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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom


Early History  The settlement is at least Saxon in origin as it is mentioned in  the Domesday Book, the survey ordered by William the  Conqueror and carried out in 1086. The survey lists the then  owners of the properties and the pre-conquest Saxon owners (in the time of King Edward - i.e. King Edward the Confessor,  reigned 1042-1066). The entry for Charlton (Cerlentone) reads:   "Ralph de Sansone holds one manor in prebend, it is called  Cerlentone, and answers for one sulung. He has three villagers  and four smallholders with one plough. In total, value 70  shillings; in the time of King Edward, 100 shillings. Leofwin  held it in prebend.  In the same village William son of Odger holds one sulung. He  has one villager and seven smallholders with half a plough. And  one mill at 40 shillings. A Frenchman has one plough. William  also holds one monastery in Dover from the Bishop; it pays him  eleven shillings; the Canons claim it. Value of all this £6: in the  time of King Edward, £12. Sired Held it."   (Note: prebend - a stipend granted to a priest of a cathedral or  collegiate church, usually consisting of the revenues of one of  the manors in the estates belonging to that cathedral or church; sulung a word only used in entries for Kent and believed to  mean the area of land which could be worked by one plough  team in a year.) So in 1086 there were at least 15 people living in Charlton,  probably a scattering of dwellings around the mill and the ford  across the river Dour. As the Domesday Book only listed the  working men it must be assumed that at least some of them  had families.   The church is first mentioned in a manuscript reference to its  dedication dating from between 1147 and 1182. Presumably by  this time the village had grown sufficiently to justify the building  of a place of worship. Charlton Green   The village developed around the church, the mill and the ford,  centred on the area now called Charlton Green. Until the late  18th century, when Buckland Bridge was built, the main road  from Dover to Canterbury ran through Charlton Green, along  what are now Frith Road, Barton Road and Buckland Avenue.  When Dover first became fashionable as a seaside resort in the  first quarter of the 19th century, the Green was regarded as one of the prettiest spots in the area. The houses stood far back  from the road, and the intervening gardens were carefully kept  up, with rows of beehives to take advantage of all the flowers.  By about the year 1840 Charlton had started to lose its rustic  charm. In 1829 a bridge was built to replace the old ford and  connected Charlton Green with Bridge Street. Nineteenth Century Expansion   In 1801 Charlton was separated from Dover by open country,  yet within 20 years they were connected by a continuous string  of properties along the main road to London, stretching from  the Maison Dieu to Buckland Bridge. In 1836 Charlton was  incorporated into the Borough of Dover. The growth can be seen from the population figures in the Census.   As the population grew the village started to expand out from  its old centre. The Tower Hamlets area started to be developed  from 1846, adding greatly to the housing stock of the parish.  Frith Road was widened and houses built in the 1880s and at  the same time the Dover Castle Estate, including Castle Avenue, Salisbury Road and Park Avenue was under construction. Charlton Fair   For centuries Charlton Green was the site of the Charlton Fair,  held annually on 6 July. For a long time the fair thrived, the  population being small and the Green large, there was plenty of  room for business and entertainment. As the population grew  and the Green reduced in size the space for the fair became  limited, and in the mid 19th century the fair as a parochial  institution ceased, although it struggled on until the end of the  19th century when the surrounding meadows where it was held  were built upon.   The Red Lion   The earliest reference to this public house in Charlton Green  dates from 1843 when Mary Whiting was the licensee.  It is  likely that a inn of some description had existed here for many  years in the heart of the old village. In May 1859 the Red Lion  was auctioned and the property on offer was described as "the  old established, freehold pub, recently rebuilt and together with  tea gardens, outbuildings and a large stable".   Barton Farm The farm used to stand on the southern side of Buckland Back  Road and to the west of Charlton Church, between the road and the River Dour. About 1900 Buckland Back Road was renamed  Barton Road, as part of the development of new housing in the  area. At the same time Barton Farm was demolished and  Beaconsfield Avenue, Charlton Avenue, Limes Road and Barton  Grove were built on the site. In fact, Charlton Avenue passes  over the site of the farmhouse. Charlton School   The Parochial School was built in the churchyard in 1841. It took 80 children, all boys. This building was used until the new  building in Granville Street was built in 1875. The girls'  department appears to have started on 1 January 1877. It is  likely that the girls were housed in the old building at first. On 2  June 1882 they moved to the new building for girls and infants.  This building, which was enlarged in 1898, is still used by  Charlton School today. During World War Two the Granville  Street building was destroyed by shelling in September 1944.   Chitty's Flour Mill   There had been mill at Charlton since Saxon times.  In 1865 Mr  Chitty bought the mill after the previous owner had gone  bankrupt.  Chitty introduced modern machinery and  supplemented the water wheel with steam power. The water  power was also used to generate electricity to light the mill and  offices.  The tower contained a water reservoir to feed the  boilers and the fire sprinkler system that was installed  throughout the factory.  The mill was badly damaged by shelling  during World War Two and demolished after the war. The Footbridge over the Dour   Close to old Charlton Church there used to be a footbridge  across the River Dour  This bridge was built in 1881 at a cost of  £82.10s (£82.50). In 1902 a road bridge was built to connect  Beaconsfield Road and Beaconsfield Avenue and the footbridge  was removed. Charlton Today   Charlton is a major residential area in the heart of Dover with  modern retail development. In 2006-7 a new river-side  residential development was built on the site of an old furniture  factory. The 46 houses are built in a tradition brick and  clapboard style and are a big improvement on the old light  industrial use of the site.
Back to Areas Index Charlton about 1800. An engraving of the view across Barton Farm to the Castle. Charlton Green c.1893. Just before the street was widened by the demolition of the houses on the left hand side. Charlton in 1864. An extract from the Ordnance Survey map. Charlton in 1907. An extract from the Ordnance Survey map.
Charlton Census Figures  1801 - 279 1861 - 4,093 1811 - 600 1871 - 5,340 1821 - 791 1881 - 6,683 1831 - 1,720 1891 - 7,839 1841 - 2,513 1901 - 8,941 1851 - 3,126 1911 - 9,213 By 1911 the population growth that had started in  the 19th Century was largely complete.  
Charlton c.1880. The barns and other buildings of Barton Farm can be seen behind old Charlton Church. Chitty's Mill c.1910. The view across the mill pond, probably taken from the bridge in Beaconsfield Road/Avenue. The footbridge over the Dour c.1894. The photo can be dated fairly accurately as the new church has been built and the old church not yet demolished. Charlton School. The plaque on the present building in Barton Road, built in 1882 and enlarged in 1898. Charlton School. The plaque in Granville Street marking the site of the boys school built in 1875.