This attractive old town was built on a grid pattern, in the 13th Century, by the Earl of Norfolk, to exploit its strategic position at the mouth of the Stour/Orwell estuary. The famous seafarers Hawkins, Drake and Frobisher all sailed from Harwich during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I on various expeditions.
The Mayflower, the ship which carried the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620, was a frequent visitor to the harbour and its Captain Christopher Jones lived in Kings Head Street. The famous diarist Samuel Pepys was MP for the town in the 1660’s, when Harwich was the headquarters of the King’s Navy. Other notable visitors included King Charles II.
The Old Town contains a wealth of historic buildings. The Maritime Heritage Trail around the old town of Harwich describes its historic features and the town’s connections with the sea.
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