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poor of Rochester ; in consequence of which it is paid to the overseers and churchwardens of the parishes of St. Ni. cholas, St. Margaret, and Stroud, in such proportions as were decreed by the court of chancery.
On the same side of the street is the Free School, founded by Sir Joseph Williamson, secretary of state in the reign of Charles II. and a representative of this city in four parliaments during the reign of William III.
The east gate stood at this end of the High Street, and might be a structure as large and commodious as it was strong; for, by the charter of Edward IV. a licence was given to the mayor and citizens to build upon it, for the use and profit of the city, new houses, as well of stones as wood. A part of it was remaining till the late erection of the houses opposite the free-school. The tide scems occasionally to have flowed across this street, there being, about the year 1529, a legacy bequeathed towards the repair of a bridge of woud in Eastgate. At the bottom of this street a new road that leads to Canterbury opens to . view. On this road the traveller will be entertained with an agreeable view of the Medway, the ordnance office, the dock yard, the guardships, and the ships in ordinary, lying from the bridge at Rochester to Gillingham Fort. The country adjacent serves also to enrich a prospect that the most luxuriant imagination cannot contemplate without pleasure. The road was made in the year 1769, in forming which, the workmen were obliged to cut throngh high hills, and fill up deep valleys. When the scheme was proposed for paving Rochester and Stroud, according to the present mode, the inhabitants of Chatham were invited to accede to the proposal, and join in a petition to parliament for paving the three towns. The offer was rejected, which occasioned the new road to be made behind Chatham *.
* Mr. Brayley has informed us, that “ before the act was applied for, the inhabitants of Chatham (as well as those of Stroud, who accepted the invitation) were repeatedly invited to join in the petition to parliament but the intrigues of an attorney, who had been made a principal in the
At a small distance from the entrance on the new road is St. Catharine's Hospital, founded by Simon Poten, master of the Crown Inn, in 1316, for the support of leprous or other diseased persons. It is now the habitation of twelve poor widows, who have separate rooms to dwell in, are found in coals, candles, and receive each about 50s. per annum.
Since the year 1769 various improvements have taken place in this city, particularly the large suburb denominated Troy Town, in the road to Maidstone.
According to the Population act, it appears that in the year 1800, the number of inhabitants in Rochester was six thousand eight hundred and seventeen; the number. of houses one thousand one hundred and fifty. Through this city passes the road to France, and other parts of the Continent, on which account, in times of peace, Rochester is filled with travellers, and has numerous inns, &c. for their accommodation, which are spacious and convenient. The inhabitants are mostly engaged in trade, or maritime concerns; and on the Medway, near the bridge, is a commodious wharf or quay.
Betwixt Rochester and Chatham is St. Margaret's Bank, on which is a row of houses, that command the river, and are pleasantly situated. The road to Chatham runs under it. At the entrance into Chatham is the king's victualling office, a place of great neatness and conveniency. From which his majesty's ships at Chatham and Sheerness are supplied with provisions. Not far from hence, on the right hand, is a small chapel, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, which belonged to an hospital, that was instituted for the
business, occasioned them to refuse compliance. Through this circumstance, the act was granted to Rochester and Stroud only; and though the people of Chatham, discovering the folly of their conduct, obtained a separate act, for paving, &c. their own town, within three years afterwards, the mischief was then done; for the new road made by the inhabitants of Rochester, being far more commodious than that which went through Chatham, occasioned all the transit and road trade to be carried to the former city."
—Beauties of England. VOL. V. No. 110.
reception of poor and leprous persons. The estates of this community, since the year 1627, have been invested in the deans of Rochester as governors and patrons of the hospital, and the brethren of the same. There were formerly only three brethren, one of whom was always a clergy man, and officiated as the chaplain; but at present, the society consists of four, two of which are in orders. The chapel is now used as a chapel of ease to Chatham church, which is too small for the parishioners, who are very numerous.
On the opposite side of the street, is an hospital, founded by sir John Hawkins, for poor decayed mariners and shipwrights. The building appropriated for their receptioa was finished in 1592, and queen Elizabeth, at the founder's request, granted a charter of incorporation to this charity, by the name of “ The Governors of the Hospital of Sis John Hawkins, knt. at Chatham.” Ten pensioners are maintained here at an allowance of 3s. 6d. per week, and a chaldron of coals yearly. No person is eligible, who bas not been maimed or disabled in the service of the navy, or otherwise brought to poverty. Over the gate, on the outside, is this inscription:
“ The poor you shall always have with you: to whom ye may do good yr ye wyl.”
CHATHAM, a large, populous, but ill-built town, adjoins the east side of Rochester, extending along the banks of the Medway, and up the hill. In the Textus Roffensis, and in the Domesday Book, it is called Cættham and Ceteham, and is described as having a church, and six fisheries value twelve-pence. It had belonged to earl Godwyn, and afterwards to his son Harold II. William I. granted it to bishop Odo; but on his disgrace, the king bestowed it, with the manor of Leeds, in this county, to Hamon de Creve. cæur, or de crepito corde, a Norman knight, the founder of the potent and illustrious family of the same name, who frequently styled themselves Domini de Cetham, and made this the head of their barony, and principal residence, till
the erection of Leeds Castle by Robert de Creveccur. Chatham reverted to the crown in consequence of the disaffection of one of this family, and after having many Bords, was ultimately passed into various families by purchase.
The Dock Yard and ARSENAL, occupies an extensive area on the north side of the town, measuring nearly a mile in length, and is defended on the land side by strong fortifications. This dock appears to have been formed in the time of Elizabeth ; and Camden describes it as “ stored for the finest fleet the sun ever beheld, and ready at a mi. nute's warning; built lately by our most gracious sovereign Elizabeth, at great expense, for the security of her subjects, and the terror of her enemies, with a fort on the shore for its defence ” The original dock, now the ordnance wharf, was so appropriated by James I. who finding it too small and inconvenient for the increasing business of the navy, caused the present dock to be made. This also was enlarged, and improved by Charles I.; many alterations have since been made, and additional buildings erected. It is surrounded by a high wall; the entrance is by a spa. cious gateway, flanked by embattled towers. The store and mast houses are of great extent: one of the storehouses is two hundred and twenty yards in length; in it are deposited prodigious quantities of sails, rigging, hemp, flax, pitch, tar, rosin, and all other necessaries for ship furni. ture, arranged in exact order, so that they can be taken out without confusion; and even a first rate can be equip. ped for sea in a few weeks. The principal mast-house is nearly two hundred and forty feet long, and one hundred and twenty wide: the timbers for the masts are kept floating in two spacious basons. The rope-house is one thousand one hundred and forty feet in length. The sail-loft is nearly seventy yards long. There are four wet-docks, all sufficiently deep and capacious for first rates. The smith's shop contains upwards of twenty forges. The number of artificers and labourers employed here is between three and four thousand. The principal officers of the yard, are a Ee 2
resident commissioner, who has three clerks under him, a clerk of the cheque, a master shipwright, and three assistants, a master attendant, a store-keeper, a clerk of the survey, a clerk of the rope-yard, &c. The Royal Sovereign, a first rate of one hundred guns, was built here in the reign of Charles the Second, who visited the dock for the purpose of seeing her, soon after she was launched. Several first rates have been since built bere, among which are the Royal George, and the Queen Charlotte, both of one hundred guns; (the former being the first ship of that force ever launched from a slip;) and the Ville de Paris, of one hundred and ten guns. Many second and third rates have also been built here, besides frigates, &c.
The ORDNANCE WHARF, which is not unfrequently called the Old Dock, occupies a narrow slip of land below the chalk cliff, between the church and the river. Here are great quantities of naval ordnance in the store-houses, and in the armory, are vast quantities of offensive weapons, as pistols, cutlasses, pikes, pole-axes, &c. The principal officers in this department, are a storekeeper, a clerk of the cheque, and subordinate officers.
The dock yard at Chatham bas lately received a brilliant addition to its entrance. The main-mast of the Victory, the late lord Nelson's Aag ship at the important, to his country, but to him the fatal, Battle off Trafalgar, was ordered by the lords of the Admiralty, to be placed here in its shattered condition, as a memorial how much that gallant admiral had braved danger in the defence of his country.
The increasing importance of these establishments, occasioned great attention to be given to their security during the last century, particularly in the American war, and in the last war in the reign of George II. In the year 1758, when the country was thseatened with a French invasion, an act was passed for the purchase of additional lands, and the erection of such works as might be necessary to secure this important arsenal from the attempts of an enemy. The extensive fortifications called the Lines, were imme. diately commenced, and were continued from the banks of