History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Though it numbers only 300 inhabitants, Fordwich is officially a town, making it the smallest town in England.
Fordwich was first recorded in 675 AD. Its name means simply a settlement by a ford. It became a burgh, or designated town, during the Saxon era. Henry III granted Fordwich a borough charter, a status it maintained until 1886. The importance of Fordwich was based on its role as the port for Canterbury. Its importance was further recognised when it became an arm of the Cinque Port of Sandwich. This heritage is remembered each year in a 'Ship Money' ceremony.
The village has some wonderful historic buildings, many of them half-timbered. Among these are the Town Hall, a beautiful brick and timber building beside the Fordwich Arms pub on the riverbank. The town hall is probably the smallest in England; it is certainly one of the prettiest! It can be visited on regular open days.
The parish church of St Mary stands behind the Fordwich Arms, beside the river. This is a lovely old building in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Inside the church is the mysterious Fordwich Stone, a solid block of limestone beautifully carved to resemble a tomb. Tradition says that the Fordwich Stone was a shrine over the relics of St Augustine. It is a magnificent piece of medieval craftsmanship, and the carving can be stylistically dated to around 1100.
The signposted Stour Valley Walk leads along the Stour from Canterbury to Fordwich, a distance of about 2 miles. This makes a lovely walk, which can be broken with a drink or a meal at the Fordwich Arms, a lovely old riverside inn.
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Fordwich, St Mary's Church - 0 miles (Historic Church)
Conduit House - 1.7 miles (Historic Building)
Canterbury, St Martin - 1.9 miles (Historic Church)
St John the Baptist Hospital - 2 miles (Historic Building)
St Augustine's Abbey - 2.1 miles (Abbey)
King's School - 2.1 miles (Historic Building)
Fyndon Gate - 2.1 miles (Historic Building)
Sir John Boys House - 2.2 miles (Historic Building)
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