Geoff Franklin


The Dymchurch Smuggler

The Dymchurch Smuggler

“From Brightling to Dymchurch”

“Remember to Forget” – The Dymchurch Smuggler

When I was a young lad my father took me to the cinema to see Disneys Sword in the Stone, which was great, but what caught my imagination was the ‘B’ movie. It was Patrick McGoohan in Dr Syn Alias The Scarecrow. It was about smugglers on Romney Marsh. I thought it was brilliant, even more so as we went on holiday there and my brother and I could act out the roles of the smugglers in the sand dunes of Camber.

Although Dr Syn was a fictional character created by the author Russell Thorndike. The story was  inspired by historical smuggling that was rife on the south coast. Gangs such as the Hawkhurst Gang  frequented the Mermaid Inn in Rye once the centre of smuggling on the marsh.

The whole of this part of the coast in the South East of England is full of stories of Brandy and Wool smuggling from the 18th Century.

I used to read the Thorndike books of the adventures of Dr Syn of Dymchurch, as a pirate in the Americas and as the Scarecrow the smuggler on the marsh. Far better than Robin Hood.