Dunwich dŭn´ĭch [key], village, 2011 pop. 182, Suffolk, SE England, on the North Sea, known as Britain's Atlantis. Once a town of as many as 5,000, it relied on sea trade, shipbuilding, and fishing, and was historically the site of a Roman fort, a major Anglo-Saxon settlement, a crusader port, and a 13th-century religious center. In 1286 and 1326 the town was inundated by great storms, which destroyed its port and began its decline, and over the years other storms and an eroding coastline took much of what was left. Today the ruins of a Franciscan priory and part of a leper hospital are all that remain of the former settlement. Offshore explorations since 2008 have revealed remains of medieval buildings some 30 ft (10 m) below the sea.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography