Fordwich Town Hall
Fordwich shown within Kent
|Area||1.81 km2 (0.70 sq mi)|
|Population||381 (civil parish)|
|– density||210/km2 (540/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||65.8 miles|
|District||City of Canterbury|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Although many miles inland, it was the main port for Canterbury, which traded directly with London and Channel ports and indirectly with the near Continent, before the Wantsum Channel silted up making the Isle of Thanet part of mainland England.
The town grew in the Middle Ages as a port for boats on their way upriver to Canterbury. All of the Caen stone used by the Normans to rebuild Canterbury Cathedral in the 12th and 13th centuries was landed at Fordwich. It later became a limb of the Cinque Ports. It lost its status as a town in 1880 when it no longer had a Mayor and Corporation. However, in a reorganisation in 1972, Fordwich was again made a town as much as anything because of its prior importance in what is now a rather sleepy corner of Kent. Fordwich Town Hall, supposedly the smallest in England, dates from the earlier period, having been rebuilt in 1555.
The ancient Church of St Mary the Virgin, now redundant but open to the public, and in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, contains part of a carved sarcophagus reputed to have contained the remains of St Augustine of Canterbury. The 16th-century building next the Town Hall, now known as Watergate House, was the family home of John and Gregory Blaxland, early 19th-century pioneers of Australia.
Culture and community
There are two pubs in the town, the George & Dragon and Fordwich Arms. Fordwich gained angling and fishing repute (from Izaak Walton) for its 'Fordwich trout', one of the largest types found. Fordwich has also been the subject for a series of children's books by author F.J. Beerling. Inspired by the beautiful Kentish countryside and against the backdrop of the river Stour, Ms beerling fell in love with the olde-worlde charm that Fordwich has to offer, along with the even older charm of the Fordwich Town Hall building itself.
- Manningtree in Essex, the other claimant for smallest town in England, with 700 people in 20 hectares
- Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, another claimant for smallest town in Britain, has a population of 601
Notes and references
- Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
- Matthews, Peter (1992), The Guinness Book of Records, 1993, Guinness World Records Limited, ISBN 978-0-85112-978-5
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fordwich.|
- The Official Website of Fordwich Town Council, information and history about Fordwich, local organisations and links