(Post-Lockdown)| On my recent road trip around Kent, one of our stops was the picturesque town of Faversham. Admittedly, this small town was not the original destination. Originally planning to go to Dover, we changed our mind last minute. I saw some beautiful videos on social media and it tempted me! It definitely worked out for the better and we spent a good few hours exploring everything Faversham had to offer.
Unfortunately due to Covid, it being Sunday and a town full of small businesses, the large majority of Faversham was actually closed. This meant that we didn’t see the town to its full potential, nor did we get the opportunity to learn about any of its history. Luckily for you, I have done some intense research on the town so you can head over there and enjoy it fully! I know History might be boring for some, so I’ve grabbed some information and converted it into absorbable bite sized chunks. Not only that, but I’ve paired it with some of my photos from there too. It really is a beautiful town, jam packed with history. So let’s get to it!
Faversham and the Romans
Faversham was actually established as a settlement BEFORE the Romans arrived in the UK in 43AD. It was then around 50AD where it became part of the established Roman road network (the A2) linking Londinium (London), Durovernum Cantiacorum (Canterbury) and Dubris (Dover) To give you some perspective, the famous Julius Caeser actually came to the UK in 55BC, almost 100 years later.
Several years ago (back in 2013) archaeologists surprisingly found a traditional Roman Theatre in the countryside of Faversham! It’s an estimate that it would have been able to host 12,000 people and was actually the first of it’s kind found in the UK! If you’re picturing what the famous colosseum in Rome looks like (or would’ve), you’d be correct!
The age of Favreshant and the Domesday book
Skipping to over 1000 years later, with Faversham still going strong, we enter the age of Faversham being called Favreshant. After William The Conqueror came to the UK (The Battle of Hastings – 1066), he ordered that the great Domesday Book was created (pronounced like Doomsday!) Written in medieval Latin, the Domesday Book is noted as one of the most important documentations of our own history.
So what exactly is the Domesday book? Is it really as morbid as it sounds? In short, it’s actually a large survey of what each town (or shire) was like, who occupied that and what they were like too. How much land they owned, what was on that land and so on.
“nor one cow nor one pig which there was left out”
Faversham town market was also recorded in the Domesday Book, and this market is still going to this very day! (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays every week)
Pictured: What Faversham Abbey looked like. Source: Google
The Lost Abbey
Once, there was a great Abbey which stood in the heart of Faversham. Founded by King Stephen and his wife Matilda. King Stephen had high hopes of ruling over England for years to come and creating a successor, and it did happen for some time. Faversham actually became England’s capital while he reigned! This momentum and dream unfortunately died with him in 1154, with his wife and son dying shortly before him. In 1538, the Abbey was destroyed and the bones of King Stephen and his family were unsympathetically tossed into the local river. Yikes.
Skipping ahead to the 16th Century
16th Century Faversham became quite the noisy destination, as it was named the centre of England’s explosive industry! With all the right attributes, such as enough stream power for windmills (which also fed into a creak where Sulphur could be imported) and charcoal found on the outskirts of the town, these were the perfect ingredients and in turn, this town caused quite a bang (please forgive my puns!). The first few smaller factories were actually placed along the Roman road I mentioned earlier! Later turning into a larger factorie. Sadly, this historical gunpowder factory was later closed in 1934, with rumours of the impending war (WW2 – 1939) spooking the factory owners.
That concludes my short but sweet post on Faversham. I hope you enjoyed it and didn’t feel too overwhelmed with the History lesson! Personally I love history. (I regret not taking it for my GCSE’s!) so I enjoyed researching this town a little more in depth. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
*Disclaimer: Please check local travel advice before travelling, including mask regulations and individual town requirements.
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