[HE 1 [BRARY
OF CAL IFORNIA
HISTORY OF STROOD.
/VniftM- & ROCHESTER
Designed find Drawn by P/iiit}> Cosst;.
PARRETT & NE
30, HIGH STREET, CHATHAM.
MR. GEORGE STEVENS
THIS BOOK IS
AFFECTIONATELY AND GRATEFULLY DEDICATED.
" If stationary men would pay some attention to- the districts in
which they reside, and would publish their thoughts respecting
the objects that surround them, from such materials might be
drawn the most complete county histories, which are still wanting
in several parts of the kingdom."
White: Natural History of Selbournc.
IN April, 1895, at the request of the Editor of the Chatham News
[Mr. George Neves] I wrote an article on the Crypt of Strood Church
and its lost monuments. The question of the origin of the Strood
Church Creditors' Rate, and all it embodied, had, by the lapse of
time, almost passed from living memory, and much misconception
I took upon myself the task of going through the entire mass
of the Trustee Records, and extracts of interest appeared in the
columns of the Chatham News at intervals. It was urged upon me
that I should embody them in a fuller and more connected form in
the nature of a history of our little town. The present volume is
the outcome of that request ; and those who urged the appeal must
accept share of the responsibility for its production.
To the subscribers, who alone made the question of its publica-
tion possible, my warmest thanks are due. Of the friendly help
received I cannot speak too highly, for without such assistance, the
task, onerous enough in itself, would have been well-nigh hopeless.
To my friend Mr. Alfred Rhodes (author of Ancient M.PSs of
Rochester) my especial thanks are due for much painstaking and
accurate work. The discovery of a sketch of the old Church was
due to his help. I am also much indebted to Messrs. A. A.
Arnold, F.S.A. ; George Payne, F.S.A. ; W. T. Vincent (President
of Woolwich Archaeological Society) ; G. Owen Howell (Editor of
Kentish Note Book}; Stephen T. Aveling; William Henry Reynolds;
F. G. Chant ; George Robinson ; William Ball ; Thomas I/urcock ;
J. W. Tutt, F.E.S. ; George Newman; George Dibley, F.G.S.; and
to the Officials of the British Museum Library.
There are others to whom I have endeavoured to render justice
on my literary journey, and I can only hope that, among the many,
none have been overlooked. Especial mention should be made of
the fact that, in all the illustrations the volume contains, the
original work has been done cheerfully and gratuitously. This
simple statement will, the writer trusts, be accepted by those
collaborators as an expression of his real gratitude for such valued
I. GENESIS ....
II. STIRRING TIMES .... n
III. .... ;THE BRIDGE 23
IV. THE OLD CHURCH .... 46
V. THE CHURCH. DESTRUCTION AND AFTER - 56
VI. - - - THE NEW CHURCH .... ?I
VII. - - OUR PARISH REGISTERS ... 87
VIII. .... OUR VICARS 106
IX. - - STROOD CHURCH BOOK, 1764 117
X. - - STROOD HOSPITALS 129
XI. - STROOD AND THE PILGRIMS 143
XII. - - - STROOD MANORS 149
XIII. - VISITORS FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS - ' - 176
XIV. ST. PETER'S PLACE AUGUSTINE MORLAND - 185
XV. THE DUTCH INVASION OF THE MEDWAY - 191
XVI. - - BY THE RIVERSIDE - - - - 199
XVII. .... STROOD FAIR 216
XVIII. - - THE INNS OF STROOD - - . 220
XIX. - STROOD TRADESMEN'S TOKENS - - 226
XX. - - SCRAPS AND GLEANINGS 233
XXI. - - WILLIAM WOOD, OF STROOD 244
XXII. - - NONCONFORMIST CHURCHES 249
XXIII. THE OLD WORKHOUSE 261
XXIV. - THE OLD WORKHOUSE. Continued. - - 288
(PROM THE JOURNALS OF THE TRUSTEES)
XXV. - - PAROCHIAL GOVERNMENT - 300
^FROM THE JOURNALS OF THE TRUSTEES)
XXVI. - - - ST. MARY'S CHURCH - - - 318
XXVII. - - -THE TURNPIKE GATE - 326
XXVIII. - DARKEST STROOD - - 332
XXIX. STROOD AND FRINDSBURY VOLUNTEERS - 338
XXX. - - - OUR INDUSTRIES - - 345
XXXI. .... THE FLOODS - 353
XXXII. - - LIST OF BENEFACTIONS 359
XXXIII. - - STROOD WATERWORKS - - 366
XXXIV. - - - OUR MEN OF MARK 369
LOCAL FIELDS: PLACE NAMES 391
(FROM STROOD TITHE MAP).
ACTS OF PARLIAMENT RELATING TO STROOD- 392
A DICKENS MEMENTO - : - - 392
GEOLOGICAL SKETCH OF NEIGHBOURHOOD 395
STROOD : ITS FLORA AND FAUNA - - 413
Rochester, Strood, and Chatham/. W. M. Turner, R.A. - Frontispiece
Title Page ; specially designed Philip Casse
Old Spoon from Workmen's Club- - 3
Alfred the Great Virtue - 9
Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger - - 18
Jacobean Window, High Street 5. T. Aveling 19
Old Chap Book Blocks - - 22-1
Rochester Bridge From an old print - 23
Plan and Elevation of the Ancient Timber Bridge, A. D. 960-1387 - 27
Rochester Bridge, 1719 - 32
View of Rochester Bridge From an old print - 33
The Old Bridge and Castle, by Moonlight 35
Demolition of Old Bridge Filling Shaft previous to Firing Battery 37
Demolition of Rochester Bridge by the Royal Engineers, 1856 39
Rochester Bridge, Strood end From The Gentleman's Magazine,
July, 1809 - 41
Plan and Elevation of Old Bridge at Rochester R. J. Beal - 43
Paddlesworth Chapel, Kent From The Gentleman's Magazine, 1804 47
Strood (Old) Church, Kent From the Beresford-Hope Collection,
British Museum - 51
Altar Tomb in Strood Old Church R. J. Beal From a print in
British Museum - 55
Ancient Gravestone in Strood Church, Kent From the Beresford-
Hope Collection, British Museum 69
Altar Piece, formerly in Strood Church 5". T. Aveling 70
The New Church, 1838 - 76
Interior of New Church, Strood Photo, A. G. Blackman - 85
Sketch of Strood and Rochester, 1719 From History of Kent : Dr. Harris 88
John Harris, D.D., Portrait and Autograph of From Histoiy of
Kent, 1719 - 109
Newark Hospital From a drawing in Rochester Museum Philip Casse 129
John Wylbor, Autograph From Record Office - 138
Strood Hill From an old print - - 139
Workman's Club and Institute R.J. Beal Photo, A. G. Blackman 140
Panel of Ancient Bricks, Institute, Strood Photo, J. H. Weekes - 141
Ancient Bell Metal Seal - - 143
Foot of Strood Hill, looking East W. H. Reynolds - 144
East View of Temple Manor From an old print - 149
West View of Temple Manor From an old print - 151
The Crypt, Temple Manor E. Farley Cobb - - 153
West Front (present day) of Temple Manor Photo, A. G. Blackman 156
Rochester Bridge in the Coaching Days - 177
After the Treaty of Paris. Awaiting the Allied Sovereigns at the
"Angel" Corner Photo, J. H. Weekes From an oil painting
in the possession of Mr. E. Rodtnell - 183
" The Gables," St. Peter's Place R. J. Beal Photo, A. G. Blackman 186
The Dutch Invasion From an old print - - 193
Old Map from the Canal Road Area Philip Casse From a Deed in
British Museum - - 199
Watermill, and Fishermen's Exchange W. H. Reynolds - 201
Near the "Lay-bye," Thames and Medway Canal From an old print 203
Our Chalk Rocks : The " Quarry "Photo, A. G. Blackman - 205
South-Eastern Railway Station, Sep., 1854 Photo, F. Stewart Cobb 207
Quarry House F. A. Stewart - - 211
"Red Lion and Star" Inn Photo, A. G. Blackman - - 220
Carved Wood Ceiling, "Red Lion and Star" Inn W.J. Wenborn - 221
" Crispin and Crispiauus" Inn Photo, A. G. Blackman - 223
Token of Henry Allen : Strood Castel F. A. Stewart - 227
" Old Bull's Head" Inn Photo, /./. Eastme.id 228
Token of Robert Coverdale R. J. Beal - - 229
Token of Phillip Ewer R. J. Beal - 229
Token of Hennere Figgitt F. A. Stewart - 230
Token of Anthony Lovell F. A. Stewart - 231
Token of Constance Walsall E. F. Cobb . - 231
Tokens (2) of William Hopton F. A. Stewart - 232
Old Bridge and Watermill - - 237
Zoar Chapel E. F. Cobb - 250
Wesleyan Methodist Jubilee Church - - - 255
Stone over Door of Old Workhouse, Strood F. A. Stewart Photo,
A, G. Blackman - - 261
Strood, from Battlements of Rochester Castle R.J. Beat From an
old print in British Museum - - - 290
Strood To-day, from Rochester Castle R. J. Beal - 291
Strood Trustees (2), 1897-8 Photos, /. H. Weekes - 302-3
St. Mary's Church R.J. Beal - - 319
St Mary's Church, Interior^./. Beal - - 321
Strood Gate F. A. Stewart Photo,/./. Eastmead - - 327
High Street, Strood Photo, J. H. Weekes - 329
John Any Bird Bell - 333
" Dredging Boat " Inn - - 338
Autograph of Francis Barrow - - - 340
Quarry Factories : A Forest of Chimneys Photo, A. G. Blackman - 346
The "Quarry" : Our Chalk Rocks Photo, A. G. Blackman - - 347
Quarry Viaduct Photo, A. G. Blackman - 348
Oil Seed Mills : Messrs. Stewart Bros, and Spencer - - 351
Strood Esplanade, during the High Tide Photo, L. M. Cobb - 353
The High Tide (South), Rear of High Street Photo, L. M. Cobb 354
High Street, Strood ; from the Cab Stand Photo, W. Naylor - 355
Canal Road, Under Water : At the Pier Photo, /. H. Weekes - 356
North Street ; from the corner of High Street Photo, P.Jordan - 357
Foot of Strood Hill R.J. Beal Photo, A. G. Blackman - - 367
Charles Roach Smith, F.S.A. By kind permission Illustrated London
News, and G. O. Howell - - 371
Old Gabled House, corner of Cuxton Road F. A. Stewart - - 375
Medal : Charles Roach Smith E. F. Cobb - - - - 377
The late Frederick Stewart Cobb Photo, Mora, Brighton - - 379
Strood Church : After Restoration A. W. Smith - 388
Quaint Tombstones (3) E. F. Cobb - - - - - 389
North View of City of Rochester /as. Farrington, R.A. > - 396
Frindsbury Church Photo, A. G Blackman - - 397
Old Tomb : Frindsbury Church - - 399
Strood, from the Reservoir^./. Beal 403
Strood, from the Reservoir Photo, /. H. Weekes 407
Royal Navy at Chatham, 1702-14 ... - 412
Corner of Mr. F. Woodhams' Hop Garden Photo, A. G. Blackman - 419
P. 75. Thomas William (? Edward) Hulkes died January 24,
1824. Accounts are conflicting respecting the manner of this
gentleman's death, several old inhabitants stating that he died in
his house at St. Margaret's. The body of a man unknown was
found in the mill pond, and the writer's informant may have
confused the two events.
P. 238 ; footnote, Sir John Leake. For 1808-15 rea d 1708-15.
The charge of embezzlement noted may have been entirely
malicious, and have had little or no foundation in fact.
P.p. 353-358. The High Tide occurred on November 29th, 1897
Ristorp of StroocL
" Where'er thy dweliiug place on earth may be,
Let it be chiefest of the world to thee ;
Thy home though poor let no man dare asperse ;
It is the centre of thy universe."
Win, Thomas Vincent.
STROOD is situated on the north-western bank ot the River
Medway, the ancient portion of the town being almost entirely
restricted to the low-lying land at the foot of the hills.
There is little reason to doubt that the settlement 01
Strood was contemporaneous with that of Rochester.
Its name, which is derived from the Latin strata a term
applied by the Romans to their paved ways is its best
indication of antiquity These Roman roads were, by the
Saxons, subsequently called streets ; and the term, which is
of very frequent occurrence, indicates with some degree of
certainty the actual course of these ancient ways.
Our Saxon forefathers spelt the name as Strode or Strodes,
and it so continued through the Norman period. In the
year 1193, Strood, which up to that date had been a mere
southern hamlet within the parish of Frindsbury, was divided
from the latter, and created a separate parish, still retaining its
ancient name. The name appears in the same form near
Reculver (Kent), in Surrey, Hampshire, near Southampton,
and in Dorsetshire. Few Strood people need reminding
that there is also a Stroud in Gloucestershire, the frequency
with which their letters are wrongly forwarded to the western
county having sufficiently impressed this fact upon their minds.
Subject to slight variations^ such, as Strude, Strowde, and
2 HISTORY OF STROOD.
Stroud, it continued to the last century, when probably to
avoid postal and other complications it was altered to our
present-day form of spelling.
The Romans built a bridge of wood across the Medway,
between Strood and Rochester ; some of the ancient piles ot
which the late Mr. J. Howell Ball discovered when he cleared
the river after the removal of the mediaeval stone bridged-
Various discoveries have, at different times, added
evidence in support of the Roman origin of the name, by its
undoubted testimony of the Roman occupation of Strood.
Near to Temple Farm, the excavations for brick-earth
brought to light in 1838-9 the existence of a Roman cemetery,
from which many relics of the conquering rulers were obtained.
These are fully illustrated and recorded in Roach Smith's
Collectanea Antigua, Vol. I. The articles themselves were
chiefly in the possession of the late Mr. Humphrey Wickham,
and were, after his decease (1893), sold at Sotheby's. Among
the items discovered in this cemetery were from 600 to 700
Roman coins a remarkable hoard. These coins bore the
image or superscription of 52 Roman rulers, male and female.
The}' ranged from the days of Antonia, in the first century,
to that of Gratian in the last quarter of the fourth century ;
very few, however, being earlier than the reign of Vespasian,
A.D. 69 to 79. The majority bore the mint marks of the
Antonines and Faustinas, whilst there were man}- of the
small brass of Carausius, Allectus, and the Constantines.
Such diversity of date points to a Roman occupation of
Strood extending over 300 years. The principal deposits were
found in Church field. From the character of the relics
found, Mr. Roach Smith was of opinion that these cemeteries
were chiefly used by people of the poorer classes.
Presumably, the Roman road through Strood was wider
and more direct than is the High-street as we know it to-day.
In excavating a cellar some thirty years ago, under the house
(No. 97) directly opposite the Angel Inn, portions of the old
Roman pavement w r ere discovered (it still remains in sitii)
* A collection of these wood piles, either from the Roman or Saxon
bridge, perhaps from both, now lies rotting away in the marsh near the
Rochester Gas Works.
about five feet below the present level. The same fact was
also revealed in rebuilding the premises Nos. 107 and 109 on
the same side (south) of the street, five or six doors further up.
In the winter of 1896, the Corporation of Rochester began
a series of operations for mitigating the floods caused by
abnormal storms in Strood.
For this purpose, iron pipes of 3ft. diameter were laid
from the High-street, under the passage of the Workmen's
Institute, extending to the creek at the rear. The excavators
uncovered a gravelled
portion of soil, which,
with some boulder stone,
had been deposited upon
the river clay, and which
extended in a slanting
direction southwards to-
wards the creek. At
the rear of these pre-
mises the spoon (now in
the Rochester Museum)
which is here illustrated
was found. It is of base
metal, of 14th or i5th
hexagonal shaped style,
with a "dyamond poynt-
In North-street, running parallel to the Angel buildings,
under a continuation of the same soil at a depth of about six
feet, a piece of oak timber was revealed the greater portion
of which was left in situ extending south to north nearly
fifty feet. Its appearance gave indication of its having formed
half the trunk of a tree, and it had probably been placed there
for similar purposes as were the cross beams alluded to below.
Another branch of the same operations starts from the Strood
Esplanade (its outfall being under the bridge) and continues,
passing Messrs. Aveling's works, up the south side of the High
street to Station-road. Soon after leaving the riverside, traces
4 HISTORY OF STROOD.
of a paved way, slanting to the river, of probable Roman
construction, were met with. Unmistakably was this the case
when the direct line of the High-street was reached, for here
the paved way of the Romans, broken and imperfect in various
portions, stretched away to the west in an undoubted line.
Finally, on Thursday morning, 2Oth May, 1897, the workman, at
a depth of about three feet, came upon a very fine portion about
two yards beyond the south-west corner of the S.E.R. bridge
which crosses the High-street at this spot.
When the Romans who had come to stay reached
Rochester, they found the river Medway a stream of great
volume, wide in its extent, and (in the bed of the river) very
rapid in its tidal flow. Two courses were open to them in
crossing the river, i.e., by the native fords higher up the
stream, or by boats, neither of which methods was likely
to permanently commend itself to this indomitable race.
When the bridge, which there is good reason to believe
they built, was erected, the landing place on the western side
and extending nearly to Strood church presented engi-
neering difficulties of no mean order. The land was marslvy
soil, soft, boggy, and unsafe ; and, in all probability, almost
entirely submerged at every high tide, whilst creeks and other
inlets ran in various directions. The discovery made by the
excavators in these operations revealed to us the methods by
which the Romans overcame these obstacles. They first drove
piles into the river clay which the excavations continually
revealed at a uniform depth of about seven feet all over the
High-street level and on these piles oak cross beams were
laid.* Upon these were deposited, first a layer of large flints
and then a substantial thickness of gravel, f and then a deep
bed of rammed chalk was added. On the chalk, they placed a
further layer of shingle, very black and hard, from the sea shore,
and above this was finally laid the paved way.
With commendable public spirit, the Corporation, through
the City Surveyor (Mr. William Banks), aided by a most
capable and intelligent foreman of works (Mr. Carter), first
framed, and then raised from the bed it had occupied for so
* Some good examples of this piling and cross beams remain in situ,
running from the front of the Cobhaui Inn towards the L.C. & D.R. Station.
t This might have been obtained from the higher levels near the church.
many centuries the fine portion of this paved road now in the
local museum. It is to be presumed that where this Roman
paved way fails to reveal itself in the High-street previous
excavations have removed it.
The grooves caused by the ancient chariot wheels are
plainly observable in this portion of pavement.
A number of Roman coins were also discovered : among the
legible ones being :
i. First Brass A.D. 138.
Obverse: ANTONINUS. AVG. Pivs. P.P. TR. COS. XXI.
Reverse: DBS. IIII. S.C.
Figure by an altar with a serpent, in right hand a plate, in
left, a rudder resting on a globe.
2. Obverse : MAXIMIANVS. NOB. CAES
Reverse: GENIO. POPVI.I. ROMANI. A.D. 285. Second brass.
Young map holding Cornucopia in left hand, and patera in
3. Obverse : IMP. GORDIANVS. Pivs. FEL. AvG.
Reverse : lovi. STATORI.
Gordianus III. A.D. 238.
4. ANTONINUS Pius. 2nd brass almost obliterated. A.D. 138.
5. IMP. NERVA. CAES. AVG. A.D. 96.
Each of the above coins was found in the stratum lying on
the top of piling, where also a lead weight, and a piece of ore
weighing about 6olbs., were found.
The name of the Manor of Wickham is also evidence that
Strood was much frequented during the Roman occupation, as
the word is a sure sign throughout England of the existence
of a Roman cross road, village or vicus. Excavations connected
with the Cement Works at Wickham, and also at the Strood new
Cemetery north of it, have, as late as 1896, brought to light
Roman urn burials. At the western corner of this cemetery
traces of Saxon deposits have also been exhumed, which may
at any date lead to interesting and valuable results.
The main Roman road, as the matters previously mentioned
prove, ran then as now, through Strood to London, but they also
used an ancient cross road running through Cuxton, proofs of
the latter having been established by sepulchral interments
discovered along the line of route.
The ancient British trackway commonly called the "Pilgrim
Road " runs at the base of the chalk hills on either side of the
Medway, entering Kent (on the western side from Surrey)
near Titsey, and continues past Kemsing, Wrotham, Snodland,
Upper Hailing, and Cuxton, until it enters the Roman Road at
6 HISTORY OF STROOD.
the Gun Inn, Strood.* It continues via Gun-lane, through
Frindsbury into Hoo St. Werburgh ; many Roman remains
have been disinterred in the latter named village.
When the canal adjoining the South Eastern Railway at
Strood was cut, the foundations of a Roman house were met
with, but no further search being made, a simple statement of
the fact is all that can be said. The timber yards on either side
of the canal cover the remaining portion of this building.
In 1852, excavations of brick earth adjacent to the Roman
cemetery (Temple Farm), already mentioned, revealed two
Saxon graves. The first contained a skeleton, the iron umbo
of a shield, a knife, an earthenware urn, and a most remarkable
javelin, 17^ inches long, with a four- sided head, having points
recurved like fish hooks a very horrible weapon. f The
second was even more interesting. Accompanying this skeleton
were a sword, a spear-head, a knife, the umbo of a shield, all of
iron ; also a bronze buckle, and a remarkable circular bronze
box stamped in relief with three figures six times repeated. Mr.
Roach Smith, vol. II., p. 159, Collectanea Antiqua, thus describes
the decoration : "It consists of three personages, the middle
seated and nimbed, the others standing, one on each side, with
their arms crossed upon the breast ; above the head of one is a
cross, and over the other a bird carrying a wreath. Below is a
border of foliage and birds, partially concealed by the band.
The Christian character of the design will be at once recognised,
but the subject intended to be represented is not so apparent.
It seems to be a copy of one of the numerous representations in
Scripture history common in the fourth and fifth centuries, of
which a many good examples are extant at Rome in sculptures
procured from the Catacombs ; such as Christ seated teaching in
the Temple, or Christ with the Apostles Peter and Paul. The
fabrication of the copper may be assigned to the fifth or sixth
century, and it was, doubtless, imported into Britain from Gaul
or Italy." The lid and bottom of the box were lost. The
whole of the articles enumerated were for years in the possession
of the late Mr. Humphrey Wickham, until after his decease,
when the auctioneer's hammer scattered them.
* Collectanea Cantiana, p. 131, G. Payne, F.S.A.
T Olden Strood.
The more important articles of this Strood collection
went to the British Museum. We can only regret that the
entire collection was not purchased for the Museum at
Rochester, where it would, at all times, have served in
illustration of local history, and would have formed
also a fitting memorial of a worthy citizen and a zealous
antiquary. Two Roman graves were discovered during the
building of the North Aylesford (Strood) Workhouse, one
skeleton being accompanied by a cup of Samian ware and a vase
of red clay. On the north side of Strood Hill an Anglo-Saxon
grave was unearthed containing a spearhead, a knife, and a
bronze ring set with an amethyst : these are all deposited in the
Rochester Museum. The interments on the Workhouse site were
found within a few yards of the ancient road (Gun-lane) from
Surrey to Strood, Frindsbury, and Hoo.
There is a manor in Frindsbury called ^Eslingham which, in
the opinion of Mr. George Payne, F.S.A., denotes that a branch
of the ^Eslingas made their hame or home there in Anglo-Saxon
times. The ^Eslingas clan originally settled at Eastling near
Faversham, some of whom took up their quarters -on the north-
western bank of the Medway as did the Chatti, from whom
Chatham derived its name, on the eastern side. It should be
mentioned that in the Strood new cemetery a bone comb, and
other fragments of pre-Roman date, were also found.
Imagination alone may help us to realise the varying phases
of life and civilization these scenes, so familiar to our eyes, have
witnessed. Across the river in Roman times our forefathers
beheld the massive walls of the military station Durobrivae