By the sixteenth century, the shingle bank had consolidated enough to build on and Upper Deal’s inhabitants began to capitalise on the needs of the ships in the Downs
They began supplying them with fresh water, food, pilotage and other shipping services. Being close to the shore was, therefore, an advantage. So, as this trade grew, they built wooden stores and eventually tenements on the shingle. Becoming known as ‘squatters’ for a time there was not much notice was taken of them.
But as the area they were ‘squatting’ on was between Sandown and Deal Castles the military officers began to object. They felt that the buildings could give shelter to a ‘foreign enemy’ and efforts were made to prevent new buildings being erected, though without much success. This area was then known as the ‘waste’.
As the settlement grew the Archbishop of Canterbury began to assert his rights over the ‘waste’ causing further disputes.
During the Commonwealth period, the Archbishopric was vacant. But following the restoration, and yet more disputes, the position of the Archbishop, and the other landholders were by 1694 finally settled and the practise of granting leases for twenty-one years, renewable every seven, continued.
The ‘New Town of Deale’ was now firmly established.
Deal for centuries had been a limb of Sandwich and was dependent on the Justices of that town for matters of law and order. Deal could not hold its own markets, so the townspeople had to travel the five miles there and back for there provisions. There were other grievances that eventually led to a meeting being held in the vestry of St. Leonard’s in December 1698. It was decided here to obtain a Charter of Incorporation for the town of Deal.
So it was in October 1699 that William III granted the town of Deal it’s Charter of Incorporation.
Some of our research starts here in about 1699 most though focuses on the late Georgian to the mid-Victorian eras.