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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Dover in Kent, England, United Kingdom
 

Market Square

 

—Historic Dover —

 
Market Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 8, 2018
1. Market Square Marker
( west side )
Inscription.
( west side )
Historic Dover
Market Square
A fair or market has been held in the Square since at least 1160, the most important being the annual St. Martin's Fair. Dover's Guildhall was built in the centre of the Square in 1605 on wooden pillars, replacing the old Market Cross. The Market was held beneath it. The Guildhall was used as a council chamber and a museum. It was demolished in 1861.

The old Market Hall, the facade of which still stands, was built in 1846 to provide a new Museum and covered market. The building was badly damaged by bombs and shells during the Second World War and was closed down, the museum moving to the Town Hall. In 1991 a new museum opened behind the facade of the Market Hall and today it houses the Dover Bronze Age Boat. The Museum is on the site of the original Town Gaol built in 1746, rebuilt in 1820, and then moved to the Town Hall in 1834.

In the Market Place, Dover Corporation had its instruments of punishment and correction — the stocks, pillory and whipping post. It is recorded that in 1588 pick-pockets were taken to the Market Place, had one ear nailed to the pillory and a knife placed in their hand. The pick-pocket could then decide whether to stand and be jeered at, or to free himself by cutting off his ear.

Looking
Market Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 8, 2018
2. Market Square Marker
( east side )
up Castle Street you can Victoria Park mansions below the Castle. This crescent of fine Victorian town-houses was built in 1834 as residences for «Military, Naval and Other Gentlemen», Castle Street itself was only begun in 1830 and not opened up into the Market Square until 1837.

( photo captions )
- The Market Place in 1822
- King Street 1851   Looking south from the Market Square. - Market Square   This picture, looking up Cannon Street, shows the fish market traders’ carts at a time when the Square was open to traffic, including the Corporation trams.

( east side )
Market Square
Dover is one of England’s most historic towns. Situated at the closest point to Europe, the Town has been a major port for almost two thousand years, a prime target for invasion and, consequently, vital for national defence.

In ancent times the Market Square area stood at the mouth of the River Dour, then a wide tidal river. During the Raman period Dover bocame an important port and garrison for the Roman fleet known as Classis Britannica The Romars bult a fort below the Western Heights slopes, a little to the west of here, in the 2nd century AD. In the late 3rd century this was replaced by a larger garrison fort, built against Saxon invaders.

As the river began to silt up and more land was reclaimed, the
Market Square image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 8, 2018
3. Market Square
old Roman quay and fort which the Romans had abandoned in the 5th century fell into disuse. In the 7th century Widred, King of Kent, built a Saxon church, dedicated to St. Martin, on the west side of the square. This was burnt down by William the Conqueror during his march from Hastings to London, in 1066. The church was replaced by a much larger Monastery and Church built by Odo, the Constable of the Castle and Earl of Kent. St. Martin is the Patron Saint of Dover.

The church of St. Martin-le-Grand was so large and important that it embraced three separate parish churches within its walls. During Henry VIII’s Reformation the church was closed and finally destroyed in 1535. Most of the remains were removed in 1892; the last remnants, demolished in 1955, were incorporated into the front wall of the bank on the west side of the square.

( photo captions )
- This drawing of Dover in the early 1800's shows its importance as a major commercial port, with the masts of sailing ships dominating the town. On the cliffs stands Dover Castle, guarding the «Gateway to England». In the foreground march troops of the army — Dover was for much of its history a military garrison town.
- (Left)   Dover in the Time of the Romans   This drawing shows what the walled Roman fort on the banks of the wide River Dour might have looked like. On each side of the river are the Roman Pharos' or lighthouses. The one on top of the cliffs still stands in the Castle grounds. The remains of the other can be seen in the Drop Redoubt fort on the Western Heights.
- (Below)   Dover Market Place in 1788   Note the ruins of St. Martin-le-Grand behind the buildings to the right of the Guildhall.
- St. Martin-le-Grand   The ruins of the church as they appeared in the 18th century.

Research and photographs by Dover Museum. Design by DDD Design Studio. Produced and funded by Dover District Council and Kent County Council.
 
Location. 51° 7.503′ N, 1° 18.8′ E. Marker is in Dover, England, in Kent. Marker is at the intersection of Cannon Street and Market Square, on the right when traveling west on Cannon Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dover, England CT16 1NG, United Kingdom.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Instruments of Punishment (a few steps from this marker); Rebuilt Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Market Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Mary’s Church and Cannon Street (about 120 meters away, measured in a direct line); Saluting Platform (approx. 0.7 kilometers away); Medieval Dover (approx. 0.7 kilometers away); Dover’s early history (approx. 0.8 kilometers away); Buildings of Dover Castle (approx. 0.8 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dover.
 
Also see . . .  Dover on Wikipedia. (Submitted on January 13, 2019, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
 
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 13, 2019. This page originally submitted on January 13, 2019, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 13, 2019, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.
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