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Archive for January 21st, 2021

When we first moved to the coast in 2016, travelling from London to Broadstairs on the train, past all the stations enroute, I remember being intrigued by the places behind the names, and excited about the possibility of exploring them all….and that was only those north of my destination. I subsequently discovered many more, south of Broadstairs.

sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs
sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs

I have since then been to all of the seaside towns, either by train or when out walking the coastline, as well as to many of the more inland places. They are all awash with centuries of history, and many of these villages, towns and the City of Canterbury, are mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. It is just phenomenal and I am constantly in thrall to the many layers uncovered during my research.

Faversham, along with Broadstairs, Canterbury, Sandwich and Dover are my favourite places to go….castles, Saints, Normans, Vikings, abbeys, a cathedral, ancient churches, historic houses, medieval houses, famous people and royal visits and tales of smugglers – who could resist!!

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england
a network of smugglers tunnels wind their way below ground in Broadstairs

I first met Faversham on my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk in 2017 (as mentioned in a previous blog), and although the memories are of blistered feet and muddy shoes, I still have fond feelings for the place 🀣🀣

So since I mentioned it briefly yesterday, I thought I should expand on that and tell you more about this ever so fabulous and famous town, a town that missed out on being a city thanks to a small detail….it doesn’t have a cathedral (or a castle for that matter). Oh the semantics…

Faversham; Old English origin, meaning “the metal-worker’s village” lies next to the Swale, a strip of sea separating mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary. There has been a settlement at Faversham since pre-Roman times, next to the ancient sea port on Faversham Creek, and was inhabited by the Saxons.

One of Henry VIII’s boats perchance??

Fefresham was held in royal demesne in 811, and is further cited in a charter granted by Coenwulf, the King of Mercia. Coenwulf described the town as ‘the King’s little town of Fefresham’, while it was recorded in the Domesday Book as Favreshant.

Mentioned as Favreshant in the 1086 Domesday Book, Faversham was noted as : King’s land, with 2 salthouses, a mill and a market; a market town and small port.

Faversham was used as a summer residence by the Kings and Queens of Kent, and has many other royal connections; Stephen (1092 or 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois, was King of England from 22 December 1135 to his death in 1154 and was buried in Faversham Abbey. However, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, most of the abbey was demolished, and the remains of Stephen were rumoured to have been thrown into Faversham Creek along with his consort and son who were buried with him. Subsequent excavations revealed empty tombs when they were opened.

Abbey Street was constructed around 1201 in order to provide an appropriate approach to the abbey from the town, and still houses timber framed buildings; described as “the finest medieval street in southeast England”.

Medieval buildings in Abbey Street

A royal visit by Queen Elizabeth I in 1573

Location of the Guildhall during Elizabeth I’s reign
Current Guildhall – built as a market hall in 1574 by the people of the town and nearby parishes, converted into the Guildhall in 1605

Faversham was established as a link arm to the Confederation of Cinque Ports as the (Limb of Dover).

The Shippe Inn

Other famous people linked to Faversham (besides me, that is πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‰)

Richard Arden, a 16th century mayor, was murdered by his wife and her lover. Nice πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

There are some fantastic buildings surrounding the market place

Faversham also lies on the old Saxon Shore Way route between Gravesend on the river Thames near City of London and Hastings on England’s south east coast and known for the ‘Battle of Hastings’ which is when William the Conqueror defeated King Harald in 1066. William the Conqueror is responsible for the ‘Great Survey’ of England; the Domesday Book completed in 1086.

The Saxon Shore Way, a long-distance footpath of 163 miles in England, starts at Gravesend and traces the coast of SE-England as it was in Roman times, as far as Hastings in East Sussex. There are a couple of places where the route runs inland; around what was the Isle of Thanet – once separate from mainland England by the River Wantsum, and again on the south coast past Folkestone.

That’s us, the island on the right πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Some 5,000 years ago Thanet was separated from mainland Britain by 600 metres of sea – The Wantsum Channel, it is now connected again since the river/channel silted up some time ago.

When the English Channel was formed by the sea breaking through, an island of chalk was left on the east side of the county – now known as the Isle of Thanet.

The Wantsum Channel today

The SSW follows the creek inland from The Swale and into Faversham and then back out again from the opposite bank and once again follows The Swale and into the Thames river at Gravesend. Since I’ve already walked so many sections of the SSW on my various walks, it makes sense for me to actually do the whole route…one day LOL I mean it’s not like I don’t have about 100 other walks to do and I have LOADS of time on my hands ….as if 🀣🀣🀣

Faversham is located on the main road between the City of London and Dover and therefore became an important stop over for travellers between the Port of London and the Port of Dover. As a result of this inns were of paramount importance and today you can see and stay at one at least one such…The Sun Inn. Seriously one of my favourite ‘places I stayed’ on my many walks. It had everything I needed after arriving drenched and in pain. A massive double bed, a huge bath and fluffy white towels. Perfect.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – best room and bath ever
The Sun Inn, Faversham - Day 3 Rochester to Faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – Day 3 Rochester to Faversham

Faversham truly is awash with history and I could write up so much more, but this is already quite a long post, so for now I’ll just add one more photo

history of faversham
historic buildings of Faversham

Okay, make it two photos LOL – the architecture is so varied that if you’re a fan of architecture you could spend the whole day walking around and still find more to see

architecture in faversham
architecture in Faversham

I’m sure to visit Faversham again when I start the next section of my insane intention of walking the entire English Coast and of course the Saxon Shore Way….now that my interest has been well and truly piqued. I’ll tell you more about it then…meanwhile…

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read about my adventures, I really do appreciate your time and support. Have a fab day/afternoon/evening wherever you may be in the world. 🌍🌎🌏

In case you’re interested: more about my Canterbury Tales Walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral (p.s. please don’t feel obliged to read any of them, it’s just in case you’re interested).

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/02/20/the-start-of-my-pilgrims-journey-in-the-footsteps-of-chaucer/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/06/the-prelude-southwark-to-canterbury/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/07/prelude-day-1-southwark/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/09/prelude-day-2-southwark-and-the-city-of-london/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/10/my-canterbury-tales-12th-february-day-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/26/my-canterbury-tales-february-13th-day-two/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/03/arriving-in-rochester/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/08/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/09/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-2/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/14/faverham-to-canterbury-the-finale/

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