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Faversham is, ecclesiastically, in the diocese of Canterbury, in the archdeaconry of Canterbury and in the deanery of Ospringe. The church is named for St Mary of Charity with original parish registers commencing 1620.
Faversham, or Feversham, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred in Kent. The town stands on Watling Street, on a navigable creek of the river Swale, adjacent to the junction of the Margate railway with the London, Chatham, and Dover railway, opposite the southeast curve of Sheppey Isle, 9 miles west-north-west of Canterbury. It was known to the Saxons as Favresfield, and to the Normans as Favreshant. It was a seat of the Saxon kings in 811, and the meeting place of a wittenagemot, under Athelstan, in 930. It acquired much consequence from the founding of an abbey at it, by Stephen and Matilda, in 1147-9. It was visited, by Henry VIII, in 1519, 1522, and 1545; by his sister Mary, in 1515; by Elizabeth, in 1573; by Charles II, in 1660; by James II, in 1688, when he was endeavouring to escape to France, and when he was seized by the sailors.
The town consists principally of four streets, in the form of an irregular cross, and of considerable length, spacious and well paved; but may be said to include the suburbs of Preston, Brents Town, and Ospringe. Its chief public buildings are a guild hall, a jail, a custom house, an assembly room, a literary institute, a parish church, six dissenting chapels, a grammar school, national schools, alms houses and a workhouse.
The guild hall stands in the centre of the town; and is supported upon pillars, and partly timbered. The jail is a borough one; and contains two cells for men and one for women. The assembly room stands in Preston Street, and was built in 1848. The literary institute comprises lecture room, reading room, museum, and class rooms; and was opened in 1862.
The church is cruciform; occupies the site of an ancient Saxon one; is supposed to have been used by the monks of the abbey on great festivals, but stands at some distance from the site of the abbey buildings; has, at different times, been entirely remodeled; was recently subjected to thorough restoration; is chiefly early English, of much size and great beauty, but has, or recently had, debased Corinthian character in its nave; has also a curious western tower, of about the year 1800; and contains a very fine modern font of alabaster and serpentine, a number of interesting early English paintings recently laid open, three sedilia with detached pilasters, a richly canopied later English altar tomb, another tomb with decorated canopy, alleged to be the tomb of King Stephen, a brass of Henry Hatche, of 1533, who was a great benefactor to the town and a mural monument of Thomas Mendfield, who figured as a prominent official in the Cinque ports. There were formerly in the church a chapel of Thomas of Canterbury, and altars of Erasmus, Crispin, and Crispina. These altars were much frequented by devotees; and the persons, or reputed saints, to whom they were dedicated, were locally held in high veneration. Crispin and Crispina were said to have been shipwrecked and buried at Stone Point, near Lydd; and the festival of St. Crispin was long the chief holiday of the town.
The abbey stood on ground now called Abbey Farm; was commonly called St. Saviour's of Faversham; was first Cluniac, afterwards Benedictine; was the burial place of King Stephen, his queen Matilda, their son Eustace, and many noble personages; held such rank that its abbots, in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, sat in thirteen several parliaments; was given, at the dissolution, to Sir Thomas Cheney, and sold afterwards to Thomas Arden, the subject of a tragedy printed in 1592; is now represented only by foundations and part of a boundary wall.
An Independent chapel was built in 1865, at a cost of £3,000; and is in the second pointed style.
The grammar school was founded, in 1527, for novices in the abbey; passed, at the dissolution, to the crown; was regranted by Elizabeth; and has now a house built, in 1577, at the town's expense, and an endowed income of £200.
The national schools were recently erected, at a cost of upwards of £7,500; and are an extensive suite of building, in the Gothic style.
A new row of alms houses, under a new scheme for the administration of Wreight's charity, was erected in 1863; includes a chapel; and cost upwards of £11,500.
The income of the borough charities is above £3,740. There are also some parochial charities; and there is, on the east side of the town, a recreation ground of 20 acres. The workhouse can accommodate 500 inmates. The vicar buried, in December 1863, four individuals, whose united ages amounted to 377 years.
The town has a head post office with a savings bank and money order office, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, and four chief inns; is a bonding port and member of Dover Cinque port; and publishes a weekly newspaper. Markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday; and fairs on 25 February, 12 August and 11 October. A considerable trade in corn, hops and wool is carried on. The growth of madder, in the vicinity and at Dartford, was introduced in 1660. An extensive oyster fishery dates from remote times, and belongs to a "company of free fishermen and dredgermen" of the hundred of Faversham. An extensive manufacture of cement employs a large number of persons. Gunpowder mills were established adjacent to the town before the time of Elizabeth; exploded, with dreadful effects in 1781; were rebuilt at some distance from their former site; and are now among the most important in the kingdom. An ancient quay, called the Thorn, and mentioned by Leland, was long ago relinquished; and three new quays, now in use, are close to the town. The creek, at the harbour, has about 12 feet of water at ordinary spring tides; and the navigation of it has been improved at a cost of upwards of £30,000.
The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1863, were 14 small sailing vessels, of aggregately 5,692 tons; 162 large sailing vessels, of aggregately 22,058 tons; and 2 steam vessels, of jointly 22 tons. The vessels which entered, in 1862, were 1 British vessel, of 80 tons, from the colonies; 64 British vessels, of aggregately 1,829 tons, from foreign countries; 9 foreign vessels, of aggregately 648 tons, from foreign countries; and 1,599 sailing vessels, of aggregately 126,985 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared, in that year, were 1 British vessel, of 44 tons, to the colonies; 65 British vessels, of aggregately 1,654 tons, to foreign countries; 12 foreign vessels, of aggregately 748 tons, to foreign countries; 1,039 sailing vessels, of aggregately 40,180 tons, coastwise; and 1 steam vessel, of 152 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs, in 1867, was £1,294. The exports consist chiefly of country produce; and the imports are chiefly timber, iron, pitch, and tar from Sweden and Norway, and coals from Sunderland.
Faversham is a borough by prescription; had numerous charters; and is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. The limits include the In-liberty of Faversham parish, and a part of Ospringe parish. Real property, in 1860, £19,350; of which £105 were in gas works. Population of the In-liberty in 1851, 4,440; in 1861, 5,708. Houses, 1,089. Population of the whole, in 1861, 5,858. Houses, 1,119. The increase of population arose from the conversion of extensive grounds into a brick field, and from the erection of houses for the brick workers.
Hamo de Faversham, Simon de Faversham, Wilson the musician, and Bishop Herbert Marsh, were natives.
Some curious chalk caverns, with columns, are in the neighbourhood; and were thought by Camden to be excavations by the ancient Britons for chalk dressing.
The parish consists of In-liberty and Out-liberty. Acres, 2,469; of which 200 are water. Real property, exclusive of the town, £7,104. Population in 1851, 5,057; in 1861, 6,383. Houses, 1,177.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, £342 with a habitable glebe house. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.
The sub-district contains also the parishes of Ospringe, Preston-next-Faversham, Goodnestone, Davington and Oare. Acres, 8,371. Population in 1861, 9,473. Houses, 1,772.
The district comprehends also the sub-district of Teynham, containing the parishes of Teynham, Luddenham, Buckland, Stone-next-Faversham, Norton, Eastling, Stalisfield, Newnham, Doddington and Lynstead; and the sub-district of Boughton, containing the parishes of Boughton-Blean, Hernhill, Graveney, Selling, Sheldwich, Badlesmere, Leaveland and Throwley. Acres, 46,488. Poor rates in 1862, £8,974. Population in 1851, 16,684; in 1861, 18,867. Houses, 3,690. Marriages in 1860, 140; births, 577 of which 29 were illegitimate; deaths, 334, of which 125 were at ages under 5 years, and 12 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,352; births, 5,746; deaths, 3,496.
The places of worship, in 1851, were 25 of the Church of England, with 6,658 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 751 sittings; 1 of Baptists with 300 sittings; 11 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,713 sittings; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 40 sittings; 5 of Bible Christians, with 381 sittings; and 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 100 sittings.
The schools were 14 public day schools, with 1,300 scholars; 40 private day schools, with 1,682 scholars; and 28 Sunday schools, with 2,109 scholars.
The hundred is in the lathe of Scray; and contains eighteen parishes and part of another. Acres, 24,792. Population in 1861, 5,173. Houses, 943.1
1 John Marius Wilson, comp. The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).
-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates. [Note: The following volumes can be found on archive.org: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online
Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).
Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005). URL: British History Online.
Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908). URL: British History Online
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323. URL: British History Online.
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302. URL: British History Online.
Location of Records
The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England. This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues. If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.
Church Records, Church of England
Church Records, Non-Conformist
Parish chest records
Workhouse and Poor Law Records
Assizes and Sessions Records
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|Churchwarden's Presentments||Currently under revision|
|Parish rate books||Currently under revision|
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1801 - 3,488
(out Liberty 124)
1811 - 3,872
(out Liberty 217)
1821 - 4,208
(out Liberty 289)
1831 - 4,429
(out Liberty 447)
1841 - 4,621
(out Liberty 581)
1851 - 5,057
(out Liberty 617)
1861 - 6,383
(out Liberty 675)
1871 - 7,973
(out Liberty 891)
1881 - 9,484
(out Liberty 978)
1891 - 10,550
(out Liberty no longer distinguished)
1901 - 11,488
1911 - 10,861
1921 - 10,927
*Population combined for both In and Out Liberties. That portion belonging to Out Liberty population given in brackets.
London 44.4 mi.
Canterbury 8.4 mi.
Ashford 11.8 mi.
Chatham 15.7 mi.
Cranbrook 21.5 mi.
Dartford 31.3 mi.
Deptford 41.6 mi.
Dover 22.4 mi.
Folkestone 19.9 mi.
Gravesend 23.8 mi.
Greenwich 39.8 mi.
Hythe 19.2 mi.
Maidstone 16.0 mi.
Margate 21.8 mi.
Milton Regis 7.1 mi.
Queenborough 9.2 mi.
Ramsgate 23.1 mi.
Rochester 18.5 mi.
Sandwich 20.0 mi.
Sheerness 10.7 mi.
Tenterden 19.2 mi.
Tonbridge 27.7 mi.
Woolwich 37.7 mi.