Richborough /ˈrɪtʃbrə, -bərə/ is a settlement north of Sandwich
on the east coast of the county of Kent, England.
close to the Isle of Thanet. The population of the settlement is
included in the civil parish of Ash.
Although now some distance from the sea,
Richborough stood at the
southern end of the
Wantsum Channel from prehistory to the early
mediaeval period. The channel provided a safe searoute from the
continent to the
Thames estuary and separated the
Isle of Thanet
Isle of Thanet from
The channel has now silted up; prior to this,
Richborough was an
important natural harbour and was the landing place of the Roman
invasion of Britain in AD 43. Until October 2008 there was
uncertainty whether this was the site of the Claudian invasion of
Britain; two ditches at the site which have been dated to the Roman
period were interpreted as defensive structures, however some
archaeologists had favoured the theory that the landing took place in
the vicinity of modern-day Chichester. The 2008 discovery proved that
this was a defensive site of a Roman beachhead, protecting 700 metres
The suffragan bishop of Richborough, in the Diocese of Canterbury, was
created in 1995 to provide a second provincial episcopal visitor
(after Ebbsfleet) for the Province of Canterbury.
1 Roman and Saxon history
Harbour of 1916
Richborough Power Station
6 External links
Roman and Saxon history
Main article: Rutupiae
The Romans founded the site and, after their withdrawal, the site was
occupied by a Saxon religious settlement (since St Augustine landed in
597 at nearby Ebbsfleet).
The site is managed by
English Heritage who run historical events on
the site throughout the summer.
Harbour of 1916
First World War
First World War the capacity of
Dover and other nearby
ports was found to be inadequate, and a major harbour was constructed
at Richborough. Its purpose was to provide the BEF with its heavy
equipment (tanks, guns, railway locomotives, ammunition, horses and
In 1917, the British Government began to look into the possibility of
installing a cross-Channel train ferry at
Richborough to allow
Roll-on/roll-off transportation of railway rolling stock, artillery
and supplies to the allied Front Lines. This was the first time that
Roll-on/roll-off ferries had been used from Britain.
Three new train-ferries were built SS Train Ferry No. 1,
SS Train Ferry No. 2 and SS Train Ferry No. 3 and operations
began on 10 February 1918, conveying nearly 900 tons of cargo at a
Calais and Dunkirk. Although existing
barge services were still in operation across the Channel from
Richborough, the use of train-ferries was more practical for larger
and heavier cargos, such as tanks.
The use of train-ferries greatly reduced the amount of labour required
in the transport of these items. It took only 30 to 40 minutes to load
or unload the 54 railway wagons and fifty or sixty motor vehicles that
could be carried by these train-ferries. An analysis done at the
time found that to transport 1,000 tons of war material from the point
of manufacture to the front by conventional means involved the use of
1,500 labourers, whereas when using train-ferries that number
decreased to around 100 labourers.
To accommodate for train-ferries, a new type of terminal had to be
designed and built at Richbrough,
Calais and Dunkirk. Adjustable steel
bridges with two sets of railway lines, spanning between 80 and 100
feet depending on the local conditions at the each port, were
installed at each of the three ports to allow a true connection
between railway lines on shore and the tracks on the ferry. 
By mid-1918 it had become a very large site, occupying 2000 acres and
capable of handling 20,000 tons of traffic each week.
After the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, train ferries
were used extensively for the return of material from the Front.
Indeed, according to war office statistics, a greater tonnage of
material was transported by train ferry from
Richborough in 1919 than
in 1918. As the train ferries had space for motor transport as well as
railway rolling stock, thousands of lorries, motor cars and "B Type"
buses used these ferries to return to England.
Richborough Power Station
Richborough Power Station
Richborough Power Station was opened, within the port, in 1962
burning coal as its fuel. Then in 1971 it was converted to run on oil
before it was finally converted again to burn the controversial fuel
Orimulsion during the final years of operation.
Orimulsion is an
emulsion originating from the Orinoco Basin, which was offloaded here.
The plant closed down in 1996, but much of it remained in situ until
the demolition of the three cooling towers on 11 March 2012. A new
Energy Park is planned for the site, including a Diesel Peak
Bushe-Fox, J. P., Third report on the excavations of the Roman fort at
Richborough, Kent, Oxford: The University Press; London: The Society
of Antiquaries, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of
Antiquaries of London 10, 1932 (BSA)
Bushe-Fox, J. P., Fourth report on the excavations of the Roman fort
at Richborough, Kent, Oxford: The University Press; London: The
Society of Antiquaries, Reports of the Research Committee of the
Society of Antiquaries of London 16, 1949 (BSA)
Butler, Robert, Sandwich Haven and
Richborough Port, Sandwich Local
History Society, 1996
Cunliffe, B. W., Fifth report on the excavations of the Roman fort at
Richborough, Kent, Oxford: The University Press: for the Society of
Antiquaries, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of
Antiquaries of London 23, 1968 (BSA)
Johnston, D. E., The Saxon Shore, London: Council for British
Archaeology, CBA Research Report 18, 1977
Pratt, Edwin A. British Railways and the Great War, London Selwyn and
Blount, Ltd., 1921 
^ "Dig uncovers Roman invasion coast". News.bbc.co.uk. 2 October 2008.
Retrieved 1 November 2017.
^ "Roman invasion beach found in Kent". Independent.co.uk. 3 October
2008. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 January 2013.
Retrieved 14 June 2013.
^ The Times History of the War: Volume XXI Book. London: The Times.
^ a b Pratt, Edwin A (1921). British Railways and the Great War Book.
London: Selwyn and Blount, Ltd. ISBN 1151852406.
^ a b Butler, Robert (1999).
Richborough Port. Sandwich Local History
^ Pratt, Edwin A. (1 November 2017). "British railways and the great
war ; organisation, efforts, difficulties and achievements".
London : Selwyn and Blount. Retrieved 1 November 2017 – via
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richborough.
Album Richborough, stoa.org
Richborough Roman Fort page at English Heritage
Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). 1922.
Settlements in the
Dover District of Kent
Villages and hamlets
St Margaret's at Cliffe
List of civil parishes in Kent