Written by Katharine Chant — Edited by Graham Mulley
Dunwich Reading Room and Museum MMVII
By the 11th century it was one of the greatest ports on the east coast, the tenth largest place in England, a crusader port, a naval base, and a religious centre with many large churches, monasteries, hospitals, grand public buildings and even a mint. Its citizens grew wealthy from trade, shipbuilding and a seventy vessel fishing fleet. It had half the population of London and two seats in Parliament. All of it has been lost to the North Sea except for the ruins of the 13th century Franciscan friary on the edge of the cliff and Leper Hospital chapel in the present churchyard.
Dunwich is now a tiny village of barely more than 120 people and a few offshore fishing boats, a friendly 17th century pub, a well-known beach café and of course, a museum devoted to its fascinating history