Зображення сторінки

oysters, are annually exported to London ; and a bran'ch both of the Customs and Excise is established here.

This place is a member of the port of Dover, and its present government is vested, by a charter of Henry VIII., in a Mayor, twelve Jurats, (the Mayor being one) twenty-four Commoners, a Steward, &c. It does not appear ever to have returned representatives to Parliament, although in 930 King Athelstan here assembled a Wittenagemot, or Meeting of the Wise Men of the nation; and from this circumstance it is probable that the Saxon monarchs had a palace here. The manor belonged to the Crown until the reign of Stephen, who granted it for the support of an Abbey of Cluniac Monks, founded here by himself and his queen; he also conferred many privileges and immunities on them, which occasioned long and serious contentions with the inhabitants, with whose rights and property they greatly interfered. They were, however, in a great measure confirmed by succeeding monarchs, and it was not until the Dissolution* that the townsmen obtained the power of electing and confirming their own magistrates. Scarcely a vestige remains of the magnificent Abbey, and not a stone points out the site of its Church, in which were interred King Stephen, his faithful consort Matilda, their son Eustace, and many other persons of distinction. At the Dissolution, it is said, their tombs were broken open and ransacked, and the King's body, for the sake of the lead in which it was enclosed, thrown into the river; a disgraceful instance of the barbarous profanation of nature's last asylum, too common at that period, when rapine and wanton mischief assumed the names of piety and zeal for

pure religion. This town consists principally of four streets, crossing each other; in the centre is the market place, in which considerable business is done twice

* Soon after this event, a great part of the possessions of the Abbey were granted by the King to Sir Thomas Cheyney, who in a few years sold them to Thomas Ardern, Mayor of Feversham in 1548, and who was cruelly murdered by his wife, her paramour, and accomplices, in 1550. For this deed, Alice his wife was burnt at Canterbury, and six others were executed at various places. The story was dramatized in 1592, under the title of “ Arden of Feversham, a true Tragedy," which is generally attributed to Shakspeare, although not printed among his works.

a week. The Town Hall is a neat and convenient building, supported by pillars, and having a paved area underneath.

The Church is a very ancient structure, originally founded before the Conquest, soon after which event it was given, with the tithes of the manor, by the King to St. Augustine's Abbey, at Canterbury. The present edifice is spacious and handsome, built of flint, in the form of a cross, with a light ornamented tower and spire at the west end. The oldest parts of it appear to be of the age of Edward II., but a portion of it was rebuilt in 1755, at an expence of about £2500, and the present tower and spire have been since erected.

In the Church-yard is a free Grammar School, founded in 1576, for the education of boys in this town and five miles round; there are also two Charity Schools, and a National School, on the plan of Dr. Bell, established in 1814; an excellent Workhouse, and several Alms-houses. The town is well lighted and paved, and an Assembly Room and Theatre agreeably vary the occupations of its inhabitants,

Feversham has long been famous for the manufacture of gunpowder, which is still carried on, but to a much less extent than during the war. In April, 1781, a dreadful explosion took place here, by the ignition of 7000lbs. of powder, when the corningmill, &c. were blown to atoms, many workmen killed, and the air for several miles round was so impregnated with sulphur, as materially to affect respiration. The town and adjacent villages suffered very much; the sound was heard at twenty miles distance; at Canterbury, eleven miles off, it caused a sensation like an earthquake; and the pillar of smoke and flame arising from it was visible in the Isle of Thanet.

The Oyster fishery is the principal source of the trade of this town, and is managed by " the Company of Free Fishermen and Dredgermen of the Hundred of Feversham," into which company no person is admitted, unless he has served an apprenticeship of seven years to a freeman, and is himself married. Beside the great quantities of oysters sent to London, very large shipments are made to Holland, &c.; and the fishery is said to support

upwards of one hundred families. The population of Feversham was, in 1821, stated to be 3900.

FOLKSTONE Is a very ancient town, 71 miles from London, supposed to have been known to the Romans, as numerous coins of that people have been found here. A Nunnery was erected in this place by Eadbald, King of Kent, of which his daughter, Eanswith, became the first prioress; and when the inroads of the sea threatened to destroy the edifice, the precious relics of this royal saint were removed to the present church, which is dedicated to her, conjointly with St. Mary; and here, as we are informed by Hasted,

her stone coffin was discovered about the middle of the seventeenth century, in which lay her corpse in its perfect form; and by it, on each side, hourglasses, and several medals or coins.” This building is beautifully situated on an eminence, forming a conspicuous landmark, and is in the shape of a cross, with a central tower. It contains several monuments, among which is one to the memory of the Rev. W. Langhorne, with a poetical inscription by his brother Dr. Langhorne, whom he assisted in his excellent translation of Plutarch. The town had formerly four other churches, St. Eanswith's nunnery, a castle, and other buildings, which have all been obliterated by the constant encroachments of the sea on this part of the coast.

Beside the Church above-mentioned, several classes of Dissenters have here their respective places of worship; and a Free Grammar School, and some other charitable institutions have been long established.

Folkstone is a member of the Cinque Ports, and is governed by a Mayor, who is annually elected, twelve Jurats, and twenty-four Commoners; its inhabitants, whose number in 1821 was 4541, are principally engaged in the fishery, which is here excellent, and in other maritime pursuits. Two Markets are held weekly, and the Market-house, erected by the late Earl of Radnor, is a neat building. To this nobleman, and to his son, the present Earl, this town (which is their property) is greatly indebted for the improvements which during the last twenty years have been made in it, and by which, aiding the natural beauties of its situation, it has become a favourite watering-place; it has now boarding houses, hot and cold baths, &c. and promises, ere long, to stand high among the summer resorts with which this coast abounds. The Harbour, which was small and inconvenient, has been much benefited by the erection of a stone pier some years ago, and large sums have been since expended in its improvement.

Dr. William Harvey, celebrated as the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, was born in Folkstone in 1578, and after studying physic during five years at Cambridge, travelled through France, Germany, and Italy, where he increased his knowledge of his favourite science; and returning to London in 1602, practised with great success during many years. About 1615 he promulgated his grand discovery, and was appointed Physician to James I. and afterwards to his unfortunate successor, his attachment to whom subjected Harvey to the displeasure of the Parliamentary Government, and occasioned his retirement to Oxford, where, as a recompence, he was chosen Warden of Merton College, in 1645. After the king's death he returned to London, where he died in 1657, bequeathing his estate to the College of Physicians, of which he had been elected President about three years before, and had enriched with a very valuable Library and Museum.

GILLINGHAM is a pleasant village, about a mile from Chatham, on which its inhabitants principally depend for support; and it has, therefore, like Brompton, shared in the depression of the firstmentioned town. Its population in 1821 was 6209. The Church is an ancient and spacious structure, consisting of a nave, aisles, and chancel; on each side of the latter is a chapel, and at the west end a square tower.

Over the western entrance is the niche which once contained the statue of Our Lady of Gillingham, the object of numerous pilgrimages before the Reformation, The windows of this Church were formerly filled with painted glass, which was almost wholly destroyed by the fanatics of the seventeenth century. The font is very large, of a circular form, and of Norman workmanship.

GRAVESEND Is situated on a declivity leading to the Thames, 22 miles from London. The river, in front of this town, is a great rendezvous for shipping, as most of the vessels in the East and West India trade, as well as many others, are here supplied with live and dead stock, vegetables, &c.; and the constant influx of strangers occasioned by the arrival and departure of their crews, passengers, and visitors, is highly beneficial to the town. Since the introduction of steam navigation, the number of visitants has very much increased, and it has become a bathing-place of some celebrity; its convenient distance from London, and the cheapness of the conveyance, rendering the voyage easy of accomplishment by many persons whose time or finances do not permit a visit to the more remote and fashionable resorts of Margate or Ramsgate. The neighbouring country is pleasant, the air is salubrious, and the Baths are charmingly situated within a quarter of a mile of the town, and command an extensive prospect. Many improvements have been recently made here, the most prominent of which is the substitution of a wide and commodious Quay, and an elegant flight of stone steps, leading from the river, in the place of the wooden stairs formerly here, which were mean and inconvenient.

The manor of Gravesend and Milton was formerly an appendage of the Abbey of St. Mary le Grace, on Tower Hill, London; and one of its Abbots, in the reign of Richard II., obtained a Charter from that monarch, conferring on the inhabitants of these towns the exclusive privilege of conveying passengers to London; which privilege they still enjoy, under certain regulations. The Charter under which the incorporated

towns are governed was granted by Elizabeth, and vests the authority in a Mayor, twelve Jurats, and twenty-four Common-Councilmen.

The Church (and a great part of the town) having been consumed by fire in 1727, the present edifice was erected shortly afterwards, and dedicated to St. George. It is a plain building, commodiously fitted up, with a good organ, and has been lately repaired. The Town Hall is situated in the High Street, and is a neat structure, built in 1764, supported by stone

« НазадПродовжити »