Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Dover (1.)

EB9 Dover Plan.png
Plan of Dover.


DOVER (the ancient Dubris), principal cinque port of England, is situated close to the South Foreland, 72 miles from London, in a main valley of the chalk hills corresponding with the opposite cliffs between Calais and Boulogne. Its dominant object is the castle, on the east heights. Within its walls stands the Roman pharos; the Romano-British fortress church, remaining not only in situ, but (excepting roof) integrally in statu quo, forming a primitive Christian relic, unique in Christendom; some remains of the Saxon fort; and the massive keep and subsidiary defences of Norman building. These ancient works provide for a garrison of 758; but they are now covered by the superior site of Fort Burgoyne, a position of great strength for 221 men. The western heights, where is still the foundation of a consort Roman pharos, form a circuit of elaborate fortifications, with provision for 3010 troops. Between these, and stretching inland, lies the town, of which the following are the principal features. 1. The harbour, once at the eastern, is now at the western extremity,—its three considerable basins being fit for mail steamers and ordinary trading vessels. 2. The admiralty pier is a massive structure of solid concrete and masonry extending about one-third of a mile into the sea, affording lee and landing accommodation for vessels of almost any burthen, made for ultimate connection by break-water with a horn east of the castle, so inclosing the bay as a vast harbour. 3. The visitors' quarter consists of ranges of good houses along the length of the seaboard and elsewhere, notably a fine elevation newly built on a western spur of the Castle Hill. 4. Of old Dover, within its walls and gates, but little remains, except a remnant of the Saxon collegiate church of the canons of St Martin, and the parish church of St Mary the Virgin rebuilt and enlarged in 184344, but preserving the three bays of the Anglo-Saxon church, with its western narthex, on which had been superimposed the Norman tower, still presenting its rich front to the street. 5. A later Norman church stands under the Castle Hill, which has been partially restored, but its parochial status transferred to the new parish church of St James. There are two other modern churchesHoly Trinity and Christchurch, and, further up the valley, the parish church of Charlton (originally Norman) and Buckland (Early English), which, including the Castle Church, completes the former number of seven for the town. There are also 13 chapels of nonconformist worship, representing most denominations, and placed in various parts of the borough. 6. The remains of the once (12th century) splendid foundation of St Martin's priory include the great gate, the house refectory with campanile, and the spacious strangers' refectory, lately converted into the college school-room. 7. Just across the High Street stand the tower and truncated fabric of the noble hall of the hospital Maison Dieu, founded (13th century) for the reception of pilgrims of all nations, long used as a Crown victualling office, but latterly purchased by the corporation and adapted for a town hall,
Corporation Seal.
with prison cells as basements, and other prison buildings annexed, the former chapel of the society serving now as a court of sessions. 8. The ground work of a round (Holy Sepulchre) church of the Templars is on the opposite heights, approaching the citadel. 9. Among the centres of educational work are a proprietary college, occupying the site and remaining buildings of St Martin's Priory, for a cheap but sound education of town boys, and for boarders in the masters' houses, and also a strong array of national schools, worked up to a high mark, according to H. M. Inspectors' reports, and providing means for a good practical education of about 3400 children. In physical conditions the place is exceptionally healthy, the registrar-general's returns showing them in some years to be little below those of the Malvern Hills. The steep shore and open downs make it agreeable for bathing and summer resort; and it has constant sea-going interest from the Continental mail service, and the course of vessels up and down channel lying within two miles of the shore. Objects of interest within easy reach are—the S. Foreland electric light-houses; the (florid Norman) church of St Margaret's; the Templars' Manor, Ewell; St Radigund's Abbey; the Preceptory of Knights of St John, Swingfield; rich Norman votive chapel, Barfreystone. There are two lines of railway to Londonone traversing the Weald of Kent, the other following the old Roman road, via Canterbury and Rochester. Dover returns 2 members to Parliament, and is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. The area of the borough is 1262 acres. Population (1871), 28,590.