On a sunny morning this August some 20 Rotarians and guests visited Fordwich. Accompanied by two dogs the more energetic started the day with a walk along the River Stour before arriving at the Town Hall to be met by the rest of the party.
We were introduced to Fordwich Town Hall by a ten minute DVD film which informed us that it was built in 1544 during the reign of King Henry VIII. It is decked with lovely herringbone brickwork on the outside whilst the interior retains all the original timbers. The upstairs was used as a Courtroom for many centuries and the accused had to state their case at “The Pleading Bar”. In the ground floor jail three men were last imprisoned in 1855 for poaching the famous Fordwich trout! At the rear end stands the Crane House with its crane ready to be swung out to unload boats bringing all sorts of provisions for the city of Canterbury, including the stone that came from Caen in Normandy to re-build Canterbury Cathedral in the 11th century. Fordwich is classified as the “Smallest Town in Britain” and the Town Hall is still used by the Town Council for all their meetings and is believed to be the oldest and smallest in the country still in use.
We then went next door to visit the Parish church of St Mary’s. This historic church stands in an idyllic spot near the River Stour, leaning somewhat, as a result of a 15th-century flood.
We all then adjourned to the George and Dragon for a leisurely lunch. Many thanks to Deborah for her masterly organisation. photo by Sheila Cragg.