Ramsgate - Encyclopedia

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RAMSGATE, a municipal borough, watering-place, seaport and member of the Cinque Port of Sandwich, in the Isle of Thanet parliamentary division of Kent, England, 79 m. E. by S. of London by the South Eastern & Chatham railway. Pop. (1901) 27,733. This is one of the most popular resorts on the Kent coast, well situated on the east coast of Thanet, practically contiguous with Broadstairs to the north, with which and Margate to the north-west it is united by an electric tramway. During the season steamers connect it with London and the intermediate watering-places on the north coast, and with Calais and Boulogne. The harbour has an area of 42 acres, and a considerable coasting and fishing trade is carried on. There is a fine sea front, and the beach is of firm sand. The promenade pier was erected in 1881. Near it an obelisk commemorates the departure of George IV. to Hanover from here, and his return, in 1821. The church of St George was built in 1826, its tower forming a conspicuous landmark, and the Roman Catholic church of St Augustine was built from the designs and at the expense of A. W. Pugin, who was long a resident here. The neighbouring Pegwell Bay, famed for its shrimps, is supposed to have been the scene of the landing of Hengist and Horsa, and at Cliff's End (Ebbs Fleet) a monolithic cross marks the landing-place of St Augustine in 596. On the summit of Osengal Hill, about a mile to the west of the town, a graveyard of early Saxon settlers was discovered during the cutting of the railway. The remains proved it to belong to the 5th and 6th centuries. Ramsgate was incorporated in 1884, and is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 2304 acres.

Ramsgate (Ramesgate) was originally a small but comparatively prosperous place united until 1827 to the parish of St Lawrence. The charter of Charles II. mentions it as having been "time out of mind" a member of Sandwich. In 1884 it was incorporated by royal charter, under the title of mayor, aldermen and councillors. A commission of the peace was granted in 1893. Since then the jurisdiction of the Cinque Ports' justices has ceased within its limits, which include the parishes of Ramsgate and St Lawrence Intra. A daily market was obtained in 1784 by grant from George III. No fair was then held, but from 1792 onwards there has been one yearly on the 10th of August. Under Elizabeth, Ramsgate was still unimportant though possessed of a fair before the reign of Henry VIII. After 1668 the growth of trade increased its prosperity, and at the beginning of the reign of George I. the pier was enlarged and pier-wardens appointed to collect the droits. In 1749, having been selected as a Harbour of Refuge for the Downs, it underwent great improvements, and henceforward paid £200 yearly to Sandwich out of the droits for clearing the Channel and repairing the banks of the river Stour within the Liberty; but by 1790 the harbour was of small account.

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