"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on March 9, 2017 by Sioux under General
2 Comments

 

From the castle, we walked down the hill to the old St James’ Church known as “Dover’s tidy ruin” which stands at the end of St James’ Street, at the foot of Castle Hill.  It did not exist at the Conquest, but evidence shows it was built before 1291 so may be ascribed to the Norman period, which is the style of its architecture. Some restoration work is documented to have been carried out in 1869. This ancient house of religion was destroyed during World War II and is now a memorial to the people of Dover “who suffered between 1939 and 1945”.       

We stopped in at The White Horse Inn to quench our thirsts. The inn dates from 1365, making it one of Dover’s oldest residences. It was built during the reign of Edward III as a dwelling for the Churchwarden of St James Church, the ruins of which are over the road.  With the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, the church gave up the house. In 1574 it became home to Dover’s “ale taster” and for the next 55 years was the home of successive post holders whose duties included checking on the quality of ale and on unlawful measures.

 

The “ale taster” also had the responsibility of reporting anyone who kept a disorderly house. In 1635 a Nicholas Ramsey was granted permission to call the premises City of Edinburgh, after an American ship that sank in the Dover Straits. In 1652 he was granted a licence to sell ales and cider from premises adjoining St James Church. Old papers show a line of successive owners and in the 18th century the City of Edinburgh became the meeting place of actors and players of the Dover Theatre. Alterations to the pub in 1952 uncovered a Dover Theatre programme dated 1809 advertising Harlequin and Mother Goose; this programme is still displayed in the pub today. 

 

In 1818 the name of the inn was changed to The White Horse and it was about this time that inquests were held there, mainly on bodies washed up from the sea. These are said to have been stored in what is now the dining area to the rear of the property. From 1890, until the early part of the twentieth century, coaches ran from St Margaret’s -at -Cliffe to the White Horse every day except Sunday. It was also in 1890, until well into the twentieth century, that the inn opened at 5am for Dockers and others working different shifts.

 

The White Horse is still a well frequented pub dispensing various beverages. It also records on its walls, ceiling and doors details of many Channel Swimmers from all over the world. 

 

From the Inn, we made our way through Dover, to the station.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin is an Anglican church, in Dover, situated in the town centre. There was a church on this site in Saxon times, but it was largely rebuilt in the 19th century. The church stands on the site of Roman baths. Three churches in Dover are mentioned in the Domesday Book, and it has been supposed that these are St Mary’s, St James’ and St Peter’s.

 

The oldest parts of the existing building are the tower and

three bays of the arcades, which are Norman architecture

of the early 12th century. The church was closed in 1537,

at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but opened in 1544

as a parish church, after a petition by the towns people. 

 

Damaged during the Second World War, although there

was no direct hit, many of the stained glass windows were

destroyed. The church houses the main memorial to the

victims of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise, which capsized

outside Zeebrugge in Belgium on its way to Dover on

6 March 1987.    

The Zeebrugge Bell on Dover Town Hall, which was presented to the town of Dover by the King of Belgium, to commemorate the Zeebrugge Raid of 1918. The St George’s Day Service is held annually in Dover to commemorate the raid on a canal and dry-dock at the enemy occupied Belgian port of Zeebrugge during WW1. The bell is rung on the same day every year, eight times to signal the start of the tribute to the bravery of the naval seamen who took part in the action at Zeebrugge. For many years, St George’s day was known as Zeebrugge Day.   

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Dover is a lovely little town, with many historical buildings and some magnificent homes. A return visit is a must!

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The Dover Town Hall (Maison Dieu) Was founded in 1203 as a religious house, providing a hostel for pilgrims en-route to Thomas Becket’s shrine at Canterbury. Following the dissolution from 1544, it became a naval victualling depot. In 1834 it became the new Dover town hall and prison. Some of the original hall and chapel used by pilgrims in the 13th and 14th centuries still exists. There are some outstanding Victorian stained glass windows, a Victorian courtroom, assembly hall, mayor’s parlour, historic paintings and arms.  

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2 responses to “Day tripping #6 – walkabout in Dover”

  1. Pauline Smith says:

    Hello
    Sorry I haven’t been responding but I’ve only just caught up with the backlog of work (sh*t load).
    You are going to become and Historian at this rate – History is always so interesting…
    Happy to hear that (by the sounds of things), you’ve having a good time.
    Keep it up …

  2. Ursula Evans says:

    Cant get over how neat and clean everything is. Beautiful pics

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