DEAL, a market town, seaport and municipal borough in the St Augustine's parliamentary division of Kent, England, 8 m. N.E. by N. of Dover on the South-Eastern & Chatham railway. Pop. (1901) 10,581. It consists of three divisions - Lower Deal, on the coast; Middle Deal; and, about a mile inland, though formerly on the coast, Upper Deal, which is the oldest part. Though frequented as a seaside resort, the town derives its importance mainly from its vicinity to the Downs, a fine anchorage, between the shore and the Goodwin Sands, about S m. long and 6 m. wide, in which large fleets of windbound vessels may lie in safety. The trade consequently consists largely in the supply of provisions and naval stores, which are conveyed to the ships in need of them by "hovellers," as the boatmen are called all along the Kentish coast; the name is probably a corruption of hobeler, anciently applied to light-horsemen from the hobby or small horse which they rode. The Deal hovellers and pilots are famous for their skill. Boat-building and a few other industries are carried on. Among buildings the most remarkable are St Leonard's church in Upper Deal,(website www.stleonardsdeal.co.uk) which dates from the Norman period; the Baptist chapel in Lower Deal, founded by Captain Taverner, governor of Deal Castle, in 1663; the military and naval hospital; and the barracks, founded in 1795. The site of the old navy yard is occupied by villas; and the esplanade, nearly four miles long, is provided with a promenade pier. The golf-links is well known. At the south end of the town is Deal Castle, erected by Henry VIII. in 1539, together with the castles of Sandown, Walmer and Sandgate. They were built alike, and consisted of a central keep surrounded by four lunettes. Sandown Castle, which stood about a mile to the east of Deal Castle, was of interest as the prison in which Colonel Hutchinson, the Puritan soldier, was confined, and is said to have died, September 1664. It was removed on becoming endangered by encroachments of the sea. The "captain" of Deal Castle is appointed by the lord warden of the Cinque Ports. The town is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 1111 acres.
Deal is one of the possible sites of the landing-place of Julius Caesar in Britain. Later in the period of Roman occupation the site was inhabited, but apparently was not a port. In the Domesday Survey, Deal (Dola, Dale, Dele) is mentioned among the possessions of the canons of St Martin, Dover, as part of the hundreds of Bewsborough and Cornilo; it seems, however, from early times to have been within the liberty of the Cinque Ports as a member of Sandwich, but was not continuously reckoned as a member until Henry VI., on the occasion of a dispute as to its assessment, finally annexed it to their jurisdiction.
In the time of Henry VIII. Deal was merely a fishing village standing half-a-mile from the sea, but the growth of the English navy and the increase of trade brought men-of-war and merchant ships in increased numbers to the Downs. Deal began to grow in importance, and Lower or New Deal was built along the shore. The prosperity of the town has ever since depended almost entirely on its shipping trade. In 1699 the inhabitants petitioned for incorporation, since previously the town had been under the jurisdiction of Sandwich and governed by a deputy appointed by the mayor of that town; William III. by his charter incorporated the town under the title of mayor, jurats and commonalty of Deal, and he also granted a market to be held on Tuesday and Saturday, and fairs on the 25th and 26th of March, and on the 30th of September and 1st of October, with a court of Pie Powder. The Cinque Ports were first represented in the parliament of 1265; the two members returned by Sandwich represented Sandwich, Deal and Walmer, until they were disenfranchized by the act of 1885.
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