Place:Gravesend, Kent, England

redirected from Place:Gravesend, Kent
Watchers
NameGravesend
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates51.45°N 0.4°E
Located inKent, England
See alsoToltingtrough Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Gravesham District, Kent, Englanddistrict municipality into which it was absorbed in 1974
Contained Places
Cemetery
St George Churchyard
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

NOTE: Since Gravesham District did not exist until 1974 and covered a wider area, it should not be used in place of Gravesend for events that occurred before that date.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Gravesend is an ancient town in northwest Kent, England, situated 21 miles (35 km) east south-east of Charing Cross (central London) on the south bank of the Thames estuary and opposite Tilbury in Essex. Located in the diocese of Rochester, it is the administrative centre of the Borough of Gravesham.

Its geographical situation has given Gravesend strategic importance throughout the maritime and communications history of south east England. A Thames Gateway commuter town, it retains strong links with the River Thames, not least through the Port of London Authority Pilot Station and has witnessed rejuvenation since the advent of High Speed train services via Gravesend railway station.

Governance, History

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Gravesend is part of and is the principal town of the Borough of Gravesham. The borough was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by the merger of the Municipal Borough of Gravesend and Northfleet Urban District. Gravesend was incorporated as a Municipal Borough in 1835 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 and Northfleet was constituted an Urban District in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894. Gravesend absorbed Milton next Gravesend in 1914, Denton (Gravesend), Chalk and part of Northfleet, including Claphall, Singlewell and King's Farm in 1935.

Gravesend was originally an ancient parish in the Toltingtrough Hundred of Kent.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Stone Age implements have been found in the locality since the 1900s, as has evidence of an Iron Age settlement at nearby Springhead. Extensive Roman remains have been found at nearby Vagniacae; and Gravesend lies immediately to the north of the Roman road connecting London with the Kent coast – now called Watling Street. Domesday Book recorded mills, , and fisheries here.

Milton Chantry is Gravesend's oldest surviving building and dates from the early 14th century. It was refounded as a chapel in 1320/21 on the original site of a former leper hospital originally founded in 1189.

Gravesend has one of the oldest surviving markets in the country. Its earliest charter dates from 1268, with town status being granted to the two parishes of Gravesend and Milton by King Henry III in its Charter of Incorporation of that year. The first Mayor of Gravesend was elected in 1268, although the first Town Hall was not built until 1573, being replaced in 1764 with a new frontage added in 1836. Although it ceased to be a town hall in 1968 when the new Gravesend Civic Centre (Woodville Halls) was opened, it remains in use as Magistrates' Courts, and in 2004, following a full refurbishment funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and grants from Kent County Council and Gravesham Borough Council, the Old Town Hall now thrives as a venue for weddings and private functions as well as community and public events.

In 1380, during the Hundred Years' War, Gravesend suffered being sacked and burned by the Castilian fleet.

In 1401, a further Royal Charter was granted, allowing the men of the town to operate boats between London and the town; these became known as the "Long Ferry". It became the preferred form of passage, because of the perils of road travel (see below).

On Gravesend's river front are the remains of a Tudor fort built by command of King Henry VIII in 1543.

On 21 March 1617, John Rolfe and Rebecca (aka Princess Pocahontas) with their two-year-old son, Thomas, boarded a ship in London bound for the Commonwealth of Virginia; the ship had only sailed as far as Gravesend before Princess Pocahontas (alias Rebecca Rolfe) fell fatally ill, and she died when her body was taken ashore. It is not known what caused her death. Her funeral and burial took place on 21 March 1617 at the parish church of St George, Gravesend. The site of her grave is believed to be underneath the present church's chancel, though since the previous church was destroyed by fire in 1727 her exact resting place is unknown. Thomas Rolfe survived, but was placed under the supervision of Sir Lewis Stukley at Plymouth, before being adopted by his uncle, Henry Rolfe, squire of Heacham, whilst John Rolfe and his late wife's assistant Tomocomo reached America under the captaincy of Sir Samuel Argall's ship.

At Fort Gardens is the New Tavern Fort, built during the 1780s and extensively rebuilt by Major-General Charles Gordon between 1865 and 1879: it is now Chantry Heritage Centre, partly open-air, under the care of Gravesend Local History Society.

Journeys by road to Gravesend were historically quite hazardous, since the main London-Dover road crossed Blackheath, notorious for its highwaymen. Stagecoaches from London to Canterbury, Dover and Faversham used Gravesend as one of their "stages" as did those coming north from Tonbridge. In 1840 there were 17 coaches picking up and setting down passengers and changing horses each way per day. There were two coaching inns on what is now Old Road East: the Prince of Orange and the Lord Nelson. Post coaches had been plying the route for at least two centuries: Samuel Pepys records having stopped off at Gravesend in 1650 en route to the Royal Dockyards at Chatham.

Although a great deal of the town's economy continued to be connected with maritime trade, since the 19th century other major employers have been the cement and paper industries.

From 1932 to 1956, an airport was located to the east of the town. It began as a civilian airfield, but during World War II it became a Royal Air Force fighter station, RAF Gravesend, and so Gravesend was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe. In 1956 the site was taken over by Gravesend Town Council; a large housing estate known as Riverview Park was built on its site. At 03:35 GMT on Sunday 5 February 1939, Alex Henshaw took off from Gravesend Airport at the start of his record-breaking flight to Cape Town and back. He completed the flight in 39 hours 36 minutes over the next four days; his record still stands.

Research tips

  • Kent County Council Archive, Local Studies and Museums Service. James Whatman Way, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1LQ. This incorporates the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone and the East Kent Archives Centre near Dover.
  • Canterbury Cathedral Archives see the Archives web pages on the Canterbury Catherdral site.
  • For information on the area around the Medway Towns, have a look at Medway Council's CityArk site.
  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Kent illustrates the parish boundaries of Kent when rural districts were still in existence and before Greater London came into being. The map publication year is 1931. An earlier map of 1900 may also be useful. The maps blow up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. Maps in this series are now downloadable for personal use.
  • Census records for Kent are available on FamilySearch, Ancestry and FindMyPast. The first site is free; the other two are pay sites but have access to microfilmed images. Steve Archer produced a very useful round-up of the available sources, but this information may not be up to date.
  • Registration Districts in Kent for the period 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.
  • England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911 The full database from Kent Archives Office, Maidstone, has been available online from FamilySearch since June 2016.
  • Kent had five family history societies (now only four):
  • Volume 2 of the Victoria County History of Kent (published 1926) is available online through the auspices of British History Online. It includes accounts of the early history of Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals, and of several sites now within the conurbation of London.
  • Volume 3 of the Victoria County History of Kent (published 1932) This includes the text of, and the index to, the Kent Domesday survey. It has been provided by the Kent Archaeological Society.
  • In place of the other volumes of the Victoria County History, British History Online has transcriptions of the numerous volumes of The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent by Edward Hasted (originally published 1797)
  • English Jurisdictions 1851, a parish finding aid provided by FamilySearch, is particularly helpful in locating parishes in large ancient towns and cities like Canterbury.
  • Kent Probate Records Numerous links provided by Maureen Rawson
  • GENUKI lists other possible sources, however, it does not serve Kent so well as it does some other counties.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Gravesend, Kent. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.