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Ramsgate's Rotten History (Part 1)

Home / About Ramsgate / News / Ramsgate's Rotten History (Part 1)

08 April 2021

Rotten Ramsgate 23.10.2018
Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour is steeped in history and in September 2021 we will, hopefully, be celebrating its bicentenary. Prior to our harbour receiving its royal status from King George IV, the town of Ramsgate played a pivotal role in the Napoleonic Wars. Not only did Ramsgate become a garrison town, but it morphed into one of the most fashionable watering holes during the Regency period.

Next time you’re taking a wander around our beautiful harbour, take a moment to remember an unfortunate sailor who was murdered in the vicinity during the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Here follows the story as reported in a London newspaper of the time.

On Thursday evening last, about ten o'clock, a murder was committed on the East Pier Wall, Ramsgate, the perpetrators of which have not yet been discovered. The person killed was William Rowland, a sailor belonging to the Fortitude, of London, now lying in Ramsgate harbour. This man, it seems, came on shore quite sober, a little before ten o'clock, and had but just got on the Pier, when he was stabbed by some person or persons, in three different parts of the body, and fell dead almost immediately. It seems that a young lad was near him, and saw a man run away; but although it was moon-light, it is feared the boy cannot swear to the man if he saw him again. The Coroner and Jury sat on the body on Saturday, and, after a long investigation, brought in a verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown. Suspicion has fallen on four Portuguese sailors, and they were taken up and examined by the Coroner; but as nothing could be proved against them, they were liberated.

Johanne is the founder of Rotten Ramsgate Tours and has lived in Ramsgate for almost 17 years. Whilst Johanne loves her adopted town, she also revels in the tales behind its more horrible history and hopes to be able to share more of the stories on our streets again soon.

Keep an eye out for her articles in the Community Ad Magazines.
Written by:
Johanne Edgington,
Rotten Ramsgate Tours