Faversham, Kent Family History Guide

Faversham is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Kent.

Alternative names: Feversham

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1620
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1560

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Bible Christian Methodist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, French Church, Independent/Congregational, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Harty
  • Leysdown
  • Hernhill
  • Boughton under Blean
  • Oare
  • Eastchurch
  • Sheldwich
  • Davington
  • Ospringe
  • Luddenham
  • Preston next Faversham
  • Goodnestone
  • Stone
  • Graveney

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

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 SE curve of Sheppey Isle, 9 miles WNW 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 Guildhall, 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 Guildhall 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 remodelled; 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 Medfield, 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 re-granted 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 E 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, 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 Feb., 12 Aug., and 11 Oct. 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 fishiery dates from remote times, and belongs to a “company of free fishermen and dredger-men” 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. Pop. of the In-liberty, in 1851, 4,440; in 1861, 5,708. Houses, 1,089. Pop. of the whole, in 1861, 5,858. Houses, 1,119. The increase of pop. arose from the conversion of extensive grounds into a brickfield, 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. Pop. in 1851, 5,057; in 1861, 6,383. Houses, 1,177. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, £342. 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. Pop., 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 Linstead; and the sub-district of Boughton, containing the parishes of Boughton-under-Blean, Hernhill, Graveney, Selling, Sheldwich, Badlesmere, Leaveland, and Throwley. Acres, 46,448. Poor-rates in 1862, £8,974. Pop., 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 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 300 s.; 11 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,713 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 40 s.; 5 of Bible Christians, with 381 s.; and 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 100 s. The schools were 14 public day schools, with 1,300 scholars; 40 private day schools, with 1,682 s.; and 28 Sunday schools, with 2,109 s. The hundred is in the lathe of Scray; and contains eighteen parishes and part of another. Acres, 24,792. Pop., 5,173. Houses, 943.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Maps

Vision of Britain historical maps

Administration

County: Kent
Civil Registration District: Faversham
Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Canterbury
Diocese: Canterbury
Rural Deanery: Ospringe
Poor Law Union: Faversham
Hundred: Faversham
Province: Canterbury