Fordwich Town Hall
Fordwich shown within Kent
|Area||1.81 km2 (0.70 sq mi)|
|Population||381 (civil parish 2011)|
|– density||210/km2 (540/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference||TR179597|
|– London||65.8 miles|
|District||City of Canterbury|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
It is the smallest community by population in Britain with a town council. Its population increased by 30 between 2001 and 2011.
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.
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
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.
- Broughton in Furness with as few as 529 residents
- 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
- Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 14 October 2016
- Matthews, Peter (1992), The Guinness Book of Records, 1993, Guinness World Records Limited, ISBN 978-0-85112-978-5
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