insideKENT Magazine Issue 49 - April 2016 - Page 101

TOWNSPOTLIGHT SPOTLIGHT ON Deal Deal is one of Kent’s finest hidden gems, tucked away between Dover and Ramsgate. But it would be a pity to pass it by on your way to the larger towns on the coast of Kent; Deal is a beautiful spot that requires some time set aside to really explore and enjoy it. With its glorious range of independent shops, weekly markets, pier, castles, impressive architecture, and museums – all walkable and all worth walking to – Deal is a quiet place with a lot going on. BY LISAMARIE LAMB Deal Pier at Sunrise history in brief The first known mention of Deal (as Addelam) is from 1086, where it can be found in the Domesday Book. Its name changed to Dela by 1158 and it is thought that the name itself comes from the Old English ‘dael’ which means valley, or dale; this seems to be borne out by the fact that by 1275 the village was known as Dale. How this became Deal we don’t know for sure, but it could have been as simple as a document being transcribed incorrectly, and the new name sticking. Deal was a small fishing village until Henry VIII realised just how important and useful its position on the Kent coast really was. He built Deal Castle (as well as Walmer and Sandown nearby) in around 1540 in order to protect the coast against a naval attack, which had been threatening for some time. It was then that Deal became one of the limbs of the famous Cinque Ports, and began to grow not only in stature, but in popularity as a place to live and work. A naval yard was established in the town (the village had grown enough to call itself that) in 1672, which meant that boat repairs and storage could take place in Deal – thus proving it to be invaluable once again. Deal almost lost it all in 1784 when William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister at the time, declared that, due to the influence and growing number of smugglers in and around the town, the boats should be set on fire. Undaunted, the Deal 101 boatmen started afresh, and in fact were the perfect messengers during the Napoleonic Wars since news from France would get to them first, and they could quickly