FISHING AT FORDWICH

Fordwich has always been famous for its fishing, especially the Fordwich Trout. In The Compleat Angler (published 1653) we find:
There is also in Kent, near to Canterbury, a Trout called there a Fordidge Trout, a Trout that bears the name of the town where it is usually caught, that is accounted the rarest of fish; many of them near the bigness of a Salmon.
Isaak Walton
The Fordidge Trout - Walton's spelling shows how the town's name was pronounced - was probably a sea trout. The river Stour was wider at Fordwich in those days, and the sea trout may have spawned here. Today there are brown trout and grayling, and all manner of coarse fish, but - alas - no sea trout.

Until the Reformation, St Augustine's owned and rigidly enforced the fishing rights from Fordwich down to Plucks Gutter near Stourmouth. Probably the extent of the fishery is evidence of the Abbey's early ownership of the Manor of Fordwich prior to the 10th century silting of the Wantsum channel, which moved the mouth of the river to Sandwich.

Post-Reformation, the valuable fishing rights were taken over by the town, which continued to benefit greatly from the Stour fishery. Many of the old town records are concerned with penalties imposed on poachers, or legitimate fishermen who exceeded their catch.

Once the old Corporation of Fordwich was abolished in 1880, the fishing rights passed to Fordwich United Charities. In modern times they are leased to Canterbury & District Angling Association.