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New Romney

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"NEW ROMNEY, a parish, cinque-port, post and market town in the liberty of Romney Marsh, having separate jurisdiction, county Kent, 5 miles N. of Dungeness, and 7 S.E. of Ham Street station on the Hastings and Ashford line of railway. It is a borough by prescription, a polling- place for the county, and a coastguard station. The town is situated near Romney Sound, on an eminence about the centre of the Marsh, and arose from the decay of the haven at Old Romney, by the retiring of the sea, and in contradistinction to that town was called New Romney. It was once a place of considerable importance, and is mentioned in Domesday Survey as Romenel, at which time it consisted of 12 wards, and contained 5 churches, a priory, and a hospital, with a good harbour. It was soon after that period given by William the Conqueror to his brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and subsequently made a cinque port, but in Edward I.'s time it was much damaged by an irruption of the sea, which diverted the course of the river Rother, and ruined its haven on the western shore. In the reigns of Edward III., Henry VII., and Henry VIII., it furnished a complement of five ships to the royal fleet, but has never recovered its ancient prosperity; though still respectably inhabited, it has fallen into decay as a port, and has scarcely any trade except that arising from the grazing of cattle. It received its first charter of incorporation from Edward III., and a new charter from Elizabeth, by which the corporation consists of a mayor, 12 jurates, with a recorder, town-clerk, &c., under the style of "mayor, jurates, and commonalty," who returned two members to parliament till disfranchised by the Reform Bill. A court, called a Brotherhood and Guestling, connected with the business of the various cinque ports, was wont to be held on the Tuesday next after St. Margaret's Day, also sessions quarterly, and by adjournment every six weeks. The population of the parish in 1861 was 1,062. Many of the inhabitants are graziers. The town, which chiefly consists of one long street, with a smaller one intersecting it almost at right angles, is well paved and lighted with gas from works established in 1854. The new County Court is held every alternate month. It contains a small gaol, guildhall, Romney Marsh union poorhouse, and a market-house. This place gives the title of earl and baron to the Marshams of Mote Park. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury, value £161, in the patronage of All Souls' College, Oxford. The church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, has a lofty square tower at the W. end, containing a peal of eight bells. The interior of the church contains an ancient font, piscina, several tombs, and 3 brasses of T. Lamberd, one bearing date 1570. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans, also National schools erected in 1820. The parochial charities produce about £123 per annum, of which £112 is the endowment of Southland's hospital or almshouses. Market day is on Saturday. A fair for sheep and lambs is held on 21st August."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]


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