Faversham, Kent
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Faversham, Kent

Culpeper Connection

Sir Thomas Culpeper10 of Bedgebury was granted Faversham Abbey and Convent by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in about 1536. The Abbey was one of the few churches outside London where a King (Stephen) was buried.  Bigger than Rochester or Gloucester Cathedrals, it was demolished immediately after the Dissolution and its masonry shipped over to the English town of Calais to strengthen its fortifications against the French - who nonetheless captured it 20 years later. It appears unlikely that the Culpepers ever lived there, but some of the riches of Bedgebury Manor may well have come from the Abbey.

Faversham's Church of St. MarySt. Mary of Charity Church

Faversham's parish church, St. Mary of Charity (pictured at the right), is the largest, or second largest, in Kent,  attesting the town's importance in medieval times.  The church was founded prior to the Conquest, and given by William the Conqueror to the abbey of St. Augustine, at Canterbury. The present edifice is a spacious cruciform structure of flint, partly in the decorated, and partly in the later style of English architecture, with a light tower at the west end, crowned with pinnacles, and surmounted by an octagonal spire, seventy-three feet high. The monuments are numerous, but not particularly interesting. It is located close to the site of the old Abbey.


Location: On the M2, 25 miles NE of Goudhurst and 18 miles ENE of Maidstone.
National Grid Coordinates: TR 010 610

1831 Topographical Dictionary:
FAVERSHAM, or FEVERSHAM, a sea port, market town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred of Faversham, lathe of SCRAY, county of KENT, containing 4208 inhabitants, of which number, 3919 are in the town of Faversham, 9 miles (W.) from Canterbury, 18 (E.N.E.) from Maidstone, and 47 (E.) from London, on the road to Dover.

This town is of great antiquity, having been inhabited by the Britons prior to the Roman invasion. It was held in royal demesne in 811, and is called, in a charter granted by Kenulf, King of Mercia, “The king's little town of Febresham.” In 930, King Athelstan held a council here, “to enact laws, and devise methods for their future observance.” It is returned in Domesday-book as being held by William the Conqueror, by the name of Favreshant; and he is said to have given the advowson to the abbey of St. Augustine, in Canterbury, and the manor to one of his favourite Normans, as a reward for his services. In 1147; a celebrated abbey for twelve Cluniac monks was founded here by Stephen, who, with Matilda, his consort, and his eldest son, Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, were interred within its walls, as were also several other persons of renown.

The town has obtained peculiar privileges, and numerous charters from various kings. Selden states that the endowments and privileges granted by Stephen were confirmed by successive sovereigns, and that the abbots sat in thirteen parliaments, in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, but that, on account of their reduced state and poverty, they ceased to do so after the eighteenth year of the latter monarch's reign.

In 1539, the year after its surrender, the chief parts of the monastery were destroyed, and the ground on which it stood was granted to Sir Thomas Cheney, Lord Warden of the cinque-ports, together with some adjoining lands.

James II having been seized at Shellness point, on his first attempt to quit the kingdom, after the landing of the Prince of Orange, in 1688, was detained at Faversham, and subsequently escaped from Rochester.

Faversham has long been distinguished for its manufacture of gunpowder, which is said to have been established here prior to the reign of Elizabeth.

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015


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