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The Romans founded Rochester where Watling Street, their great road from the Channel ports to London, bridged the tidal River Medway. Historically the road has brought travellers to the city, including medieval Canterbury pilgrims and stagecoach passengers.
Charles Dickens knew Rochester well, and it appears in many of his books, notably GREAT EXPECTATIONS. There is a Charles Dickens Centre and a Dickens' Festival in May/June. Other festivals include the Chimney Sweeps in May and the Carnival and Regatta in July. Rochester has craft and antique shops, sports and leisure facilities and riverside gardens.

Whether you are looking for relaxation and the chance to unwind or for something more active including great hand's on fun for the younger family members then Kent is the place for you. With many award winning attractions featured together with the best known places to visit and many smaller less well known attractions.
Choose from enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles, cathedrals and country churches, fascinating museums, animal parks, steam trains, amazing maritime heritage and much more.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Rochester Shopping
There are hundreds of independent retailers situated in the Kent, offering an array of worldwide brands to locally sourced products. Each and every one of them offer a customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
Check the Rochester Directory
KENT SHOPPING
Temple Manor
Temple Manor
An unasuming house dating to the 13th century, once owned by the Knights Templar.
Strood, Rochester, Kent, England
For Directions see the Interactive Map
Rochester Cathedral
The Saxons founded the cathedral, consecrated in AD 604, the second oldest in England. The Normans rebuilt it from 1077, including the spectacular west doorway. Additions were made in the 12th and 14th centuries, with rebuilding after Civil War damage. The magnificent nave has a superb oak roof supported by carved angels. The close is informal and intimate, and the nearby monastic ruins are set in gardens. The park, The Vines, was probably a monastic vineyard.
The Normans saw the city's strategic value and built a castle. The present castle, which dominates the hill behind the cathedral, dates from 1130. Within the walls are gardens and the massive 36m high keep with walls 4m thick.
KENT CHURCHES
Rochester Market
Rochester Farmers' Market is a monthly market and has been operating since June 2000. It is a certified and accredited member of FARMA, the National Association of Farmers' Markets and operates under the conditions and guidelines of NAFM.
All markets take place in the Corporation Street Car Park on the 3rd Sunday of each month from 10am to 1pm.
For Directions see the Interactive Map
KENT MARKETS
Restoration House
Restoration House
A unique mansion house in historic Rochester. The house takes its name from the fact that Charles II stayed here on the eve of his restoration to the crown of England following the short-lived Commonwealth. Charles Dickens used Restoration House as the model for Satis House, the home of Satis House of Miss Havisham in his novel 'Great Expectations'.
17-19 Crow Lane, Rochester, Kent, England, ME1 1RF
For Directions see the Interactive Map
Rochester Dining
When it comes to eating out, food lovers prepare to be seriously spoilt for choice in Rochester, from global to local, there are a wide variety of international and English cuisines on offer in Rochester.
Check the Rochester Directory
KENT DINING
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle- spending most of his childhood in Rochester, Dickens would have known the
familiar sight of the Castle very well. Set as the backdrop to many of the scenes in his stories, this
amazing medieval castle has experienced untold horrors and also features in the new film Ironclad
(2011). Climb this Norman keep for bird’s eye views of Cloisterham (Edwin Drood) and Pip’s hometown spread out below. It is said that Dickens’ ghost haunts the grassy castle moat – a church graveyard in his time – because he wanted to be buried here but was honoured at Westminster Abbey instead.
For Directions see the Interactive Map
KENT CASTLES

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Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Kent, England. In England the body responsible for designating SSSIs is Natural England, which chooses a site because of its fauna, flora, geological or physiographical features. As of 2008, there are 98 sites designated in this Area of Search, of which 67 have been designated due to their biological interest, 21 due to their geological interest and 10 for both.

Below is a "Where's the path?" link to map pages of each area of Special Scientific interest in Kent. Here you will be able to view various maps of each location including Aerial, Satellite, Dual View and even old Ordnance Survey maps with a modern day Google map overlay, Cycle routes and much more.

Chattenden Woods

This woodland is representative of coppice-with-standards woodland on the London Clay, which is a scarce habitat in Kent away from the Blean Woods. The site is also of importance for its breeding birds. Rough Shaw which is an area of neutral grassland with scattered scrub forms a valuable addition to the woodland. The standards are largely pedunculate oak Quercus robur but ash, field maple, aspen, gean and the scarce wild service also occur. Ash is the most frequent coppice species with hazel and hornbeam also present. Sweet chestnut also is locally frequent and has recently been planted in the southern part of the woods. There is also a varied shrub layer with hawthorn generally predominant but with other species such as birch and wayfaring tree also present. The ground flora of the woodland is dominated by bluebells Hyacinthoides non- scripta, except under coppice which has remained uncut for many years where the flora is sparse. Brambles Rubus fruticosus and other climbers, particularly dog rose Rosa canina and honeysuckle Lonicerapericlymenum are abundant in some areas. Several scarce plants are present including the early purple orchid Orchis mascula and stinking iris Iris foetidissima which is largely restricted to the chalk in Kent.
The breeding birds of the woods include considerable numbers of typical woodland species such as the woodpeckers and of coppice-nesting species such as the turtle dove and several species of warbler. Nightingale and hawfinch are among the less common birds to breed here. The woods were a classic entomological locality during the nineteenth century when for example wood white, heath fritillary, large tortoiseshell and purple emperor butterflies were recorded. Although few recent records exist the woodland is probably still rich in insects.
Rough Shaw is an interesting area of rough neutral grassland with scattered scrub of hawthorn, gorse and brambles. Several uncommon plant species grow in the grassland, with saw-wort Serratula tinctoria which is now very scarce in Kent, being the most notable. Other species include pepper-saxifrage Silaum silaus, dyer’s greenweed Genista tinctoria, lady’s bedstraw Galium verum and burnet-saxifrage Pimpinella saxifraga. None of these is found in more improved grassland.
Where's the Path? See the link below
Chattenden Woods Maps

Cobham Woods

This woodland and old parkland is representative of woods in North Kent which occur in part on acidic Thanet Sands and in part on chalk soils. One nationally rare plant species occurs in the arable land close to the wood. An outstanding assemblage of plants is present at this site which is also of importance for its breeding birds.
The flora of the woods reflects the range of soil types. The woodland itself, however, is largely sweet chestnut coppice with some coniferous plantations, while the parkland is now mature woodland, with some clearings, of oak, sweet chestnut, beech, hornbeam, and other species. The variation of soil types is shown by the distribution of the shrubs and plants of the woodland floor which have fairly distinct preferences. Thus there is a gradation from bracken and brambles in the more acidic areas through to bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta and eventually dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis in the most calcareous areas. This same pattern is found with the less common plants, for example wood spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides and lily-of-the-valley Convallaria majalis are found mainly on Thanet Sands, with sanicle Sanicula europaea and enchanter’s nightshade Circaea lutetiana on the Chalk. In the past this area was well-known for the large number of beetles and bugs it supported, however, although suitable conditions still prevail, there is little recent information on these groups. The breeding birds are better known and the woods hold a good variety of typical woodland species including three species of woodpecker, nuthatch, treecreeper, hawfinch, and marsh tit. Some of these species occur at relatively high densities.Also included in the site is an area of arable land which is notable for the number of uncommon annual plant species which occur, especially along the field edges. The very rare and specially protected rough marsh-mallow Althaea hirsuta is perhaps of greatest interest – it has been known from here since 1792. Also present are such species as ground pine Ajuga chamaepitys, Venus’s looking-glass Legousia hybrida, blue pimpernel Anagallis foemina, and white mullein Verbascum lychnitis. Another rare plant which grows at the woodland edge in the same area is the meadow clary Salvia pratensis.

Where's the Path? See the link below
Cobham Woods Maps

Great Crabbles Wood

This site is representative of woods on North West Kent Tertiary sediments; these comprise a succession of strata over Upper Chalk ranging from Blackheath gravels to Woolwich loams and Thanet sands, which give rise to a range of soil types. Most of the woodland is mixed coppice under oak standards, with sweet chestnut as the dominant species. A number of scarce plants occur, including lady orchid Orchis purpurea and man orchid Aceras anthropophorum. Acidic Blackheath gravels form a ridge in the northern part of the wood; this slopes away gradually to the south east, with neutral Woolwich loams on the upper slope and calcareous Thanet sands underlying the southern half of the wood. Chalk outcrops in the south-east corner. The succession of soils is reflected in the species composition of the tree canopy, shrub layer and ground flora.
Dry, open oak-birch woodland with a ground flora of bracken and bramble on the Blackheath gravels merges with sweet chestnut coppice under oak standards on the damper Woolwich loams. The oak standards are chiefly pedunculate oak, although sessile oak also occurs, especially on the ridge. Other coppice species present include hornbeam, ash, field maple and hazel, and the ground flora is dominated by dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis and bramble. The woodland on the calcareous Thanet sands is similar to that on the loams, but the scarce plant bird’s foot Ornithopus perpusillus has also been recorded. A strip of woodland along the southern boundary is dominated by hazel and ash coppice, with some field maple, sweet chestnut and hornbeam coppice under pedunculate oak standards. The shrub layer is varied and includes spindle, wayfaring tree and traveller’s joy, which are all characteristic of the calcareous soils. The diverse ground flora is dominated by dog’s mercury with ivy Hedera helix and several scarce species are present. These include lady orchid, man orchid, white helleborine Cephalanthera damasonium, bird’s nest orchid Neottia nidus-avis, wild liquorice Astragalus glycyphyllos and spurge laurel Daphne laureola.
Where's the Path? See the link below
Great Crabbles Wood Maps
More Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Kent
Rochester
Neolithic remains have been found in the vacinity of Rochester. Immediately prior to the Roman invasion is was one of the wo administrative centres of the Cantiaci tribe. During the Roman invasion a fierce battle was fought over the river crossing. The first bridge was subsequently constructed and in the later period the settlement walled in stone.

Rochester was variouosly occupied by Celts, Jutes and/or Saxons. King Ethelbert of Kent (560-616) established a legal system which has been preserved in the 12th century Textus Roffensis. In AD 604 The bishopric and cathedral were established. during this length period from the recall of the legions until the Norman conquest, Rochester was sacked at least twice and besieged on another occasion. Such activity testifiest to the importance of the settlement and its bridges.

The medieval period saw the building of the current cathedral (1080-1130, 1227 and 1343), the building of two castles and the establishment of a significant town. The castle saw action in the sieges of 1215 and 1264. The basic street plan was established, constrained by the river, Watling street, the castle and the priory.

Rochester has produced two Martyrs, St. John Fisher executed by Henry VIII because he refused to sanction the divorce of Catherine of Aragon and Nicholas Ridley executed by Queen Mary as a Protestant martyr.

The city was raided by the Dutch as part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The Dutch under de Ruijter broke through the chain at Upnor and sailed to Rochester Bridge capturing and firing the English fleet. Trophies from the raid are in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

In 1701 Sir Joseph Williamson left a bequest to establish the Mathematical School. Unlike earlier schools (such as King's) it was not tied to a religious establishment but was open for practical instruction. In the following century Thomas Avelingstarted a small business in 1850 producing and repairing agricultural plant. In 1861 this became the firm of Aveling & Porter, which was to become the largest manufacturer of agricultural machines and steam rollers in the country.

The ancient City of Rochester merged with the borough of Chatham and part of the Strood Rural District in 1974 to form the Borough of Medway. It was later renamed Rochester-upon-Medway, and the city status transferred to the entire borough. In 1998 another merger with the rest of the Medway Towns created the Medway unitary authority. The outgoing council neglected to appoint ceremonial "Charter Trustees" to continue to represent the historic Rochester area, causing Rochester to lose its city status - an error not even noticed by the council for four years, until 2002.

Rochester has for centuries been of great strategic importance through its position near the confluence of the Thames and the Medway. Its castle was built to guard the river crossing, and the Royal Dockyard at Chatham was the foundation of the Royal Navy's long period of supremacy. The town, as part of Medway, is surrounded by two circles of fortresses; the inner line built during the Napoleonic wars consists of Fort Clarence, Fort Pitt, Fort Amherst and Fort Gillingham. The outer line of "Palmerston" forts was built during the 1860s in light of the report by The Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom and consists of Fort Borstal, Fort Bridgewood, Fort Luton, and the Twydall Redoubts, with 2 additional forts on islands in the Medway, Fort Hoo and Fort Darnet.

During the First World War the Short Brothers' aircraft company manufactured the first plane to launch a torpedo, the Short Admiralty Type 184, at its seaplane factory on the River Medway not far from Rochester Castle. In the inter-war period the company established a world-wide reputation as a constructor of flying boats with aircraft such as the Singapore, Empire 'C'-Class and Sunderland. During the Second World War, Shorts also designed and manufactured the first four-engined bomber, the Stirling.

The decline in naval power and in shipbuilding in general led to the government abandoning the shipyard at Chatham in 1984, and the subsequent demise of much of the marine industry.
Rochester and its neighbours, Chatham and Gillingham, form a single large urban area known as the Medway Towns with a population of about 250,000. However Rochester has always governed land on the other side of the Medway in Strood. This was known as Strood Intra; before 1835 it was about 100 yards wide and stretched to Gun Lane. In the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act the boundaries were extended to include more of Strood and Frindsbury, and part of Chatham known as Chatham Intra. In 1974, Rochester City Council was abolished and superseded by Medway Borough Council, which also included the parishes of Cuxton, Halling and Cliffe, and the Hoo Peninsula. In 1979 the borough became Rochester-upon-Medway. The Mayor of Rochester was also Admiral of the Medway and this dignity was transferred to the Mayor of Medway when that unitary authority was created, along with the Admiralty Court for the river which is constituted as a committee of the Council.

Like many of the mediaeval towns of England Rochester had municipal Freemen whose civic duties were abolished by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. However, the working guild of Free Fishers and Dredgers continued and still have rights, duties and responsibilities on the Medway, between Sheerness and Hawkwood Stone. This authority is effected through their attendance at the Admiralty Court as the jury of Freemen responsible for the conservancy of the river through current legislation. The freedom is passed through 'servitude' i.e. apprenticeship to a working freeman. The annual ceremonial beating of the bounds on the river takes place after the Court, usually on the first Saturday of July.

Rochester obtained city status in 1211, but due to an administrative error when Rochester was absorbed by the Medway unitary authority it lost city status. Subsequently, the Medway unitary authority has applied for city status for Medway as a whole, rather than for Rochester. Medway applied unsuccessfully for city status in 2000 and 2002, and is applying again for the Queen's Jubilee Year in 2012, but is competing with a number of other towns for the honour. The City of Rochester Society has argued that the application for city status should be under the name of "Rochester-upon-Medway" rather than "Medway", as city status has only ever been given to places rather than notional government districts, and the Green Party have also campaigned for the application for city status to be for Rochester rather than Medway.

Watling Street passes through the town, and to the south the River Medway is bridged by the M2 motorway and High
For parishes in the wider Rochester area see Strood and Frindsbury.

There may have been a church in Eastgate dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, but there is only a passing Saxon reference to it.

There were three medieval parishes: St Nicholas', St Margaret's and St Clement's. St. Clement's was in Horsewash Lane and when the last Vicar died in 1538 the parish was amalgamated with St Nicholas'. The remains of the building were finally eradicated by the building of the railway in the 1850s. St Nicholas' Church was built in 1421 alongside the Cathedral to serve the people of Rochester. The Cathedral was part of the Benedictine monastery of St Andrew and hence not a parish church.

After the Reformation the Cathedral was refounded as the Cathedral church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary and remained not a parish church. In the 19thC the parish of St Peter's was created to serve the burgeoning city the new church being consecrated 1859. Following demographic shifts St Peter's and St Margaret's were recombined into a joint parish in 1953 and in 1971 the parish of St Nicholas with St Clement was absorbed into it. The combined parish is now "The Parish of St Peter with St Margaret" centred on the new (1973) Parish Centre in the Delce (St Peter's) with St Margaret's being retained as a Chapel of Ease. Old St Peter's was demolished in 1974, St Nicholas' Church has been converted into the Diocesan offices, but remains consecrated. Continued expansion South has led to the formation of a further new parish of St Justus (1956) covering the Tideway estate and surrounding area.

The town is home to a number of important historic buildings, the most prominent of which are the Guildhall, the Corn Exchange, Restoration House, Eastgate House, Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral. Many of the buildings in the town centre date from the 18th century or as early as the 14th century.

Rochester City Council bought the land at Rochester Airfield in September 1933 from the landowner as the site for a municipal airport. One month later Short Brothers, who had started building aircraft in 1909 on the Isle of Sheppey, asked for permission to lease the land for test flying.

In 1934-5 Short Brothers took over the Rochester Airport site when they moved some of their personnel from the existing seaplane works. The inaugural flight into Rochester was from Gravesend, John Parker flying their Short Scion G-ACJI.

In 1979 the lease reverted to the council. After giving thorough consideration to closing the airport, GEC (then comprising Marconi and instrument makers Elliot Automation) decided to take over management of the airport. It maintained two grass runways while releasing some land for light industrial expansion.

Rochester railway station
Rochester station building. The railway passes at first floor level on a viaduct.

The town was for many years the favourite of Charles Dickens who lived nearby at Gads Hill Place, Higham, and who based many of his novels in the area. Descriptions of the town appear in Pickwick Papers , Great Expectations and lightly fictionalised as Cloisterham in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Restoration house located on Crow Lane was the house on which Charles Dickens based Miss Havisham's (from Great Expectations) house, Satis House. This link is celebrated in Rochester's Dickens Festival each June in the Summer Dickens Festival and December with the Dickensian Christmas Festival. The 16th century red-brick Eastgate House once housed the town's museum. In the 1980s the museum was moved further west to the Guildhall so that Eastgate House could become the Charles Dickens Centre.

In the same decade the High Street was redecorated with Victorian-style street lights and hanging flower baskets to give it a more welcoming atmosphere.

The Dickens Centre was ultimately unprofitable and shut in November 2004. Medway Council's Cabinet agreed proposals for the restoration and development of Eastgate House as a major cultural and tourist facility, and for the project to be recognised as a key cultural regeneration project on 7 November 2006.

Since 1980 the town has seen the revival of the historic Rochester Jack-in-the-Green May Day dancing chimney sweeps tradition, which died out in the early 1900s. Whilst not unique to Rochester, (similar sweeps gatherings were held right across southern England, notably in Bristol, Deptford, Whitstable and Hastings), the Rochester revival was directly inspired by Dicken's description of the celebration in Sketches by Boz.

It has since grown from a small gathering of local Morris dance sides, to one of the largest in the world.

The current festival begins with the awakening of the Jack-in-the-Green ceremony, atop Blue Bell Hill at sunrise on May 1. and continues in Rochester High Street over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

A new library was built alongside the Adult Education Centre, Eastgate. This enabled the registry office to move from Maidstone Road, Chatham to the Corn Exchange in Rochester High Street (where the library was housed). As mentioned in a report presented to Medway Council's community services overview and scrutiny committee on 28 March 2006, the new library opened in late summer (2006).

Dame Agnes Sybil Thorndike CH DBE, actress, lived in Minor Cannon's row adjacent to the Cathedral. Her father was a Canon of Rochester Cathedral. She was educated at The Rochester Grammar School for Girls. A local doctors' practice, local dental practice and a hall at The Rochester Grammar School are all named after her.

Rochester is the setting of the controversial 1965 Peter Watkins television film The War Game, which depicts the town's destruction by a nuclear missile. The opening sequence was shot in Chatham Town Hall, but the credits particularly thank the people of Dover, Gravesend and Tonbridge.

The 1959 James Bond Goldfinger describes Bond driving along the A2 through the Medway Towns from Strood to Chatham. Of interest is the mention of "inevitable traffic jams" on the Strood side of Rochester Bridge, the novel being written some years prior to the construction of the M2 motorway Medway bypass.

Churches:
St Nicholas
St Margaret
Kent Place Names
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If you have wandered through the Kent Downs whether on foot, by horse, bicycle or car will have, at one time or another, pondered over the meaning of place names of towns , villages or hamlets that we normally take for granted in our everyday lives. Places such as Pett Bottom, Bigbury and Bobbing conjure up all manner of intriguing images as to the activities of former inhabitants, while others such as Whatsole Street, Smersole or Hartlip appear completely baffling.
Although most place names may appear at first sight to be random elements of words thrown together in no particular order, most are surprisingly easy to decipher with some elementary grounding in Old English. Over the centuries most of the Old English words have themselves corrupted and changed to appear as we know them today.
Kent Place Names
Kentish Dialect
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Modern Kentish dialect shares many features with other areas of south-east England (sometimes collectively called "Estuary English"). Other characteristic features are more localised. For instance some parts of Kent, particularly in the north west of the county, share many features with broader Cockney.

A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms: in use in the county of Kent' by W.D.Parish and W.F.Shaw (Lewes: Farncombe,1888)
'The Dialect of Kent: being the fruits of many rambles' by F. W. T. Sanders (Private limited edition, 1950). Every attempt was made to contact the author to request permission to incorporate his work without success. His copyright is hereby acknowledged.
Kentish Dialect
Kent Parishes

Kent Parishes
Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales 1894 -1895

ROCHESTER PARISH

Rochester, a municipal and parliamentary borough, a market-town, and a parish in Kent, and a diocese in Kent, Essex, and Herts. The borough stands on Watling Street, on the right bank of the river Medway, with stations on the L.O. & D.R. and S.E.R., 29 miles E by S of London. It adjoins Strood on the W and Chatham on the E, in such manner that the three towns practically form one. The two railways, from stations at respectively Chatham and Strood, give it inland communication with all parts of the kingdom; and the river Medway, from its own quays, give it navigation both inward for barges to Maidstone, and outward for seaborne vessels to the Thames and the ocean.

History.-An ancient British stronghold seems to have occupied the site of Rochester. A Roman castrum succeeded, and took the name of Dnrobrivae or Durobrivis, from the Celtic words dwr and briva, the former signifying " water," the latter indicating " a ferry." A Saxon chieftain called Hrof afterwards settled at it, and occasioned it to be known to the Saxons as Hrofe-ceastre, signifying " Hrofs castle." Ethelbert walled it in 600-4, and founded at it a missionary church which became the nucleus of the cathedral. Ethelred plundered it in 676. The Danes attacked it in 839 and 885, and were driven off in the latter year by Alfred. Etheldred besieged it in 986. The Danes sacked it in 998. William the Conqueror built a new castle on the site of the Saxon or Roman fort, and gave it to Bishop Odo. William Rufus besieged and took the castle in 1088. Henry I. attended the dedication of the new or reconstructed cathedral in 1130. The city was greatly injured by fire in the same year, and in 1137 and 1177. John took the castle from the barons in 1215, and Louis the Dauphin retook it in the following year. A tournament was held at the city, in the presence of Henry IIL, in 1251. Simon de Montford took the city, and besieged the castle, in 1264. Wat Tyier in his insurrection attacked the castle, and Edward IV. repaired it. Henry VIII. and Charles V. visited the city in 1522. Two Protestant martyrs were burnt in it in 1556. Elizabeth visited it in 1573, and Charles II. at the Restoration. The plague ravaged it in 1665. James II. embarked at it in his flight in 1688. Christian VII. slept at it in 1768. Queen Victoria went repeatedly through it in 1856. John de Salisbury, the friend of A'Becket, was a native; Dickens the novelist spent in it the earliest years of his life; and the families of Wilmot and Hyde took from it the title of Earl.

Structure.-The city is straggling, and extends over considerable space along the river. The main street is nearly in a line with the main street of Strood, and is continuous with the main street of Chatham. The streets for the most part are irregularly aligned, but they are well paved and have been much improved. The general view in combination with Strood and Chatham, as seen in the approach from the W, is very striking; discloses a curious mixture of old and new things, of quietude and activity; and includes, as chief objects, the castle and cathedral in the city, Fort Pitt on a hill above Chatham, and a throng of ships and steamers in the river. The city walls were suffered to fall into decay after the time of Edward IV., but remains of them still exist, and the fortifications of Chatham afford ample defence. The castle stands at the SW angle of the city; was defended on one side by the Medway, on the other sides by a deep fosse; retains traces of the fosse and much of the outer walls, with square open towers at intervals; and consists now chiefly of a Norman quadrangular keep, 70 feet square, 104 high, and from 11 to 13 thick in the walls, arranged in four storeys, and surmounted at each angle with a buttress-tower 12 feet square and rising above the principal mass. In 1883 the castle with its grounds was purchased by the corporation from the Earl of Jersey, and the grounds have been laid out for public recreation. A hillock called Boley Hill is close to the castle, seems to be partly or even mainly artificial, and is crowned by the house of Satis where Watts entertained Queen Elizabeth. Many Roman bricks, urns, coins, and other relics have been found on Boley Hill and around the castle. A wooden bridge of uncertain antiquity crossed the Medway in a line with High Street, was defended at its E end by a wooden tower and strong gates, and continued in use till the fifteenth year of Richard II. A stone bridge about 40 yards nearer the castle succeeded the wooden one, was 560 feet long and 24 wide between the parapets, had eleven arches, and continued in use till 1856. An iron bridge, on the site of the wooden one, was erected in 1857-58 at a cost of £200,000, has a centre arch 170 feet in span and two side arches each 140 feet in span, and includes toward the E end a swing bridge, turning on a pivot, and laying open a passage 50 feet wide for the transit of vessels. A railway viaduct, taking the North Kent line onward to a junction with the London, Chatham, and Dover line, crosses immediately below, and is an ungainly structure. The town-hall was built in 1687, is a brick structure with Doric columns, and contains portraits of William III., Queen Anne, and Sir C. Shovel. The clock-house, on the site of the old guildhall, was built in 1706 by Sir C. Shovel, and projects into High Street. The county court office in High Street was built in 1862, and is a commodious brick edifice in the Tudor style. A new corn exchange, to conjoin with the old one, was erected in 1870-71. There are Liberal and Conservative clubs. Other public buildings are the theatre, the custom-house, and the Fort Clarence military prison.



Much more information for Rochester Parish via the link below

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