A printable PDF version of this newsletter can be downloaded from HERE
The Faversham Society has written to all four developers looking to build houses in southeast Faversham. So far, only the Duchy of Cornwall has responded and taken up our invitation to make a presentation at St Mary of Charity Parish Church and answer questions.
Do come along to hear what they say and ask a question or two. The Rev Simon Rowlands and I will co-chair. The meeting is taking place in the church at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 29 September. We shall hold other similar events if the other developers take up our invitation.
There has been a further submission by the developer wanting to build on Abbey Fields, claiming that the housing would cause “less than substantial harm”. The society’s view is that, on the contrary, this would cause very substantial harm. If this development is allowed to proceed, not only would the setting of Faversham’s Conservation Area be
irretrievably damaged, the precedent would be set, and the whole Abbey Fields would go for housing. If you feel the same, please write and object. See page 6 for our reasoned objection.
Our AGM attracted about 100 members, as last year, half online and half in the Alexander Centre. To enable as many
members as possible to hear my presentation and Chris Wright’s explanation of the links between the moon and Faversham Creek, we have voiced over the PowerPoints and put them online. I hope you will them interesting. See page 3.
If you are interested in assisting the society with any of the opportunities I describe briefly in the video, pleae contact me.
The Faversham Society invited all four developers to share their plans for the site allocated in the Swale Local Plan to the southeast of Faversham and answer questions at open public meetings cohosted by the Faversham Society and the St Mary of Charity. So far only the Duchy of Cornwall has responded thus to our invitation.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchy of Cornwall have long been concerned with the quality of the natural and built
environment, urging a return to sustainable human-scale development that is land-efficient, uses low-carbon materials
and is less car-dependant.
Following the announcement of the draft allocation in the emerging Swale Local Plan for 2,500 homes and an aspiration to provide for 2,500 jobs, which sets out how housing and infrastructure needs are going to be met over the next 15 years, the duchy will present the progress made and ask people for the views and feedback on the emerging masterplan.
The proposed new neighbourhood in southeast Faversham starts from the earth up, the duchy says. It has been designed around soil, water and the centuries-old, local pattern of human relationship with the land. Avenues, orchards, allotments, meadows and wooded rides will link the houses together in a shaded, green framework.
A simple grid of tree-lined streets will open south from the Roman Watling Street (A2 Canterbury Road) and frame a central green with a cricket pitch and pub. Footpaths, cycleways and flowing open spaces will connect houses, workplaces and shops, crossing the railway with a new bridge to the east and aligning with old pedestrian routes through to the centre of Faversham to the north.
The duchy undertook an “Enquiry by Design” process in 2018 to help to shape a masterplan rooted in the aspirations of people for their community. After further design work, investigations and engagement with various stakeholders the
duchy has refined its masterplan and is now inviting feedback on refined proposals at a drop-in consultation event.
We urge you to take part in the discussion. Join us to discuss the evolving masterplan on:
The Maison Dieu, the flint and timber frame building dating from the 13th, 15th and 16th centuries, is now open until 31 October. The medieval hospital complex on the corner of Water Lane opens on Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm. Admission is £4, and children go free.
English Heritage members also have free admission.
David Carey, chairman of the Kent Tree and Pond Wardens, a group of volunteers supporting the natural environment and wildlife across the county, will lead a walk to look at the impressive veteran trees and their vitally important natural history of St Mary of Charity churchyard, Faversham, at 2.30pm on Saturday, 23 October.
Churchyard trees are critically important havens for wildlife in our towns, and some of these veteran trees are particularly significant, noted nationally on the Ancient Tree Inventory. Join us to enjoy and learn about these trees and discuss the importance of trees in Faversham.
Meet at the main door of the church – there will be a collection to support work to maintain the natural heritage of the
Is there anyone out there who regularly commutes by car to or through the City of
London and would be willing to deliver about them 60 books to the Dutch Church
there? I’m willing to pay for any extra time and petrol involved.
Please contact me on 01795 533261 if you can help.
Yes, I have been travelling again – after a two-year wait. In August I left the White Cliffs of Dover and sailed up the east coast of England to the Scottish islands on a scenic cruise – no getting off, just looking.
On 21 August I should have seen the Duncansby Sea Stacks, the Needle and the Old Man of Hoy and the Orkneys. But it was a misty drizzly day, and all I could see were grey lumps.
Then we went through Loch Eriboll and Loch Broom: I am not even sure exactly where these were, there were no good
maps on board. (North coast and west coast respectively – Editor). Early the next morning we passed Marwick Head, Orkneys. I missed this by still being in bed.
When we came to cruise past Sumburgh Head, Shetland, and Fair Isle Lighthouse, it was thick fog, so from the scenic point of view, this was not very successful. There were quite possibly whales and dolphins but not when I was looking, or they were on the other side of the ship? Never mind, at least I was away in different surroundings and with different people.
While waiting to board the ship, I spoke to the man sitting socially distanced near me about how far he had travelled. He then asked me and when I said “Faversham”, he replied “I used to work in Faversham many years ago at Rumbelows, the electrical shop”. The next morning at breakfast I spoke to the couple on my left who came
from Herne Bay. When again I said “Faversham” he said that towards the end of the Second World War his sister was a
teacher at William Gibbs School, but did not give her name.
Jessie Wilbourn, who was a Sundaymorning stalwart at the Fleur museum for many years, has died at her home in Devon at the grand age of 97.
She had no intention of moving to Faversham when she came here as a visitor on a day trip, but immediately fell in love with our town and moved here soon after.
Jessie, who trained as a nurse and then worked at Guy’s Hospital in London, was a great supporter of the Faversham Society, and served as a museum steward for many years. She worked tirelessly supporting the Cottage Hospital and many other organisations as well, and in her later years her great love was the Abbey Physic Garden.
Her family have asked that if anyone would care to make a donation in her memory it be to either the Guy’s and St
Thomas’ Foundation, www.supportgstt.org. uk/donate, or Abbey Physic Community Garden, www.abbeyphysic.org.
We have been told that Eve Hurste, one of Faversham Society Archaeological Research Group’s founder members, has
Eve, who formerly worked as a senior secretary at the University of Kent, helped to set up and maintain our excellent finds recording system. Eve was always very efficient and she had a dry sense of humour that we all loved. We missed her greatly when health problems forced her to withdraw and send our sympathies to hern daughter Zoe.
Here are two online talks to which Faversham Society members are cordially invited.
The first is at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 19 October, when Cilla Freud of Kent Gardens Trust will be
talking about the trust’s project in listing Swale’s gardens.
At 7.30pm on Thursday, 28 October, Peter Sorenson will be talking from the United States on the development of
gunpowder in America.
Peter is author of Hazard Powder, the story of the rise and fall of the Hazard Powder Company, one of the largest
gunpowder manufacturers in the US in the 1800s, told in detail from its inception to its death in a violent explosion in 1913, nearly destroying the nearby Connecticut town of Hazardville.
It recounts the lives and deaths of the men and women who defined themselves by the work they chose and the turbulent times in which they lived at Powder Hollow.
Peter tells us that there are links with Faversham!
To receive the link for both free talks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may have missed the following application to build another 180 houses in this increasingly crowded town. But this is shocking and must be resisted.
20/500015/OUT | Outline application for the development of up to 180 dwellings with associated infrastructure including internal access roads, footpaths, cycleways, parking, open space and landscaping, drainage, utilities
and service infrastructure works (All matters reserved except access). Land At Abbeyfields Faversham Kent ME13 8HS.
Yes, the plan to despoil Abbey Fields has raised its ugly head again. The last attempt to develop it as Abbey Park – with a promised 500 jobs, 58-acre business park plus golf course – failed in the first decade of this century after a long campaign.
Look at the plan above. The site is near the Grade I listed Abbey Barns and the open fields and creek; the main abbey port lay to the east at Thorn Creek. The ZF29 public footpath is much-used by residents and by visitors offering an appreciation of the Abbey Fields.
Faversham is now all but totally encircled by modern housing estates. Abbey Fields is the last place where our historic town, designated as a heritage asset in a Conservation Area, abuts the open countryside and marsh which explains so
much of Faversham’s character.
The proposed development severs the link between the Conservation Area and the open historic landscape.
In the Faversham Society’s view this amounts to substantial harm to the town’s heritage assets. As is made clear in the July 2021 National Planning Policy Framework:
“Where a proposed development will lead to substantial harm to (or total loss of significance of ) a designated heritage asset, local planning authorities should refuse consent, unless it can be demonstrated that the substantial harm or total loss is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss.”
The applicant has not made a case strong enough to outweigh the harm. That Historic England has not commented does not indicate approval: Historic England has been stripped of resources and lacks the resources necessary to respond.
The developers, JBPA,claim this is: “Overall, the creation of much more carefully planned transition from the eastern fringe of the town to the open land beyond.”
In the view of the Faversham Society, JBPA here defines the substantial harm that the development would to do Faversham’s sense of place and its most important green lung, the importance of which has been very evident in the context of the Covid lockdown.
JBPA seems to be suggesting that less than substantial harm to the heritage assets would be caused by the development and to imply that refusal would be vexatious. On the contrary, we think that substantial harm would be done.
As the property consultancy Montagu Evans points out in its evidence, substantial harm can be caused “through development in its setting”.
This development would damage the setting of the Conservation Area which it abuts and would do substantial harm,
meeting the high test.
Montagu Evans defines the test thus: “If the development is completed, will it reduce someone’s ability to appreciate what is special about the asset?”
YES IT WILL. The proposed development divides the Conservation Area and other Heritage Assets from the natural landscape between the Abbey, Abbey Barns and Thorn Creek (which was the Abbey’s port). The division diminishes
the heritage assets, causing substantial harm.
JBPA makes several claims of public benefit. The society disagrees.
The emerging Local Plan does not identify this as a suitable site for further housing development and the 180 houses
are not required.
A “policy-compliant amount of affordable housing” will not contribute to meeting housing needs, which is for two-bedroom genuinely affordable starter homes, homes suitable for the elderly and those with disabilities, and one-bedroom studios. Claims made by developers at outline planning permission often fail to materialise when detailed plans are submitted. There are also claims made about the provision of jobs, but no guarantee that these jobs will be filled locally.
The engineering company AECOM, in its site assessments for the emerging Neighbourhood Plan, points out that:
JBPA has disregarded our previous comments so they are repeated and amplified here.
Nothing in the submission by the applicant negates the conclusion of our previous submission.
“The facts that a) the proposed development at Abbey Fields is not necessary in order for Faversham (or Swale) to reach their respective housing quotas, b) would aggravate already serious traffic flow problems on the Whitstable Road, c) would infringe on a local wildlife site which also has important amenity functions for residents, d) has already been rejected for housing development in the emerging Local Plan, and e) would damage irreparably the characteristic view from the northeast of Faversham as a historic port town, mean that this application must be rejected.”
Calendars for 2022 are now on sale from the Visitor Information Centre priced at £5.20, which represents excellent value for money and would make ideal Christmas gifts.
We are offering something different this time. Each month depicts a hand-drawn black and white image of a Faversham building by Richard Hugh Perks, who died last year. The front page is on the right.
Hugh was a big supporter of the Faversham Society and we are very grateful to his family for allowing us to use his
images for the benefit of the society. You may well have spotted Hugh sitting outside the featured buildings with his sketch pad and we hope this will be a fitting tribute to him.
Calendars will also be available from our website favershamsociety.org/store (plus a nominal postage charge), and so there’s no excuse if you do not live locally!
Christmas cards featuring the town pump in the snow (above) are also available at 65p each or £3 for a pack of five.
Images of Faversham for future editions of the calendar are always welcome and can be sent to email@example.com. More details in a later newsletter.
Thank you for your continued support of the Faversham Society.
In late July-early August Faversham Society Archaeological Research Group (FSARG) returned to the field, a very happy moment especially as the field’ was the large front garden of Queen Court, Ospringe.
Queen Court is an ancient manor, listed as the Manor of Ospringe in the Domesday book with an associated church, which means it already existed in 1080 and was an Anglo-Saxon foundation. During our widespread research excavations in Ospringe between 2008 and 2011, we dearly wanted to excavate in the Queen Court grounds but could not get permission (see our new website www.favershamcommunityarchaeology.org for details of the Ospringe excavations and surveys). In 2019, however, Queen Court changed hands and the new owners, Chris and Jo, welcomed us warmly.
A preliminary georesistivity survey was carried out and then used to pinpoint two areas of interest, suggested where adjacent light and dark shading indicated deposits not likely to be natural. As a pandemic precaution, we divided the whole garden area into two separate parts and during the season there was no contact between the teams working in each section, except for one site co-ordinator, Mike, who moved carefully between the two.
This meant that if any person contracted Covid, only half the site personnel would be “pinged”. We also observed social distancing and wore masks the whole time on site, even when digging! Happily, we finished the season without any Covid problems.
Each of the two pits was three by two metres. All excavated material was sieved carefully: FSARGers miss nothing. These pits were not, however, packed with finds of pottery, cinders, glassware etc as is usual in Faversham town, although in the upper layers in Pit Y (the northernmost pit) there were abundant nails and in Pit X yieled a Nuremburg jeton (a 17th-century stamped disc used in an abacus-style accounting system).
What we did have, though, were several laid surfaces. The one nearest the surface was found in both pits and was made of crushed chalk. Lower down was a cruder layer of flint nodules, unworked but all of similar size and shape, so collected to order from a wide area. Between the two levels in Pit Y was a mass of shaped, dark, highquality flint, heavily caked with shell-laden sandy mortar: the tentative theory here is that these are the remains of a demolished
Scattered through the lower layers were very small sherds of pottery, very worn around the edges. This is what is called
“midden scatter” and comes from the medieval custom of fertilising fields using the midden (rubbish heap). Pottery
fragments break down to a minimum size and their edges are abraded from being shifted around in the ground over hundreds of years. The earliest pottery type we found was a familiar (to us!) late Saxonearly Norman type called shelly ware and the even more familiar Tyler Hill ware.
The most striking small find was from Pit Y. This was an almost complete iron spur with a rowel and one surviving complete buckle. It is quite small, so was probably a youth’s or maybe a woman’s spur? Our imaginations ran away
somewhat with us here and we imagined the hunt gathering in front of the Queen Court and some poor lad falling off his horse, damaging his spur and throwing it away in disgust as the others rode away …
Animal bone was also scattered through the contexts, much of it midden scatter, but we did have one complete skeleton, quite high up in Pit Y. This was a large member of the poultry family, nicknamed Goochickey (think about it).
Subsequent analysis has shown that this is a turkey, which was buried whole – without the flesh on its bones the skeleton would not have stayed articulated. Was this a pet?
Finally, there were (as is always the case in the Faversham area) a number of worked flints scattered through the
contexts. These have not yet been looked at in detail but at least two are probably very early. In 2011, excavation at Queen Court cottages, close by but higher up the valley side, produced a very early hand axe dating back more than 200,000 years and at least two of the worked flints found just down slope are probably of similar antiquity.
Full details of findings will follow later on this year when all has been fully analysed and recorded. Meanwhile, thanks
go to Chris and Jo, and to John Clarkstone who got everything together – no mean feat in this most challenging of years.
October is Black History Month and a few weeks ago, I went to look at the Swale Migration Stories display at faversham
It made me reflect on the meaning of “migration”, especially as there was nothing there about emigration. Isn’t there
as much of a story to tell about people leaving as about people coming? Why did people leave their homes? How did they decide where to go? How were they received? And many more questions.
I was a refugee fleeing from Hungary to Australia in 1948; and then moved to New Guinea in 1956 and returned to Sydney; moved to England in 1965, and New York in 1980; back to London in 1985, to Oare in 2012. So, I would have many stories to tell.
At the exhibition I learnt nothing at all about immigrants in Faversham. Or about emigrants from Faversham. So, I thought I should search the books on my shelves and the “FavHist” folder in my research.
I must start with a poem by Daniel Defoe pinned to my bookshelves – an extract from The True Born Englishman:
The Romans first with Julius Cæsar came, Including all the nations of that name, Gauls, Greeks, and Lombards, and, by
Auxiliaries or slaves of every nation.With Hengist, Saxons; Danes with Sueno came, In search of plunder, not in search of fame.
Scots, Picts, and Irish from the Hibernian shore, And conquering William brought the Normans o”er.
All these their barbarous offspring left behind, The dregs of armies, they of all mankind;
Blended with Britons, who before were here, Of whom the Welsh ha” blessed the character. From this amphibious ill-born mob began That vain, ill-natured thing, an Englishman.
So, in 1701, Defoe taught everyone on this island what a mixture they were.
This was an amazing introduction to what appears to be a very English town. So I did a little bit of searching and kept bits and pieces of information. For example, I have a copy of the Summer 1970 edition of the Faversham Magazine, in which some articles offer a glimpse of this history: “Goodnestone, a Saxon settlement derived its name from Godwin, Earl of Wessex and was for long known as Goodwinstune …” Bill Branson notes in his article on Belmont cricket that
“my father came from Yorkshire” in 1921 as manager for the Faversham Gas Company.
He lists the players in 1929 match between Belmont and Gore Court and there are some names I’d love to investigate: C. Fairservice, Blenkarn and Carden.
In his article on No 6 Market Place, John Kerr relates that among the people he interviewed about the then “dusty and
gloomy shop … one or two people now in their eighties recall there was a Mr Claus (or Klaus) in their early childhood”.
Another immigrant was Elsie Gordon, who moved to Faversham “aged three” in 1888, but we are not told why or from where.
Was it the Romans who originally taught Faversham people how to make bricks? After all, The Romans “produced burnt bricks and first introduced the craft to Britain”. John Cadman in his article on Faversham’s brickmaking industry tells us that there was a “Faversham Brickfields Amateur Minstrel Troupe established in 1879 by Jesse Last … The group gave an annual concert … consisting of plantations songs, solos and a comic sketch.” For me this is very curious, as “minstrel” shows originated from freed slaves in the United States! Were there black workers at the brickfields?
If so many “foreigners” are noted in just one issue of one journal, just how many lived here?
Some Faversham people emigrated. I have found some very interesting data about British emigrants to the Americas, as well as about the prisoners and orphans transported there. In a piece on early 19th-century emigration from Kent,
Michael Weller begins with the transportation to Australia of Thomas Pope, convicted of a felony in Maidstone in
Weller then tells us that “growing mechanisation” from the 1820s led to “associated unemployment” and “soaring”
poor rates, especially in Kent and Sussex. So “subsidised emigration to the Colonies” was introduced. In 1833, “Faversham voted a sum not exceeding £200 [£24,000 today] for emigration purposes; the destination was to
be North America” The favoured destination changed, as “841 persons left Kent for Australia and 203 also left for Cape Colony”in 1845-50 (as reported in Bygone Kent).
It is estimated that more than four million “Brits” had emigrated by 1888.
Having explored and written some books/articles on aspects of the history of Africans and Indians in the UK, I thought I
should begin exploring their presence in this part of Kent. The first African I know about is Abbot Hadrian, sent here by the Pope in 668 with Archbishop Theodore, to Christianise this war-torn island. There would have been Africans who settled here previously, as some arrived with the Roman conquerors, but there has been no local research on them. There are now two book on the presence of Africans here during the Tudor years. And it is noted in many books that in 1596 Queen Elizabeth began to complain about there being so many “divers blackmoores in this realme”.
We do have some records of the presence of “black” people in Kent from parish, church, court and workhouse records and from newspapers. What I have begins with findings by some local people who searched such Kent records, and found many entries for “blackman”, “moor”, “blackamoor”, “negro”, “Indian”.
The first Faversham record I have is from the register of St Mary of Charity for the baptism of James Finley, “a negro aged about 18years”, 24 September, 1720. My next record is: “Name: Unknown; 10 August, 1753; 6s 0d Paid to the black to go away” in the Davington records. Then this advertisement in the Kentish Post on 18 August, 1764: “Eloped from lodgings at Faversham … the little West Indian commonly known (as) Little Sam, the Humbugger or Little Noisy … Any person who will conduct him safe to the Place of his Elopement shall receive all reasonable satisfaction.”
Numerous newspapers reported in April, 1867, that the Faversham county petty sessions committed Richard Coburn,
“a mulatto”, for trial for stealing some tools from Edward Pantony and “Richard Neame”. He was sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude.
There is a glimpse of the black population here from the transcription of the registers of the 60 parishes of Rochester undertaken at the request of Sir Thomas Colyer Fergusson, the owner of Ightham Mote, and high sheriff of Kent
1905-6. These contain records of 34 “Africans” for the 16th century, 15 for the 17th and five for the 18th. Geoff
Randerson, searching the records held at Canterbury Cathedral Archives, found 23 entries for the 17th century, 144 for the 18th and 42 for the 19th. So, there was no shortage of “black” people here in Kent!
Owning a slave was very popular in those days – just look at the many paintings of rich families which include a black
Finally, I think it is also important to try to discover if Kent people participated in the trade in enslaved Africans and if they owned plantations in the colonies. I have not searched for such participation, but have searched the online compensation records for Kent. In 1833 parliament abolished slavery in most British colonies, and undertook to pay the owners compensation for losing their free labour. The freed slaves were paid nothing.
From what I found, the Kent resident who received the most was Susanna Herriot-Gordon of Sevenoaks who received £15,946 for 798 slaves in Jamaica. The Rev James Hamilton of Canterbury was paid £7,713 for the 402 slaved he had
owned in Tobago. I find that particularly interesting.
It’s an intriguing question: Did William Shakespeare visit Faversham?
He was a sharer, or joint owner, of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men founded in 1594 under the patronage of the first
Lord Hunsdon. He died and patronage passed to his son, the 2nd Lord Hunsdon on 23 July, 1596, and they became Lord Hunsdon’s Men.
He was then appointed Lord Chamberlain, as his father had been, and the troupe reverted to their previous name on 17 March 1597.
James I was a keen lover of theatre and within weeks of his accession to the English throne in 1603, he became
patron and they became the King’s Men. What has this to do with Faversham?
An entry in the Faversham Town Accounts for 1595-96 states “paid my Lord Hunsdounes plaiers about Lamas by thepointment of the said Mr Saker xvj sh [16 shillings]”.
Entries in the accounts are normally undated but this is unusual in giving us a date, Lammas or Loaf Mass, 1 August.
The town accounts for 1596-97 says: “Paid to that Master Mayer had of him to give my Lord Chamberlaines Men players 13s 4d.” The use of the old reverted name suggests they visited again after March, 1597. The entry “men
players” means these terms were interchangeable. Another entry in the town accounts for 1605-06 states “paid
to the kinges players 1.00.00”.
Was Shakespeare a member of the company? There is no known list of performers. However, the first folio of
Shakespeare’s works, Mr William Shakepeares Comedies histories tragedies published 1623 by Isaac Jaggard has an
introduction with “Names of principall actors in all these plays”. Shakespeare is top of the list. He had received a legacy
and was held in great esteem by his colleagues and pulled his weight in the team so he probably was in the company visiting Faversham.
Where did they perform? They would not have performed in church. Acting was so disreputable that women were
not allowed to perform on stage until the Restoration in 1660. Female roles were taken by boys whose voice had not
The town council moved to the present guildhall in 1603. There had been an earlier guildhall where the single-storey section of the Shelter shop is now in Court Street, but Edward Jacob in his History of Faversham comments that the newer building is “more convenient than the late one”.
This suggests they would have used the guildhall we know. The upper part of the guildhall was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1814.
The arcade with oak columns supporting the main chamber is still the original Tudor construction which has survived to the present day.
What might they have performed? I’ll tell you about that in the next edition of the newsletter.
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