IT’S a coastal town that owes much of its prosperity to the Solent and its long history of trade – legal or otherwise.

Originally called Limen tun in the 6th Century, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 Lymington had become Lentune.

The area was made a town by the Lord of the manor, William de Redvers, during the period between 1190 and 1200.

Medieval Lymington was first granted a charter in 1250, giving its people the right to hold a market.

Farmers, traders and merchants of varying goods travelled from far and wide to peddle their wares.

A view looking up Lymington High Street towards the Angel Inn, which previously, during the 18th Century, had connections with smuggling. Hampshire Heritage. Southern Daily Echo Archives.

A view looking up Lymington High Street towards the Angel Inn which previously, during the 18th Century, had connections with smuggling.

The High Street was designed and built with this in mind, making sure it was wide enough to accommodate a regular market and the ensuing crowds.

Other than the markets, Lymington has always derived its income from the sea.

The town owed its early prosperity to salt production, and now relies heavily on the income generated by yachting and boatbuilding.

Snap shots of the past. used in paper 19/8/03. lymington High Street pic from now and then Lymington & pennington book by Brian Down.

Lymington High Street.

But smuggling has also played an important part in the economic history of the area.

When taxes were high and poverty was rife in the 17th and 19th centuries, smuggling boomed and became big business in the New Forest.

Transporting contraband was made relatively easy by dense woodland and secluded routes to and from the sea.

Lymington Market on a Saturday, where shoppers would flock to snap up everything from brass to bananas. December 29, 1985. THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES. HAMPSHIRE HERITAGE SUPPLEMENT.

Lymington Market on a Saturday. December 29, 1985.

Whole villages were often in on the act, with everyone from the local squire down to labourers and fishermen taking part in the illegal trade.

One of the more ruthless gangs even turned to burglary and murder, dumping more than 30 bodies down a well on the outskirts of Lymington.

But the town’s most famous smuggler was no doubt Thomas Johnstone.

Lymington centenary celebrations. 7th August 1950. THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES. Ref - 7877

Lymington centenary celebrations. August 7 1950.

Born in Lymington in 1772 and also known as Johnstone the Smuggler or the Hampshire Smuggler, Johnstone was also a skilled sailor and later an admiralty saboteur.

He was brought up as a fisherman by his smuggling father and began smuggling himself at the age of 15.

He fought against the French in the Napoleonic Wars as a privateer and even operated as a British double agent, leading teams of divers to plant explosives on enemy shipping and fortifications.

Johnstone also commanded both HMC Fox and the first practical submarine Nautilus.