The Maison Dieu

Dover’s Grade I listed town hall, founded in 1203 to provide hospitality for pilgrims and the care of wounded and destitute soldiers

The Maison Dieu is an Attraction. Area Dover


Biggin Street
CT16 1DL

Useful info

  • Available: Coach parties welcome
  • Available: Family-friendly
  • Available: On-site parking (charges may apply)
  • Available: Visitor toilet/s


The Maison Dieu, Dover’s Grade I listed town hall, was founded by Hubert de Burgh, Constable of Dover Castle, Earl of Kent and Justiciar of England, in 1203 to provide hospitality for pilgrims travelling to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury, and for the care of wounded and destitute soldiers. Many pilgrims still pass through Dover today, walking the ancient Via Francigena from the nearby cathedral city of Canterbury, through France and Switzerland, to Rome.

In the eight centuries since, the hall has fulfilled many and diverse functions – from military store to council chamber, gaol to concert hall and from 1949 to 1989 housed Dover Museum.

The Stone Hall houses an impressive collection of arms and armour and some fine paintings. The stained-glass windows depicting notable historic events date from 1873.

In the mid-19th century the Maison Dieu was extensively restored by the prominent Victorian architects Ambrose Poynter and William Burges. Burges later went on to further remodel the building and design an adjacent assembly hall (the Connaught Hall) and civic offices.

Outside the main entrance hangs the famous Zeebrugge Bell, given to Dover by the King of the Belgians in 1918 to commemorate the First World War Zeebrugge Raid.

Next to the Maison Dieu is the Grade II* listed Maison Dieu House, built in 1665 as the residence of the Agent Victualler and now the offices of Dover Town Council. Outside you can see a small Garden of Remembrance housing the People of Dover War Memorial, which was unveiled in 1924 and has later Second World war additions.

The Reawakening of Dover's Maison Dieu

In September 2021, a two-year programme of conservation and restoration work began at Dover's Maison Dieu, so that future visitors can enjoy Burges’s unique decorative features and so that more people are able to access this fascinating historic building.

Throughout the reawakening of the Maison Dieu in Dover, an exciting programme of activities is taking place at the Maison Dieu, inspired by the building and its collections, and developed in partnership with local community groups. Click here to visit the Maison Dieu Events webpage and find out how you can get involved and discover more about this exciting project.

Dover Maison Dieu/Town Hall
Dover Town Hall