Early History There have been people living in this area for many years, as archaeological remains show. Flint tools dating from c.2000 BC have been found, in Lousyberry Wood are the remains of three Bronze Age bowl barrows (1800-550 BC), and there have also been Roman finds in the area. The written history of River is a little more sketchy. The Domesday Monarchorum, a survey of Saxon churches prepared just after the Norman Conquest, lists the nearby village of Aewellan (Temple Ewell) as having two churches. It seems likely that River and Ewell were listed together, and the presence of a church would suggest a Saxon settlement.River Church The first concrete evidence of the church at River comes from a manuscript dating from 1208, in which King John granted the church of St Peter the Apostle at Ryveris (River) to the Abbot of St Radigund's Abbey. The dedication of the church has been changed a number of times, first to the dual dedication of St Peter and St Paul, the name of St Paul later being dropped only to be reinstated again in 1876. Little is known of the original church, records form 1665-6 show that the building had deteriorated and had partially fallen down and was no longer fit for services. It was repaired during the 1680s. By the early 19th century the old church had become too small for the growing parish and enlargement was first suggested in 1822. The original idea did not get off the ground but the subject was raised again 1829, and this time found favour. Work began in 1831, the old church was demolished and the new one built on the same site. The new church was consecrated in September 1833. It was restored in 1876, when an apsidal chancel was added. In the 1990s the church was further enlarged and the old church hall replaced. Nineteenth Century Expansion During the 19th century the village began to attract some of the wealthier citizens of Dover who wanted to live outside the town. With the arrival of the London Chatham and Dover Railway in 1861 and the opening of Kearsney Station, the way was cleared for early commuters. The village continued to expand from its old centre until it included the adjacent areas of Crabble and Kearsney. In 1903 the greater part of the parish was absorbed into the Borough of Dover, and in 1905 the Corporation Tramway was extended to a terminus at Minnis Lane. Corn Mills in River There is some evidence of corn milling being carried out in the village as early as 1227, although the location of the mills is by no means certain. A document dating from 1472 refers to the leasing of two mills in River. Kearsney Mill in the grounds of Kearsney Manor was probably built on the foundations of the mills referred to in 1472. Another mill was built in the mid 19th century near to Kearsney Abbey, which used the branch of the Dour which flows in from the Alkham Valley. River Paper Mill was a substantial corn mill in the mid 17th century. The present Crabble Corn Mill is known to stand on the site of at least two earlier structures.Crabble Paper Mill The first mention of this mill is in the Universal British Directory of 1791 which describes it as "lately erected", this was confirmed during modernisation work which uncovered a keystone inscribed 1788. In 1895 the mill was taken over by Wiggins Teape & Co, the owners of Buckland Paper Mill. Damaged by a shell during World War 2, the mill was repaired but after the war was only used as a storage depot. It has now been developed for residential purposes with loft-style apartments in the old mill buildings. River Paper Mill This mill, which stood at the bottom of Minnis Lane, below the church, is first mentioned as a paper mill in a sale document of 1689. The mill continued in operation until it was finally closed down and scrapped in 1918. The river Dour now flows through the ruins of the old mill, making a picturesque entrance to Kearsney Abbey from Minnis Lane. Brick-making As Dover and the surrounding villages began to expand at the beginning of the 19th Century, the need for bricks increased, this need prompted the start of the brick industry in the village. The earliest reference to brick making comes from the parish registers, which list occupations in the baptism and marriage entries. Philip Awles is identified as a brick maker in 1814. The last references from the same source are William Brockman and John Lawerence, both listed as brick makers in 1903. The brickfields have now been totally levelled and houses stand where clay was dug and bricks were fired, this was in what is now the Lewisham Road area. River Today The village has expanded well beyond its original centre and now forms one continuous built-up area with Dover. In the 1930s what had been the old tram track, running across open fields to the village, was developed with new housing and became Lewisham Road. Since the Second World War expansion has continued apace with large new housing developments stretching up the hills from Lewisham Road.