Poole's Storied Past

Poole has a long and stirring history.

Old Poole

Its origin as a borough dates from 1248 when, for a monetary consideration, it received its first Charter from William Longsword, the Crusading Lord of Canford Manor, but the shores of the harbour and the hinterland which forms the greater borough were settlements thousands of years earlier. men of the Palaeolithic, neolithic and Bronze Ages have left traces of their occupation, and more recent excavations have revealed at Lower Hamworthy evidence of an Early Iron Age village which was subsequently occupied by the Romans.


Poole's importance was probably increased by the transfer of part of the population of Wareham when the latter place was sacked by King Stephen in 1142. In 1347 the port supplied Edward III with ships and men for the seige of Calais, and in later years, under the buccaneering Admiral Harry Paye, the Poole raiders spread terror along the Breton and Spanish coasts, so much so that in 1406 the combined fleets of those nations raided and sacked the town.


The town rose to prominence under Elizabeth, who made it a county with its own Sheriff and Recorder - offices which still exist.

Poole Park - Swannery

During the Civil War, Poole was a Parliamentary stronghold, the despair of the Cavaliers who besieged it from the North, and after the Restorartion its walls were destroyed as a punishment. In later times the port was the base of extensive smuggling operations, and for many years it carried on a flourishing trade in dried fish with Newfoundland, which Poole sea-dogs and their families helped considerably to colonise. The town's importance in early days gone by is further emphasized by the fact that up to the Reform Act it returned two members of Parliament.


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