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Fordwich
Town Hall, Fordwich, Kent.jpg
Fordwich Town Hall
Area 
Population 381 (civil parish 2011)[1]
    - Density 
OS grid reference TR179597
    - London  65.8 miles 
Parish Fordwich
District City of Canterbury
Shire county Kent
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CANTERBURY
Postcode district CT2
Dialling code 01227
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Canterbury
List of places: UK • England • Kent

Fordwich /ˈfɔrdwɪ/ is a remnant market town and a civil parish in east Kent, England, on the River Stour, northeast of Canterbury.

It is the smallest community by population in Britain with a town council.[2] Its population increased by 30 between 2001 and 2011.[1]

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.

History[edit | edit source]

Fordwich is listed in the 1086 Domesday Book as a small village.[3] 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[edit | edit source]

Bridge over the Stour

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 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, Beerling fell in love with the old-world charm that Fordwich has, along with the even older charm of the Fordwich Town Hall building.

Cottage dated 1650

See also[edit | edit source]

  • Broughton in Furness with as few as 529 residents
  • Stockbridge in Hampshire, with a population of 592
  • Manningtree in Essex, another 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 850

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ a b Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 14 October 2016
  2. ^ Matthews, Peter (1992), The Guinness Book of Records, 1993, Guinness World Records Limited, ISBN 978-0-85112-978-5 
  3. ^ Open Domesday Online: Fordwich, accessed January 2019.

External links[edit | edit source]

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