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Dover History!

Roman Dover
Roman Dover, the British port closest to the rest of the Roman Empire was a thriving town, thought to have covered at least a five hectare area along the Dour valley. The Romans called the town DUBRIS after DUBRAS, the British name meaning 'waters'. The Roman town had a large harbour, flanked by two lighthouses and three successive forts. Over 60 sites from the Roman period have been found in the Dover area. Sites which are open to the public include the Roman Painted House at Dover, the Roman lighthouse or Pharos in Dover Castle grounds and the Roman fort of Richborough near Sandwich. The museum holds a large collection of Roman Samian ware found in the area.

1066 The Norman Conquest
On 14th October 1066, at the Battle of Hastings, King Harold was defeated by his rival for the English crown, William Duke of Normandy. The battle, during which Harold was killed, was a resounding victory for the horsed Norman knights over the English foot soldiers. This battle marked the end of the Saxon era. Following his victory at Hastings in October 1066, William the Conqueror and his forces marched to Dover, pausing only to burn Romney as he came. Dover, then as now, was a vital strategic point, guarding the shortest crossing to France.

over Castle
After the Norman Conquest much of Saxon Dover was rebuilt. The town benefited from the increase in cross channel trade and the carrying of passengers between France and England, stimulated by William the Conqueror. Great improvements were made to the castle. By 1190 the massive stone keep and inner walls or bailey surrounding it were complete. The thirteenth century saw many attacks on the town by French forces including the almost successful 1216 siege of the castle by Prince Louis and a great raid of 1295 when 10,000 French burnt most of Dover to the ground. In about 1050 the five ports of Dover, Sandwich, Hastings, Romney and Hythe joined together to provide ships and men for the King, Edward the Confessor. They became known as the Cinque Ports (after the French word for five, but always pronounced as 'sink' not 'sank'). In return for providing naval and ferry services these towns received many rights and privileges. Today the Cinque ports have only a ceremonial role, but locally a base for the Lord Warden of the Ports is still provided at Walmer Castle, and new Lords Warden are always installed at Dover.

Tudor And Stuart Dover
Tudor and Stuart kings and queens took a particular interest in Dover. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I recognised the value of the harbour, by this time threatened with blockage by shingle, and financed expensive repairs and enlargements. Henry also made improvements to Dover's defences and built castles at Deal, Sandown and Walmer to protect the Downs anchorage.

Dover In The 19th Century
The nineteenth century was a period of great change for Dover. The coming of the railways and trams, the redevelopment of the harbour on a massive scale, the growth of the cross channel passage and the expansion of local industries led to a rapid growth in the size of the town. Between 1801 and 1901 the population increased by 600 percent. Attempts were made to develop the town as a seaside resort through the provisions of a pleasure pier, ice rink, bathing machines and impressive seafront crescents of hotels and apartments.

World War One
During the 1914-1918 war Dover became one of the most important military centres in Britain. Vast amounts of men crossed from Dover to France. The harbour was home to the Dover Patrol, a varied collection of warships and fishing vessels which protected Britain's vital control of the channel. The first bomb to be dropped on England fell near Dover Castle on Christmas Eve 1914. Regular shelling from warships and bombing from aeroplane and zeppelin forced residents to shelter in caves and dug-outs. The town became known as 'Fortress Dover' and was put under martial law.

World War II
During the 1939-1945 World War, Dover again became a town of considerable military importance. In May 1940, over 200,000 of the 338,000 men evacuated from Dunkirk passed through Dover filling the town and railway station with soldiers, sailors and airmen. Vice Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay controlled the evacuation from his headquarters in tunnels beneath the castle. Dover Museum showing bomb damageBoth shells and bombs fell on Dover causing 3,059 alerts and killing 216 civilians. 10,056 premises were damaged and many had to be demolished. Dover became a symbol for Britain's wartime bravery, the centre of East Kent's 'Hellfire Corner'.