Custom House

The current Custom house is a replica of the previous one that burnt down in 1813 the fire taking with it many of its records. The previous one was built in the reign of Richard II (made king in 1377 until abdication in 1399) with a description as follows:

  • ground floor for weighing business; and over that a
  • first floor counting house plus “a certain little chamber for use as a latrine”1.

The Custom House was centrally and conveniently situated on the quay and described as commodious and well arranged. In front of the Custom House was the Town Beam, or Staple Cross (man-sized scales), there since mediaeval days for weighing goods through the port. The replica there today was placed in 1947. It was known as the King’s beam, and was administered by the King’s officers with the King’s weights.