The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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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 by day.
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.
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 the regent.
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 particular offices.
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 wretchedness.
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.
GODWYNE, earl of Kent, was appointed governor in the reign of king Edward the Confessor. (fn. 11)
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)
Sir Stephen de Penchester was again made both constable and warden. (fn. 15)
Bartholomew de Burghersh, son of Robert beforementioned, was both constable and warden. (fn. 16)
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
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)
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 times.
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 open shore.
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 castle stands.
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 the sea.
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 and ruin.
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 proceedings.
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 by tale.
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.
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.
"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)
Cougate Crosse-gate Bocheruy-gate stoode with toures toward the se. There is beside Beting-gate and Westegate.
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.
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 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 hereafter.
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.
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.
|IN THE TIME OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.|
|Years of the Reign, &c.||Names of the Barons in Parliament.|
|1st. At Westminster.||Thomas Warren, John Robins.|
|5th.—||John Robins, Thomas Warren.|
Thomas Andrews, esq.
John Pinchney, esq.
Tho. Andrews, esq. mayor.
Thomas Warren, gent.
Richard Barry, esq.
John More, gent.
John More, gent.
Richard Barry, esq.
Thomas Fane, esq.
Edward Stephens, esq. mayor.
Thomas Fane, esq.
Thomas Elliwood, esq. mayor.
Thomas Fane, esq.
Wm. Lennard, esq. mayor.
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, 1679.||William Stokes, 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.|
Sir Basil Dixwell, bart.
Thomas Papillon, esq.
|2d. — 1690.||Thomas Papillon, James Chadwick, esqrs.|
|IN THE TIME OF KING WILLIAM III.|
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.|
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 98,000 persons.
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 Jerusalem.
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)
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.
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 Henry III.
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, in 1615.
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 them was,
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 lands lay.
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.
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 Acrise.
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 of Sibertswold.
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 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 impaling France.
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 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 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 about 30l.
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.
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
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 distress, &c.
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 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.
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.
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 ever.
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 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 for ever.
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 31, 1662.|
|John Lodowick, June 18, 1671, resigned 1698.|
|John Macquean, A. M. Jan. 29, 1998, dismissed 1729.|
|William Nairn, A. M. Jan. 24, 1729.|
|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 March, yearly.
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, 1762.|
|Thomas Tournay, A. M. 1775, obt. 1795. (fn. 55)|
|William Tournay, A. M. 1795, the present rector. (fn. 56)|