insideKENT Magazine Issue 63 - June 2017 - Page 39

TOWNSPOTLIGHT Spotlight on DOVER IMAGES © DOVER DISTRICT COUNCIL Dover is more than a castle, although the castle is magnificent. It’s more than sole, although it has a lot of soul. IT’S MORE THAN WHITE CLIFFS, ALTHOUGH ITS HISTORY IS A RATHER IMPRESSIVE ONE… DOVER IS MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS, A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO LIVE THAT IS PART OF KENT’S MARITIME AND WARTIME HISTORY AND THAT IS THERE TO REMIND US JUST HOW LOVELY A COUNTY WE ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO LIVE IN. BY LISAMARIE LAMB HISTORY IN BRIEF Known as the ‘lock and key of England’ Dover has always held a strong position when it came to fighting off invaders, and did so right up until the end of the Second World War. It was one of the famous Cinque Ports, a group of towns grouped together for defence purposes in 1050. Although there is evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements in the area in and around Dover, the place was really put on the map (literally) when the Romans came to Britain. They used the port of Dover (Portus Dubris as they called it) as the base for their navy, understanding at once just what a protected yet strategically useful spot it was. When the Romans left, the Jutes moved in, and then the Anglo Saxons. Each different group of people added to the importance of Dover so that by the time King William I created the Domesday Book in 1086, Dover was the most important place in Kent; and was the first mentioned in the Kent section of the book. Dover’s defences weren’t always successful, however, and in 1295 most of the town was set on fire by an invading French force. By the time the Tudor period arrived, Henry VIII ensured that improvements were made, and that included strengthening the castle itself. Elizabeth I finished the work her father started. During the 1800s, the population of Dover increased by around 600 percent. This was partly due to the port, partly about fishing and the jobs available and partly because Dover was becoming a fashionable seaside town. 39