Poole has been around for a very long time and was first founded back in the Iron Age, over the years there have been many changes and the town has been awarded numerous charters over the years, it has also fallen foul of the crown on more than one occasion and one of the things we want to do with Pooletonians is collating as much documented history as we possibly can to ensure that the historical past of Poole is never forgotten. Pooletonians is simply the hub for everyone to get together and share their knowledge of Poole’s past with others… Poole is steeped in history from Harry Paye, to Cromwell and even Queen Elizebeth I awarded Poole with a charter that allowed it to become a country corporate back in 1585. 

So this new community hub is the ideal place for Poole historians to share their knowledge with others and hopefully, it will become a comprehensive reference for future generations to come. Well, that is the plan anyway, its success is dependent on the people who get involved.

Sometime in the 3rd century, the local tribes were known as Durotriges (Water Dwellers) because much of the land around Poole at the time was marshland. The Durotriges used long boats made from trees and there is one on display in Poole’s museum dating back to 295 BC, the Durotriges were originally farmers but soon became master seafarers and started trading their goods across the sea in Britanny, France. 

Following the Saxon invasion of  Southern Britain in the 7th Century, Poole then became a part of the Kingdom of Wessex and was mainly a fishing port and a place to anchor ships for the main village of Wareham which had become a Saxon stronghold. Wareham was captured by the Vikings in 876 but was later defeated by Alfred the Great. 

Poole remained as it was until the Norman Conquest and in the 12th and 13th centuries became a major fishing port for England. In 1248 Poole was sold a Charter of Liberties that allowed the town to have a Mayor, hold its own court and was exempt from certain taxes. This is when Poole truly became a successful town in its own right and became far more important than Wareham. Poole was well protected by its natural harbour and remained fairly trouble free, however, the French and Spanish were attacking other ports and a famous privateer known as Harry Paye from Poole made many assaults on the French and Spanish for their incursions, this won favour with the king and barons for Harry but it was not long before the French and Spanish found out Harry was from Poole. In 1405 they attacked Poole on a cold September morning and though the people of Poole fought well they were overpowered by the French and Spanish which lead to the death of many of its townsfolk and even the death of Harry’s brother. At the time Harry had already become the commander of the Cinque of the Ports under Admiral Lord Berkeley and in 1407 Harry set sail with 15 other ships and in revenge for Poole the sank 120 French and Spanish ships… It is said one of the captured ships was laden with French wine which Harry presented to the people of Poole as recompense for what had happened 2 years previously and now every year in June the people of Poole celebrate Harry Paye Day, where the townsfolk all dress as Pirates to celebrate the life of Harry Paye. 

Poole soon rebuilt and in 1433 it was granted Port of the Staple status by King Henry VI, which enabled Poole to begin the lucrative trade of wool export and it also allowed Poole to build fortifications to defend itself from any further attacks. The Town continues to flourish and in 1568 Queen Elizebeth I awarded Poole Country Corporate status in the The Great Charter and Poole became a major stronghold and then The English Civil War started in 1642, Poole sided with Cromwell whereas most of Dorset remained Royalists but Poole was easily defended because of its fortifications. In 1646 a Cromwellian Army set off from Poole and destroyed Corfe Castle which was then a Royalist stronghold but after Cromwell died and his son could not cope with the role of Lord Protector the people reinstated Royalty once again and in 1660 King Charles II took the throne, he punished Poole for their part in the war by destroying all the towns fortifications. Poole reverted back to being a major fishing port and create an important trade link with New Foundland which continued on into the 19th Century. 

Poole had become a major trading port which brought lots of wealth to the town and during the 18th Century had more ships trading with America than any other port in England… Poole had certainly made its mark on the world map.

That is just a brief history report of Poole and if you have any historical tales to add then do click the register button below and we will all work together in creating a full chronological map of the history of Poole on Poole’s very own community hub.