful bird, called the boopoe, as there had
been two more of the same sort in the neighbourhood
of it some few years before. It is a bird but very seldom seen in England. This bird frequents the European woods on the continent, and is very common in
Germany; it sleeps during the winter, and is not seen
ill the spring. They never appear in these parts, except in the summer, and as soon as the young ones can
fly, usually transmigrate to a warmer climate. (fn. 38)
Among other SCARCE PLANTS found in and near
Dover, the following have been observed:
Brassica maritima arborea ceu procerior ramosa, perennial sea colewort, or cabbage.
Cucubulus viscosus, Dover campion.
Lychnis major noctiflora Dubrensis perennis, great
night flowering campion; found on the cliffs.
Several sorts of fucus, or sea pine.
Crithmum marinum, rock samphire; on the cliffs here
very plentisully. This is gathered here, midway down
the cliffs, from a great height above; those, who follow this dreadful trade, being let down from the top by
ropes, in a basket for the purpose. This samphire,
being a very fine flavoured sort, great quantity of it is
pickled, and afterwards barrelled and sent up to London, and other places, as a great luxery for the tables
of the opulent. (fn. 39)
HENRY CAREY, LORD HUNDSON, viscount Rochford, was by king Charles I. by letters patent, in his
3d year, created Earl of Dover. He died in 1666,
and his son John, earl of Dover, dying next year, s.p.
the title became extinct.
HENRY JERMYN, ESQ. second son of Thomas Jermyn, esq. elder brother of Henry Jermyn, earl of St.
Alban's, was by king James II. by letters patent, in his
2d year, created Baron of Dover, but he dying s.p. in
1708, the title became extinct.
JAMES DOUGLAS, EARL OF QUEENSBURY, &c. in
Scotland, was by queen Anne, by letters patent, in her
7th year, 1708, created Duke of Dover, with other inferior English honours. He died in 1711, and was
succeeded in titles by his second but eldest surviving
son Charles, who had been created in 1747, Earl of
Solway, &c. in Scotland. He died in 1778, s.p. on
which this title of duke of Dover, with his other English titles, became extinct.
But the greatest honour to this town, was the birth
of that eminent and illustrious stateman the lord chancellor Philip York, earl of Hardwick, who was born at
Dover, of ancestors who had been settled here for
many generations; his father, Mr. Philip York, of
Dover, being bred to the profession of the law, died
there in 1721, possessed of property in Dover, and
other adjacent parishes. He lies in St. James's church
in this town, of which he was town-clerk; as does Simon Yorke his father, who died in 1682. The earl
was recorder of Dover, which office he condescended
to keep till his death in 1764, when he was succeeded
in it by his second son, the hon. Charles York, afterwards, in 1770, made lord chancellor, and created baron Morden, who died suddenly before his patent was
completed; and his third son, the right hon. Sir Joseph York, K. B. general in the army, ambassador extraordinary at the Hague, and a privy counsellor, was,
from respect to his father, for two successive parliaments chosen one of the barons in parliament for this
town and port.
In 1788 he was, by letters patent, created lord Dover, baron of Dover. He died in 1792, s.p. so that
this title then became extinct.
THE HONOUR OF PEVEREL, alias DE DOVER, was
so called from Jessery de Peverel, who had certain lands
given to him, for the defence of Dover castle, which
together made up the above barony, which was likewise
called De Dover, from its tenure to this castle. The
eminent family of De Dover flourished at Chilham,
from the time of the conquest to the reign of king
In the Heraldic Visitation of Kent, anno 1619, is the
pedigree of William Hart, of Dover, living that year,
the son of Ralph Hart, of Bristol.
Of the family of Warde, descended from Philip
Warde, of Dover, in the reign of king Henry VII.
whose grandson John was bailiss here in Henry VIII.'s
reign, and left a son William, mayor of Dover in 1613,
and lieutenant of Dover castle. They bore for their
arms, Vairy, argent and sable, granted by Lee, clarencieux.
Of Edward Kempe, of Dover, son and heir of Edward Kempe, mayor of Dover. His arms, Gules, a
sess, between three wheatsheaves, or, within a bordure
engrailed, of the field; granted by Segar, clarencieux,
Of Hannington, esq. Of Dover; arms, Argent, on a
chevron ingrailed, three trefoils slipt, ermine; between
three demi lions rampant, erased, vert.
IT HAD BEEN USUAL, before the Norman conquest,
for the archbishops to appoint a suffragan bishop, or
Chorepiscopus, as a co-adjutor and assistant to them, who
should be continually resident in his diocese, and should
perform in all things the offices of a bishop in the archbishop's absence, who for the most part attended the
king's court. His office was to confirm children; to
bless altars, chalices, vestments, &c. to suspend from
churches and places, and to restore to them again; to
consecrate new churches and altars; to conser all the
lesser orders; to consecrate the holy oil of chrism and
sacred unction; and to perform all other things belonging to the office of a bishop. (fn. 40) These bishops
usually bore the titles of foreign bishoprics, which were
merely nominal, and the several archbishops appointed
such suffragans, with foreing titles, down to archbishop
Warham, in king Henry VIII.'s reign, when John
Thornton, prior of St. Martin's, in Dover, seems to
have been made his suffragan, by the title of Episcopus
Sirimensis, as was Thomas Wellys, prior of St. Gregory's, by that of Episcopus Sidoniensis. (fn. 41) But an act passing
in the 26th year of king Henry VIII. for abrogating
these foreign titles of bishops, and enacting that they
should in future take them from particular towns in
this kingdom therein mentioned, one of which was
Dover; the suffragans to the archbishops were in future stiled bishops suffragan of Dover. The first of
Richard Yngworth, prior of Langley Regis, being
consecrated bishop of Dover, in 1537.
Richard Thornden, alias Stede, succeeded in 1539,
and died in the last year of queen Mary, anno 1558.
When queen Mary came to the crown, the above act
was repealed, and then the suffragan bishops assumed
foreign titles again; and on the death of Richard, bishop of Dover, above-mentioned,
Thomas Chetham was consecreated, by the title of
Episcopis Sidoniensis, and was suffragan to archbishop
Pole, in the last year of queen Mary's reign.
In queen Elizabeth's reign, the last-mentioned act
was repealed, and the former one of king Henry VIII.
was revived; and then
Richard Rogers, S. T. P. archdeacon of St. Asaph,
was in the 12th year of queen Elizabeth, consecrated
bishop of Dover, and was suffragan to archbishops Parker, Grindal, and Whitgist, successively. He was afterwards dean of Canterbury, and dying in 1597, was
the last bishop suffragan of Dover.
IT HAS BEEN ALREADY mentioned before, in the
account of the castle, that there was an antient church
or chapel, for the believing Romans within the walls
of it. In this church, Eadbald, the son and Successor
of Ethelbert, king of Kent, who during his father's
life-time had been entrusted with the government of
this castle, founded a college of six secular canons, and
a provost, whose habitations were undoubtedly built
near it; and he endowed them with as many prebends
for their maintenance; and here they continued till the
year 691, when Widred, king of Kent, having increased
the fortifications here, and finding the residence of the
canons within them an incumbrance, removed them
from thence into the town of Dover, to the church of
St. Martin, which he had built for their use; the ruins of which are still to be seen near the present marketplace; making up the number of canons twenty-two,
and endowed them with as many prebends, and with
the franchises and privileges, wholly the same as they
enjoyed in the castle; and he granted that they should
be subject to no prelate or ordinary, but to the king
only, this church being then, as well as afterwards,
esteemed the same as that in the castle had been before,
the king's royal chapel, and as such, subject to his peculiar jurisdication only. And it remained nearly in the
same state at the time of the conquest, excepting that
whereas in the reign of king Edward the Consessor,
the prebends belonging to it were in common, and
accounted worth sixty-one pounds in the whole, then
they were divided into single ones, by the bishop of
Baieux, as appears by the survey of Domesday, in
which the corps of the several canons, and their possessions, are particularly described, as they are again
under the several parishes in this history, in which their
Nothing occurs further after this, worthy of mention, relating to this priory, till the reign of Henry I.
son of the Conqueror, who being present at the new
dedication of the cathedral church of Canterbury, in
his 30th year, granted to archbishop Corboil, and the
church of Canterbury, this collegiate church of St.
Martin, placing in it canons regular, of the order of
St. Augustine, the abbot of which should be appointed
by the chapter, with the archbishop's confirmation of
the election; and that the church should be under the
protection of the archbishops. In consequence of this
grant, the archbishop, who had found the canons guilty
of great irregularities, turned out the remaining ones
in it, and to prevent the like in future, began next year
the foundation of a new church, without the walls of
the town, called from thence in future, the new work,
which he dedicated to St. Mary and St. Martin, intending to add every building necessary for the accommodation in it, of a society of these canons, but he died
before he had completed them, and Theobald his
next successor in the archbishopric presently after
finished the buildings of it; but instead of regular canons, he established in it a society of monks of the Benedictine order, sending for that purpose in 1139, anno
6 king Stephen, twelve monks from his own priory,
with Ascelin, sacrist of Christ-church, as prior over
them, making them subordinate to that priory, and
this being done by the archbishop, with the consent of
the chapter of his metropolitical church, (to whom it
was a special act of grace) was never more opposed,
but was confirmed by papal bulls; so that it afterwards
remained, notwithstanding the dissentions that happened
between them, concering their respective jurisdictions, without interruption, a cell to the priory of
Christ-church. After this king Henry II. Henry III.
and king Edward II. confirmed this church to the
archbishop in perpectual alms. (fn. 42) Notwithstanding all
which, there still arose continual disputes between the
two priories, concerning their respective jurisdictions
and privileges; to prevent which, in future, in king
Edward the IIId.'s reign, the archbishop himself interfered, and at his request, the king, in his 30th year,
granted licence to him to annex and unite this priory,
under pretence of its want of good government, to
the priory of Christ-church, to hold it so annexed and
united, and thence have power to dispose of it for ever,
without any hindrance, with a non obstante to the statute
of Mortmain; but that nevertheless divine worship,
and other works of piety of old, established and ordained in it, should be encouraged and duly kept up;
but at the same time they continued as two separate
houses as to their revenues and the expenditure of them,
the priory of Christ church remaining only as patrons
and visitors, having the regulation and superintendance
of that of St. Martin, and supplying it as a cell to their
house from time to time with a prior and other members from their own priory. During the above period,
viz anno 23 king Edward I, the French landed, and
burnt the greatest part of this town, and among the
rest of the religious houses in it, this priory, killing the
senior monks in it. (fn. 43) After which, I find, that king
Edward the IId. lodged in it in his first year, being on
his way to foreign parts, his chancellor lodging at the
Maison Dieu. After which it remained without further
controversy, till its final suppression on Nov. 16, in the
27th year of Henry VIII. when by the management of the
king's commissioners, sent for that purpose, it was,
with all its lands, revenues, and possessions, voluntarily
surrendered into the king's hands, (fn. 44) who, next year,
granted to the prior a yearly annuity of twenty pounds
sterling, during his life, or until he should be promoted
to one or more benefices, of the same value or upwards; at which time of its suppression, the revenues
of it were valued at 170l. 14s. 11½d. clear, or 232l.
1s. 5½d. annual gross income.
John Lambart, alias Folkestone, was the last prior
who surrendered this convent as above-mentioned. (fn. 45)
The impression on their seal was the history of St.
Martin, who, according to the legend of that saint,
met on a time, at the gate of the city of Amiens, in
France, as he was riding to or out of it, a poor naked
man; and St. Martin having nothing about him, but
his cloak, for he had before bestowed the rest of his
cloaths to the like uses, he cut off one half of that with
his sword, and gave it to the poor naked man.
In the church of this priory were buried many persons, inhabitants of this town, as appears by their wills
in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury.
It appears that the buildings of this priory were in a
state of reparation in king Richard III.'s reign; for
that king granted to the prior one hundred pounds towards the building of it. The arms of this priory were,
Sable, a cross, argent, between four leopards faces, or.
After the suppression, the king, in his 29th year,
granted, among other premises, the scite of the priory,
with all the lands and possessions belonging to it, to
archbishop Cranmer, subject nevertheless to sundry exceptions and payments. Since which, the scite of it,
with sundry of the demesne lands adjoining to it, have
remained parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury to the present time, and they have been demised
by the several archbishops, on a beneficial lease, the
present lessee of it being David Papillon, esq. late of
The remains of this priory are now converted into
a farm-house, barn, and other buildings of a farmyard. The ruins are greatly blended with the buildings, which have been added since the suppression of it.
They are very extensive, exclusive of the exterior walls.
There are remaining a good gateway; a noble room,
probably the hall, which is upwards of one hundred
feet long, now made use of as the barn; great part of
the church, with the pillars, and two arches; and there
are many other pieces of ruins scattered about, the uses
of which, or what they were designed for, cannot now
even be guessed at.
BUT THE LARGE AND EXTENSIVE MANOR OF DOVER
PRIORY being part likewise of those possessions belonging to it, which were granted by Henry VIII. to
archbishop Cranmer, as before-mentioned, was demised
by him, together with the royalty and manerial rights
of Frith, Guston, Court Ash, Dudmanscombe, and
Brandred, the small tithes of Guston, and the three
fairs, on a beneficial lease; in which manner they have
continued to be held ever since, the present interest in
the lease being vested in Henry Farbrace, of Ashford,
and Isaac Mushey Teal, gents. the trustees for the two
minor children of Mr. George Farbrace, deceased.
A court leet and court baron is held for the manor
of Dover priory, at the priory-house; at the court of
which, borsholders are chosen for the boroughs of
Buckland, Guston, Hougham, St. Margaret's, and for
Nareton, which is a peculiar jurisdiction in the parish
The above-mentioned fairs are certainly the three
ecclesiastical fairs of St. Martin, St. Bartholomew, and
St. Margaret, and by their grant they probably had a
right to stallage and picage, which was money paid for
breaking the ground, and erecting any standing in a
privileged place. The fairs of St. Bartholomew and
St. Margaret have long been neglected, and no advantage made of stallage and picage; but the corporation
of Dover claim a right to demand them, under a grant
of the market-place, from one of the family of Hugessen, of Stodmarsh.
HUBERT DE BURSH, earl of Kent, and chief justice
of England, the most eminent subject of his time, in
the beginning of king Henry III.'s reign, founded AN
HOSPITAL in this town, usually called the Maison Dieu;
the church of which he dedicated to St. Mary, for the
maintenance of a master, and several brothers and sisters, and of such poor pilgrims as should resort thither.
The patronage of which he afterwards gave to that
king, who was upon that reputed the second founder;
and being present at the dedication of the church, gave
and confirmed, at that time, as well as afterwards, several manors, possessions, and churches, to it; all
which were confirmed by letters of inspeximus by king
Henry VI. in his 2d year. (fn. 46)
At this hospital, during those times when the kings
of England, with their great officers of state, staid frequently in Dover, in their way to and from France, the
king's chancellor and his suite usually took up their
abode, as the king himself did elsewhere.
After which I find nothing further worth relating of
it till the 36th year of king Henry VIII. when this
hospital was suppressed; at which time, its revenues
were valued at 159l. 18s. 6d. clear value, or 231l.
16s. 7d. gross annual income. And the king granted
to John Thompson, clerk, the master of it, a yearly
pension of 53l. 6s. 8d. sterling, as a proper support
for his life, or until he should be promoted to a benefice or promotion of equal value.
After the suppression of this hospital the king retained the scite of it, with its appurtenances, in his own
hands, as a victualling office, for the use of the royal
navy, and queen Elizabeth, in her first year, established
it more firmly for that purpose; and it remains at this
time in the hands of the crown, for the same use, under
the direction of an agent-victualler, clerk of the cheque,
storekeeper, and other inferior officers.
There was a view of this hospital engraved by Buck
in 1734, which represents it a far more elegant work
than it is now, or indeed seems ever to have been in its
There was once a small chapel, called the chapel of
our Lady of Pity, and sometimes the chapel of our Lady
of Arcliffe, from its situation on the chalk cliff, near to
the present fort of Arcliffe; being built by a northern
nobleman, who had escaped the danger of shipwreck
here. On the suppression of it, with others of the like
sort, in the reign of king Henry VIII. it was stripped
of all its ornaments. and became desolated, and has
been long since entirely gone to ruin; but the place
near where it stood is still called Old Chapel, and Chapel Plain. At the suppression of it, the vestments and
utensils belonging to this chapel were valued at two
hundred marcs, some being of cloth of gold, and others
very richly embroidered. Over the stairs of it was
carved a large rose and crown, in stone, with the date
MDXXX; and over the door the arms of England
The hospital of St. Bartholomew, near Dover, was
situated in the adjoining parish of Buckland, where an
account of it has been already given.
Lambarde, Kilburne, and some other writers, mention a house of knights templars, supposed to have
been in this town; and that it was here that king John
resigned his crown to Pandulph, the pope's legate, in
1213; but there is no record, nor a trace of any such
house of that order having been here.
There are Several Charities.vested in the Corporation of Dover.
THERE was an alms-house of antient time in this town, as appears by a legacy, left in 1552, to rebuild it, which was not till
the year 1611, when it was rebuilt, as at present, near the Market-place. It was intended for the relief of poor soldiers landing from abroad, and destitute of lodging and support, who are
there relieved, lodged, and sent forward to their respective places
of abode. This house is under the management of a master and
two wardens, chosen annually out of the common-councilmen,
on the first Monday after the 8th day of September. The mayor
for the time being, is generally elected master.
This house, standing near the Market-place, is known by
the name of the Alms-house, but when, or by whom founded,
no one can tell. The antient house was situated in Bench-street,
and near St. Nicholas's church, and was intended, as abovementioned, for the relief and reception of soldiers and sailors.
This house, with the consent of the mayor, jurats, and commonaity, was exchanged for another in King's-street, (now called
Queen's-street) in Nicholas, ward, with Oliver Lygo, in 1522.
This house, or another built on the scite of it, is still remaining,
but the original design is almost lost sight of, as there is but very
seldom any poor soldier or sailor ever admitted into it.
THOMAS BADCOCK, of Dover, by will in 1616, gave 10l.
towards the maintenance of this then new-built alms-house, and
the relief of the poor there.
THOMAS ELLWOOD, gent. of Dover, by will in 1612, gave
14l. to the master and wardens of this alms-house, towards the
maintenance of it, and one piece of land, on which sometime
stood a house. The present yearly income of this house is
THOMAS ANDREWS, by will in 1597, gave a house, now of
the annual rent of 20s. for the use of the poor of the alms-house
in this town; now vested in the master and wardens of it.
RICHARD TOMS, by deed in 1599, and GEORGE BUZY, by
deed in 1603, conveyed lands, now of the annual produce of
5l. 1s. for the like use; which are vested in like manner.
THOMAS BRICE, and others, by deed in 1677, conveyed
lands, now of the annual value of 12s. to the mayor and jurats,
to the use of those persons who should at any time be visited with
the plague in this town.
THOMAS PAPILLON, by will in 1701, gave land to the mayor
and jurats, now of the annual produce of 14l. 8s. for the use of
Certain persons unknown, as well as the time of their benefactions, gave to the poor of the alms-house, lands, to the yearly
amount of 18l. 8s. — others, to the amount of 16l. 5s. — a house
and land, of the value of 15s. — and four tenements, of 4l. value;
which several premises are all vested in the master and wardens
of the house, excepting the latter, which are vested in the mayor
and jurats of Dover.
MR. HUGESSEN, who gave the Market-place to the Corporation, is supposed to have ordered the sum of 3l. yearly, to be
paid out of the rents, for the benefit of six poor widows, each
of whom to be paid 10s. yearly.
The Charities to St. Mary's parish
ARE AS FOLLOWS:
THOMAS PEPPER, jurat, of Dover, by will in 1574, gave to
the use of the poor within the parishes of our Lady of Dover,
and Hougham, yearly, one annuity of 40s. to be distributed
equally between the poor of those parishes, by the churchwardens yearly, issuing out of his manor of Syberston, in Hougham,
and the lands and tenements belonging to it, with power of
THOMAS ELLWOOD, by will in 1604, gave an annuity of
20s. to be paid from an house, and to be distributed to the poor
of St. Mary's parish, in bread, on Christmas eve, which is vested
in the churchwardens.
THOMAS CHELLICE, by will in 1613, gave an annuity of
10s. to be paid from an house, and to be distributed to the poor
of the above parish, in bread, at Christmas; which is vested in
JOHN HEWSON, by will in 1692 gave 20l. the interest to be
yearly given to poor widows of this parish; which interest,
amounting to the sum of 20s. per annum, is vested in the parishioners.
THOMAS WHITE, by will in 1669, gave an annuity of 2l.
issuing out of a house, to be yearly given to four poor windows of
this parish; which sum is vested in the churchwardens.
NICHOLAS CULLEN, by will in 1696, gave a house and land,
the yearly income to be distributed every Sunday evening, to 20
poor widows of this parish. This is now of the yearly value of
13l. and is distributed as above, 3d. to each widow; and he
likewise gave another small cottage, the rent of it to be distributed in bread; but a poor widow now lives in it rent-free.—Which premises are vested in the churchwardens and overseers.
WILLIAM RICHARDS, by will in 1701, gave an annuity of
5l. per annum, issuing out of land, to be given in bread, on
certain days therein mentioned, in equal portions; which is vested
in the churchwardens and overseers.
ANN JELL, by will in 1719, gave an annuity of 40s. issuing
out of a house, the produce of it to be distributed to eight poor
widows of this parish, not receiving alms; which money is
vested in the churchwardens.
ANTHONY CHURCH, by will in 1709, gave the sum of 20l.
the annual produce of which is 20s. to be distributed yearly to
the poor, in bread, on Christmas Eve; which money is vested
in the parishioners.
ANNE BOOTH and MARK WILLS, by their wills, supposed
to be about the year 1724, gave lands, of the yearly value of
7l. 10s. to be distributed to six poor widows of this parish;
which premises are vested in Mess. Fector, Gunman, and others.
JOHN DEKEWER, by will in 1760, gave the sum of 500l.
which is now of the annual produce of 14l. 1s. 4d. to be distributed yearly to the poor of this parish; which money is
vested in the minister and churchwardens.
SUSANNAH HAMMOND, by will in 1769, gave the sum of
60l. the annual produce of which is 2l. 8s. to be distributed to
the poor, in bread; which money is now vested in Mess. Russell,
Teale, and Farbrace.
THOMAS KNOTT, by will in 1777, gave an annuity of 20s.
issuing from an house, to be distributed to 40 poor widows on
St. Thomas's day; which sum is vested in the minister of this
ELIZABETH ROALFE, by will in 1777, gave 400l. in the
3 per cent. consol. annuities, now of the annual produce of 12l.
to be distributed to ten poor families, who do not receive constant assistance from the parish; which money is vested in six
trustees, inhabitants of this parish.
PHILIP PAPILLON, by deed in 1742, gave land, now of
the annual produce of 17l. to be distributed to poor widows
every Sunday in the year; which sum is vested in two of the
jurats of this town and port.
GEORGE BING, gent. Mayor of Dover, by will in 1604,
gave to the churchwardens and overseers of St. Mary's parish,
for the use of the poor one annuity of 20s. to be paid out of
his house in the town, wherein he then dwelt, to the churchwardens and overseers, upon Christmas-day, for ever, to be on
that day distributed to the poorest people of the parish, with
power of distress, &c.
JACOB WINDSOR, gent. of Dover, by will in 1669, gave his
eight tenements, in the new buildings in Dover, to eight poor
aged people, of this parish, for their habitations, or to be
otherwise rented out by the Mayor and Jurats, and the rents to
be disposed to the poor; but these tenements having been suffered to fall to ruin, are lost to the poor for ever. And he further gave the sum of 24s. yearly, to be laid out in bread, to be
given among the poor of the parish, by the churchwardens, at
the door of the church, on Christmas Eve, with power of distress, &c.
The Charities to the poor of Dover in general are
JOHN CLEMENT, of Dover, by will in 1575, ordered, that
there should be yearly given, by the possessors of his house in
Mankyn-ward, in St. James's parish, one hundred faggots, to
be distributed to the poor where most need be, out of the said
house for ever.
CHRISTOPHER NETHERSOLE, gent. of Dover, by will in
1597, gave 20l. to the use of the poor of the town and port of
Dover, to be bestowed upon land, at the discretion of the
mayor, jurats, and common-council, to the use of the poor for
In the year 1726, a common work-house was built and established
in this town, for the general use of the poor within it.
THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of
its own name.
There were formerly in this town six parochial
churches, with six distinct parishes; four of which,
St. Nicholas's, St. John's, St. Peter's, and St. Martin's-le-Grand, have been long since ruinated, and their
parishes united to those of St. Mary and St. James,
the only two remaining churches; the two parishes of
which now comprehend the whole town of Dover.
Leland says, of the six parish churches here, "three
of them were under one roof at St. Martin's, in the
heart of the town." These must be meant for those
of St. John, St. Nicholas, and St. Peter; but though
these churches might be subordinate to the collegiate
church of St. Martin, as the mother church, and of the
patronage of the college in it, yet their ruins, situated
in different parts of the town, and still remaining, shew
them to have been separate buildings, as may be seen
below in the description of them. Indeed, it appears,
by the record of Domesday, that three churches in
Dover paid an annual rent to the canons of St. Martin's church; for it is there entered under the title of
their possessions, thus; Three churches at Dover pay
thirty-six shillings and eight-pence, viz. to the above
church of St. Martin. Of all these several churches,
THE CHURCH OF ST. MARTIN-LE-GRAND was the
most antient in this town. It stood on the west side of
the present market-place, where formerly the cemetery of it was. It was built by Widred, king of Kent,
in the year 691, for the canons, which he then removed
out of the castle; and it remained collegiate till king
Henry I. in his 30th year, anno 1130, gave it, with
all its possessions, to archbishop Corboil and the church
of Canterbury; but the archbishop finding the canons
guilty of great irregularity and misbehaviour, which he
found had increased from their intercourse and situation
within such a populous town, turned them out, intending to build another church and college further off
from the town, and this new foundation afterwards became the priory of St. Martin, an account of which has
already been given before. On the displacing of these
canons from hence, this church became parochial, and
in distinction from that of the priory, which was called
St. Martin the Less, alias the New Work, obtained
the name of St. Martin-le-Grand. On the suppression
of the college within it, this church lost all its antient
privileges, excepting that of being exempt from the
jurisdiction of the archdeacon. It remained a parish
church till after the year 1528, anno 20 Henry VIII.
for it is mentioned as such in a will proved that year.
Most probably it was soon afterwards desecrated, and
the parish was united to one or both of the present
churches in the 28th year of that reign, when it was
pulled down. Of the ruins of this church there is only
a square tower remaining. The building, as Dr.
Stukely thinks, seems to have terminated in three semicircles. Mrs. Christian Solly now pays a yearly seefarm rent for St. Martin's church-yard. She has several houses standing on the scite of the church, and
claims the right of herbage in the church-yard, but
the right of interment has continued in the inhabitants;
and in it not only strangers, but many inhabitants of
the town, are buried. It is usually called the Old
Church-yard. In it lie buried the remains of the celebrated Charles Churchill, the poet, who died in 1764,
with a small stone at his grave.
THE CHURCH OF ST. NICHOLAS stood in the middle of Bench-street, on the north-east side of it. The
tower, the antient porch, and part of the walls are remaining. It was a small building, consisting of one
isle, a chancel, and a tower at the west end, with a cemetery adjoining. It is now made use of as a stable.
Several houses are built on part of the scite of this
church and its cemetery, in which great numbers of
human bones have been dug up. Mr. Ashdowne, the
Baptist teacher's parlour is in the tower, with other
apartments over it, and the crypt of the church is now
used as cellars for the houses. It seems to have been
desecrated at the time of the reformation; and in the
28th year of king Henry VIII.'s reign, great part of
it was demolished.
THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN seems to have been of
a much more considerable account and size, than that
last-mentioned. It stood at the upper end of Bigginstreet, at the entrance in this town, from Canterbury.
If we may judge from the will of Mr. John Bingham, of this parish, in 1513, in which he mentions
many lamps continually burning in it, and large waxen
tapers, the church must have been large, and the having an undercrost, shews it to have been a building of
some handsomeness of architecture. It was descrated
with the others, about the time of the reformation,
and pulled down about the same time in the 28th year
of king Henry VIII.'s reign. The parish seems to
have been but small.
THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER stood on the north
side of the present market-place. It was a rectory, in
the patronage of the crown, and was valued in the
king's books at 3l. 16s. 10d. It is now ecclesia destructa; but when it became so, I know not, only that
it seems to have been in use in the year 1611, anno 10
James I. and that the parish of it was united to that of
St. Mary; the churchwardens of which parish now pay
a yearly fee-farm rent for a tenement, still called St.
Peter's church, or chantry. It formerly paid tenths to
the crown-receiver, but being certified to be of the
yearly value of twenty four pounds only, it is now discharged from the payment of first fruits and tenths.
In the charge of tenths, payable to the crown-receiver,
it is put down at the value of four pounds; tenths
eight shillings. There was a cemetery adjoining to it.
The election of mayor used antiently to be in this
church, and continued so till it was removed, in 1583,
to the church of St. Mary.
THE CHURCH OF ST. Mary stands at some distance from the entrance into this town from Canterbury, near the market-place. It is said to have been
built by the prior and convent of St. Martin, (fn. 47) in the
year 1216; but from what authority, I know not.—Certain it is, that it was in king John's reign, in the
gift of the king, and was afterwards given by him to
John de Burgh; but in the 8th year of Richard II.'s
reign, anno 1384, it was become appropriated to the
abbot of Pontiniac. After which, by what means, I
cannot discover, this appropriation, as well as the advowson of the church, came into the possession of the
master and brethren of the hospital of the Maison Dieu,
who took care that the church should be daily served
by a priest, who should officiate in it for the benefit of
the parish. In which state it continued till the suppression of the hospital, in the 36th year of king
Henry VIII.'s reign, when it came into the hands of
the crown, at which time the parsonage was returned
by John Thompson, master of the hospital, to be worth
six pounds per annum.
Two years after which, the king being at Dover,
at the humble entreaty of the inhabitants of this parish,
gave to them, as it is said, this church, with the cemetery adjoining to it, to be used by them as a parochial church; at the same time he gave the pews of
St. Martin's church for the use of it; and on the king's
departure, in token of possession, they sealed up the
church doors; since which, the patronage of it, which
is now esteemed as a perpetual curacy, the minister of
it being licensed by the archbishop, has been vested in
the inhabitants of this parish. Every parishioner, paying scot and lot, having a vote in the chusing of the
minister, whose maintenance had been from time to
time, at their voluntary option, more or less. It is
now fixed at eighty pounds per annum. Besides which
he has the possession of a good house, where he resides,
which was purchased by the inhabitants in 1754, for the
perpetual use of the minister of it. It is exempt from
the jurisdiction of the archdeacon. (fn. 48)
There is a piece of ground belonging, as it is said,
to the glebe of this church, rented annually at ten
pounds, which is done by vestry, without the minister
being at all concerned in it. In 1588 here were eight
hundred and twenty-one communicants. This parish
contains more than five parts out of six of the whole
town, and a greater proportion of the inhabitants.
The church of St. Mary is a large handsome building of three isles, having a high and south chancel, all
covered with lead, and built of flints, with ashler windows and door cases, which are arched and ornamented.
At the west end is the steeple, which is a spire covered
with lead, in which are eight bells, a clock, and
chimes. The pillars in the church are large and clumsy; the arches low and semicircular in the body, but
eliptical in the chancel; but there is no separation between the body and chancel, and the pews are continued on to the east end of the church. In the high
chancel, at the eastern extremity of it, beyond the altar, are the seats for the mayor and jurats; and here
the mayor is now chosen, and the barons in parliament
for this town and port constantly elected.
In 1683, there was a faculty granted to the churchwardens, to remove the magistrates seats from the east
end of the church to the north side, or any other more
convenient part of it, and for the more decent and
commodious placing the communion table: in consequence of which, these seats were removed, and so
placed, but they continued there no longer than 1689,
when, by several orders of vestry, they were removed
back again to where they remain at present.
The mayor was antiently chosen in St. Peter's
church; but by a bye-law of the corporation, it was
removed to this church in 1583, where it has ever
since been held. In 1706, another bye law was made,
to remove, for the sake of decency, all elections from
this church to the court-hall, but it never took place.
More of which has been mentioned before.
From the largeness, as well as the populousness of
this parish, the church is far from being sufficient to
contain the inhabitants who resort to it for public worship, notwithstanding there are four galleries in it, and
it is otherwise well pewed. This church was paved in
1642, but it was not ceiled till 1706. In 1742, there
was an organ erected in it. The two branches in it
were given, one by subscription in 1738, and the other
by the pilots in 1742.
Thomas Toke, of Dover, buried in the chapel of
St. Katharine, in this church, by his will in 1484, gave
seven acres of land at Dugate, under Windlass-down,
to the wardens of this church, towards the repairs of it
The monuments and memorials in this church and
church yard, are by far too numerous to mention here.
Among them are the following: A small monument
in the church for the celebrated Charles Churchill,
who was buried in the old church-yard of St. Martin
in this town, as has been noticed before; and a small
stone, with a memorial for Samuel Foote, esq. the celebrated comedian, who died at the Ship inn, and had a
grave dug for him in this church, but was afterwards
carried to London, and buried there. A monument
and several memorials for the family of Eaton; arms,
Or, a sret, azure. A small tablet for John Ker, laird
of Frogden, in Twit dale, in Scotland, who died suddenly at Dover, in his way to France, in 1730. Two
monuments for Farbrace, arms, Azure, a bend, or, between two roses, argent, seeded, or, bearded vert. A
monument in the middle isle, to the memory of the
Minet family. In the north isle are several memorials
for the Gunmans, of Dover; arms,. … a spread eagle,
argent, gorged with a ducal coronet, or. There are
others, to the memory of Broadley, Rouse, and others,
of good account in this town.
Church of St. Mary.
|PATRONS,||MINISTERS OR CURATES.|
|Or by whom presented.|
|Samuel Hinde, S. T. P. August
|John Lodowick, June 18, 1671,
|John Macquean, A. M. Jan. 29,
1998, dismissed 1729.|
|William Nairn, A. M. Jan. 24,
|William Byrch, A. M. Dec. 19,
1731, obt. 1756. (fn. 49) |
|Thomas Edwards, A. M. 1756,
obt. July 1772. (fn. 50) |
|John Lyon, A. M. in 1772, the
present curate. (fn. 51) |
THE CHURCH OF ST. JAMES is situated in the
north-east part of this town, near the foot of the Castlehill, close to the road to Deal. It was antiently belonging to the castle of Dover; and in it the courts of
chancery and admiralty, and lode manage, for the cinque
ports have been usually holden. Kilburne, in his Survey, calls it St. James the Apostley, alias St. James of
Warden-Doune. Leland, in his Itinerary, says, it was
called St. James of Radby, or more likely Rodeby, a
statione navium. The church has a square tower at the
west end, having a ring of five bells in it. It is exempt
from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon.
It is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 4l. 17s. 6d.
but is now a discharged living of the clear yearly certified value of twenty-four pounds. It is in the patronage of his grace the archbishop of Canterbury. It
formerly paid tenths to the crown-receiver, but being
certified to be of the yearly value of twenty-four
pounds. is now discharged from the payment of firstfruits and tenths. (fn. 52)
Archbishop Tenison, in his life-time, augmented
this rectory with two hundred pounds, and confirmed
that gift by his will, in 1715; but upon condition that
the governors of queen Anne's bounty should augment
it with a like sum of two hundred pounds, which they
accordingly did, as a perpetual augmentation to it.
Upon a flat stone, in this church, there is a memorial for Simon Yorke, obt. 1682; one for Philip
Yorke, town clerk, (his son), and father to the chancellor, obt. 1721; he married Elizabeth, daughter of
Richard Gibbon. A small monument in the chancel
for the Hodgsons, lessees of the manor of Dover priory;
arms, Parted per chevron, embattled, or, and azure,
three martlets. And in the same chancel, a monument
for Henry Matson, merchant, who gave Solton farm
to Dover harbour, and died in 1722. This church is
kept very neat, and is well paved.
THOMAS BEAN, jurat, by will in 1764, devised to the mayor
and jurats in trust, 222l. South-sea annuities, the interest to be
applied to repairing the tomb of Jane Byron and Clement Buck,
and the remainder to be given by the minister and churwardens
in bread, to the poor of this parish, on the first Sunday in January, the first Sunday in February, and the first Sunday in
THOMAS DAWKES, of Dover, shipwright, by will in 1705,
gave to the mayor and jurats 50l. to be by them constantly kept
out at interest, the profits to be yearly laid out in bread, to be
distributed among the poor of this parish, by the churchwardens
and overseers, on St. Thomas's day.
Church of St. James.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Archbishop of Canterbury.||Thomas Swadlin, S. T. P. ind.
1662, resigned 1664. (fn. 53) |
|Robert Bostock, A. M. 1765, resigned 1675.|
|William Brewer, S. T. B. April
21, 1676, obt. 1700. (fn. 54) |
|Michael Bull, resigned 1703.|
|Edward Hobbes, obt. August 3,
|Thomas Tournay, A. M. 1775,
obt. 1795. (fn. 55) |
|William Tournay, A. M. 1795,
the present rector. (fn. 56) |