Faversham is an ancient market town in Kent, with much fine architecture and hundreds of listed buildings of outstanding interest. In particular, Abbey Street provides an almost complete period scene and the central Market Place has a pleasant mix of charming Tudor, Georgian and Victorian properties.
Iron Wharf, Faversham Creek
The town dates back to prehistoric times with Roman and Anglo-Saxon associations. During the medieval period Faversham was a thriving river port, although the shallow creek now only serves pleasure boats and the old riverside Wharfs remain as a silent witness to its former glory.
The old brewing industry still continues and the town still brews much of Kent's best beer. Award-winning guided tours can be experienced at the Faversham Brewery, with some interesting insights into the ancient art of beer making.
The 16th-c Guildhall dominates the Market Place. A sturdy timbered arcade, above which sits an early 19th-c Regency council chamber. Behind the Guildhall is the old Victorian parish pump.
There are several ancient coaching inns in the town, including the Fleur de Lis, an attractive 15th-c timber-framed dwelling with an overhanging floor. Now a bookshop and Heritage Centre it provides an excellent starting point from which to explore the town. In West Street the Tudor Ship Hotel has an 18th-c brick facade. In East Street the Swan displays a plaque commemorating Saints Crispin and St Crispinian, the patron saints of shoemakers; said to have worked as cobblers in Faversham during the Roman period.
The 14th-c Church of St Mary of Charity, with its unusual triangular spire, dominates the centre of town. The church is built over a much earlier Norman foundation. Its distinctive corona spire was added around 1797, replacing the original medieval version, which was in danger of collapse.
A great abbey was founded by King Stephen at Ospringe (now a suburb of Faversham) in 1147. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries the abbey was demolished and many of its buildings sold off. This included Arden's house, a fine half timbered 16th-c building brought by the town Mayor, Thomas Arden. Thomas was notoriously murdered here by his wife and her lover in 1551, and was immortalised in the 16th-c play Arden of Faversham. Nearby is the ancient Maison Dieu, founded during the medieval period as a leper hospital.
The area was a centre for gunpowder manufacture from Tudor times to the end of the 19th century. A mill from the period has been restored beside the tranquil stream that once powered its massive grinding stones. The main drive gears have wooden teeth to avoid sparks igniting the powder. Chart Mills is managed by the Faversham Society and open to the public at set times.
Free Entry (donations welcome)
Location: Nobel Ct, Faversham ME13
Tel: 01795 534542
Castles, Gardens & Houses