Dunwich was recorded in Domesday as "Duneuuic", and appears on John Speed's 1610 as Dunwiche.
Coastal erosion means that most of this Saxon settlement, which was once a prosperous sea port with up to nine churches, is now almost totally lost. A market was established here in the 9th century but the town's decline really started in the 13th century after the Great Storm of 1286 when many merchants left and the town stagnated. The aftermath of a big storm in 1328 meant that by about 1350 over 400 houses and the harbour had been lost to the sea.
An ancient tunnel is said to run from the Ship Inn to the now ruined Greyfriars' Monastery.
By the early 19th century Dunwich had become a classic "rotten borough", still returning two Members to Parliament despite having a population of barely 20, and was disenfranchised after electoral reform in 1832. Today it is best known for the pub and the local fish and chip cabin set close to the low sand cliffs.