Poperinge is the main centre of hop cultivation in Belgium. To celebrate this fact, the town holds a colourful triennial Hop Parade. During the First World War the town was immediately behind the front lines: a place of camps and hospitals, where the soldiers came to rest or heal their wounds. Talbot House – the famous wartime soldiers’ club – can still be visited. More than 9,500 Commonwealth servicemen found their last resting place in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, just outside the town. But did you know that… Sir Thopas, mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous ‘Canterbury Tales’ (1388), was actually born in Poperinge. And did you know that… a Kentish farmer by the name of Reynolde Scott once spied on the hops fields and oast-houses around Poperinge, in order to improve techniques back in England. In 1574 he even published a manual called ‘A Perfect Hoppe Garden’, based on expertise he had acquired in Flanders. You almost certainly didn’t know that… Lady Di’s great-grandmother was born in Reningelst, a village just outside Poperinge.
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