Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for ROCHESTER

ROCHESTER, a city, a parish, and a sub-district, in Kent, and a diocese in Kent, Essex, and Herts. The city stands on Watling-street, on the right bank of the river Medway, and on the London, Chatham, and Dover railway, at the junction of the North Kent railway, 29 miles E by S of London. It adjoins Strood on the Wand Chatham on the E, in such manner that the threetowns practically form one. The two railways, from stations at respectively Chatham and Strood, give it inlandcommunication with all parts of the kingdom; and the river Medway, from its own quays, gives it navigationboth inward for barges to Maidstone, and outward for sea-borne vessels to the Thames and the ocean.

History.—An ancient British stronghold seems to haveoccupied the site of Rochester. A Roman castrum succeeded, and took the name of Durobrivæ or Durobrivis, from the Celtic words dwr and briva, the former signifying "water, " the latter indicating "a ferry." A Saxonchieftain called Hrof, afterwards settled at it, and occasioned it to be known to the Saxons as Hrofeceastre, signifying " Hrof's castle." Ethelbert walled it in 600-4; and founded at it a missionary church, which became thenucleus of the cathedral. Ethelred plundered it in 676. The Danes attacked it in 839 and 885; and were drivenoff, in the latter year, by Alfred. Etheldred besieged itin 986. The Danes sacked it in 998. William the Conqueror built a new castle on the site of the Saxon or Roman fort; and gave it to Bishop Odo. William Rufusbesieged and took the castle in 1088. Henry I. attendedthe dedication of the new or re-constructed cathedral in 1130. The city was greatly injured by fire in the sameyear, and in 1137 and 1177. John took the castle from the barons in 1215; and Louis, the Dauphin, retook itin the following year. A tournament was held at thecity, in the presence of Henry III., in 1251. Simon de Montford took the city, and besieged the castle, in 1264. Wat Tyler, in his insurrection, attacked the castle; and Edward IV. repaired it. Henry VIII. and Charles V.visited the city in 1522. Two Protestant martyrs wereburnt in it in 1556. Elizabeth visited it in 1573; and Charles II., at the Restoration. The plague ravaged it in 1665. James II. embarked at it, in his flight, in 1688. Christian VII. slept at it in 1768. Queen Victoria wentrepeatedly through it in 1856. John de Salisbury, thefriend of à Becket, was a native; Dickens the novelistspent in it the earliest years of his life; and the families of Wilmot and Hyde took from it the title of Earl.

Structure.—The city is straggling and extends overconsiderable space along the river. The main street isnearly in a line with the main street of Strood, and iscontinuous with the main street of Chatham. The streets, for the most part, are irregularly aligned; but they are well-paved, and have been much improved. The generalview, in combination with Strood and Chatham, as seenin the approach from the W, is very striking; discloses acurious mixture of old and new things, of quietude and activity; and includes, as chief objects, the castle and cathedral in the city, Fort Pitt on a hill above Chatham, and a throng of ships and steamers in the river. The city walls were suffered to fall into decay after the time of Edward IV.; but remains of them still exist; and thefortifications of Chatham afford ample defence. The castle stands at the S W angle of the city; was defendedon one side by the Medway, on the other sides by a deepfosse; retains traces of the fosse and much of the outerwalls, with square open towers at intervals; and consistsnow chiefly of a Norman quadrangular keep, 70 feetsquare, 104 feet high, and from 11 to 13 feet thick in the walls, arranged in four stories, and surmounted at eachangle with a buttress-tower, 12 feet square, and ris ingabove the principal mass. A hillock, called Boley Hill, is close to the castle; seems to be partly or even mainlyartificial; and is crowned by the house of Satis, where Watts entertained Queen Elizabeth. Many Roman bricks, urns, coins, and other relics have been found on Boley Hill and around the castle. A wooden bridge, of un-ascertained antiquity, crossed the Medway, in a line with High-street; was defended, at its E end, by a woodentower and strong gates; and continued in use till the 15thyear of Richard II. A stone bridge, about 40 yardsnearer the castle, succeeded the wooden one; was 560 feet long, and 24 feet wide between the parapets; hadeleven arches; and continued in use till 1856. An ironbridge, on the site of the wooden one, was erected in 1857-8, at a cost of £200,000; has a centre arch 170 feetin span, and two side-arches each 140 feet in span; and includes, toward the E end, a swing-bridge, turning on a pivot, and laying open a passage 50 feet wide for thetransit of vessels. A railway viaduct, taking the North Kent line onward to a junction with the London, Chatham, and Dover line, crosses immediately below, and is an ungainly structnre. The town hall was built in 1687; is a brick structnre, with Doric columns; and containsportraits of William III., Queen Anne, and SirShovel. The clock-house, on the site of the old guild-hall, was built in 1706 by SirShovel; and projects into High-street. The county court-office, in High-street, was built in 1862; and is a commodious brick edifice, in the Tudor style. Other public buildings, which we needonly name, are the assembly-rooms, the theatre, the custom-house, the Fort-Clarence military prison; and others will be noticed in subsequent paragraphs. A project was under consideration in 1867 to convert the castle grounds which had been let for market-gardens, intopublic pleasure-grounds.

The Cathedral.—The original cathedral grew out of thechurch founded in 604, and was in a completely ruinedcondition at the time of the Norman conquest. The present cathedral was commenced by Bishop Gundulphsoon after 1077; did not attain sufficient commodiousness or character to be dedicated till 1130; underwentenlargements and alterations, at varions periods, till1479; and was renovated or repaired, at a cost of £14,000, in 1827 and 1834. The pile comprises a nave of eightbays, with aisles; a St. Mary's chapel, of three bays, on the S E side of the nave; a west choir and transept, each of one bay; a main transept, with a four-chapeled aisle in one part, and a tower called Gundulph's tower in another; a choir, with aisles separated from it by solidwalls; a central tower; an east ambulatory; and a Ladychapel, of four bays. The nave is 159 feet long, 651/3 feetwide, and 55 feet high; St. Mary's chapel is 45 feet long, and 30 feet wide; the choir transept is 92 feet long; themain transept is 122¼ feet long; Gundulph's tower is 24feet square, and 95 feet high; the central tower is 156feet high; the choir is 110½ feet long; the Lady chapel is44 feet long, and 28½ feet wide; and the entire pile is 310 feet long. Part of the architecture is Norman, and al1the rest is early English. The W front is 94 feet long; and has a magnificent Norman door-way. The nave is the oldest in England, and chiefly Norman. The centraltower was built in 1352; and a spire was erected on it in 1479, and taken down in 1827. Three decorated sediliaare on the S side of the choir, occupy the ancient site of the high altar, and were restored in 1825. The chiefmonuments are one of Lord Henniker, 1803; a stone cist of Bishop Gundulph, 1107; a canopied effigies of Bishop Inglethorpe, 1291; an effigies of Bishop Laurence, 1274.a coped tomb of Bishop Glanville, 1214; a canopy and effigies of Bishop Brad field, 1283; a canopy and effigies of Bishop Shepey, 1361; a table tomb of Bishop Lowe, 1467; and an effigies and two pyramidal canopies, restored in 1849, of Walter de Merton, 1278. A crypt extends beneath all the choir, was completed in 1227, and once contained nine altars. The W front of the destroyed chapter-house has a fine Norman character, and is elaborate1y carved with zodiacal signs; and a door-way of it was restored in 1830, and is rich in sculptures. Three gates of the precinct-wall, and an embattled tower-arch of the S cloister-gate, still stand.

Parishes and Churches.—The entire parishes withinthe city are St. Margaret and St. Nicholas, together with the chapelry of St. Peter, forming part of St. Margaret's parish; and there is also the cathedral precinct. Acres of the whole, 2, 715; of which 250 are water. Real property £49, 396; of which £500 are in quarries, £370 in railways, and £1, 950 in gas-works. Pop. of St. M., in 1851, 6, 720; in 1861, 8, 130. Houses, 1, 533. Pop. of St. N., in 1851, 3, 964; in 1861, 3, 442. Houses, 596. Pop. of the cathedral precinct, in 1851, 188; in 1861, 206. Houses, 34. There were formerly two other parishes, St. Clement and St. Mary; and the former stillranks ecclesiastically as an annexation to St. Nicholas; while the latter is so extinct that the very site of its church is unknown. The living of St. M. is a vicarage, that of St. N.-with, a double vicarage, and that of St. P. is a p. curacy, in the diocese of Rochester. Value of St. M., £389; * of St. N.-with, St. C., £150; * of St. P., not reported. Patrons of St. M. and St. P., the Dean and Chapter of Rochester; of St. N.-with, St. C., the Bishop of R.

St. Margaret's church was rebuilt in 1824; and contains a curious stone font, and some old monuments. St. Nicholas' church was rebuilt in 1624; is a favourablespecimen ofdebased Gothic; was restored in 1862, at a cost of £1, 700; and contains a curious octagonal stone font. St. Clement's church is now represented by only traces of its walls in houses on the N side of High-street. St. Peter's church stands in Troy-Town, and is noticed inour article on Chatham. There are chapels for Independents, Quakers, and Wesleyans, and a synagogue for Jews. The cemetery for St. Margaret's and St. Peter'swas formed in 1865; occupies 6 acres, purchased for £1,080; and contains two chapels with connectingarcades, and with a tower and spire, all in the early English style, and erected at a cost of £3, 770.

Schools and Institutions.—The cathedral grammar-school was founded by Henry VIII.; gives free tuition and an annual allowance of £16 13s. 4d. to each of 20boys; admits other boys on payment of fees; and has four exhibitions at Oxford, and two at Cambridge. Williamson's free school was founded in 1701, by Sir Joseph Williamson; has an endowed income of nearly £1, 400 a year; and had Garrick for a pupil. Baynard'scharity school has an endowed income of £281. Nationalschools are in Freeschool-lane and New-road; and a British school is in Troy-Town. Richard Watt's hospitalwas founded in 1579, for giving a night's lodging, asupper, and four pence to each of 12 poor travellers; was rebuilt in 1771; bears an inscription, stating "that neither" rogues nor proctors will be admitted, and has now an endowed income of about £3,500. A schemewas sanctioned in 1855, by the court of chancery, toappropriate parts of the funds of Watt's hospital to thebuilding and support of alms-houses, and part toward the building and support of a general sick hospital. The alms-houses were erected at a cost of £10,000; stand in the Maidstone-road; are very fine structures, in the Tudor style, with two splendid gate-ways; contain accommodation for 10 men, 10 women, and a porter; and have £730a year from Watt's hospital funds. The general hospitalwas built in 1862-3, at a cost of about £20,000; derived £4,000 of that sum from Watt's charity, £4, 500 from agovernment grant, and the rest from the revenues of St. Bartholomew's lepers' hospital, founded in the time of the Crusades; stands in the New-road; is in the Tudor style, of red brick with stone-dressings; consists of amain centre and projecting wings; contains accommoda-tion for 100 patients; includes also surgeries, lecture-halls, nurses rooms, and other departments; and draws £1,000 a year from Watt's charity, and a considerablesum annnally from the lepers' hospital estate. St. Catherine's hospital, in Starhill, is for 16 aged females, and has about £548 a year from endowment. Other in-stitutions are a house of industry, the Fort Pitt militaryhospital, and Hawkin's charity for decayed seamen.

Trade and Commerce.—The city has a head post-office‡in High-street, a receiving post-office‡ at St. Margaret's Bank, two banking offices, and two chief inns; is a head port, and a seat of quarter sessions and county courts; and publishes two newspapers. Weekly markets areheld on Tuesdays and Fridays; and monthly cattle-markets, on the 4th Tuesday of each month. An extensive oyster fishery is carried on; considerable businessin connexion with the arsenal of Chatham is done; and an establishment for making patent steam engines employs many hands. A new quay was constructed in 1862, at a cost of about £1, 500. The vessels belongingto the port, at the beginning of 1864, were 473 small sailing-vessels, of aggregately 16, 120 tons; 74 large sailing-vessels, of aggregately 8,024 tons; and 8 small steam-vessels, of aggregately 248 tons. The vessels which entered, in 1863, were 5 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1, 294 tons, from British colonies; 3 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,810 tons, from British colonies; 80 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 6,040tons, from foreign countries; 53 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 7,044 tons, from foreign countries; 2, 798 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 283, 887 tons, coastwise; and two steam-vessels, of jointly 758 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared, in 1863, were 3 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1, 470 tons, to British colonies; 88 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 3, 929 tons. toforeign countries; 56 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 7, 936 tons, to foreign countries; and 1, 321 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 49, 650 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs in 1862, was £7, 234.

The Borough.—Rochester was first chartered by Henry II.; has sent two members to parliament sincethe time of Edward I.; and, under the new act, is divided into 3 wards, and governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. The borough boundaries are the samemunicipally as parliamentarily; and include the two city parishes, the cathedral precinct, Strood-Intra and Media, and small parts of the parishes of Chatham and Frindsbury. Corporation revenue, about £4, 490. Amount ofproperty and income tax charged in 1863, £6, 103. Electors in 1833, 973; in 1863, 1, 584. Pop. in 1851, 14, 938; in 1861, 16, 862. Houses, 3,074. The sub-district comprises the two city parishes, the cathedral precinct, and a large part of Chatham parish; and is in Medway district. Acres, 3, 120. Pop. in 1851, 16, 508; in 1861, 17, 550. Houses, 3, 298.

The Diocese.—The see of Rochester claims to have been founded in 604. Some of the most prominent of the bishops were Putta, who was deposed; Paulinus, who was canonized; Gundulph, the architect; Arnulph, the compiler of " Textus Roffensis; " Walter, the sports-man: Galeran, who officially humbled himself at the altar of Canterbury; Glanville, who severely mulcted themonks; Walter de Merton, founder of a college at Oxford; John de Shepey, who was Lord Chancellor; Rotherham, called the munificent; Alcock, founder of Jesus College, Cambridge; Fisher, who became Cardinal, and was executed; Ridley, who died a martyr's death; Young, who refused to be trans1ated to Norwich; Neile, called the ambitions; Warner, the generous and brave; Sprat, the wit and time-server; Atterbury, the eloquent, Pearce, who vainly entreated leave to renounce his mitre; and Horsley, the learned. The cathedral establishment includes the bishop, the dean, four canons, threearchdeacons, nine honorary canons, and four minor canous. The income of the bishop is £5,000; of the arch-deacon of Essex, £200; of two of the minor canons, £150and £30. The bishop's residence is Danbury Palace in Essex.

The diocese comprehends the deanery of Rochester inKent, the whole of Herts, and all Essex except ten parishes and parts of three others; and it is divided into thearchdeaconries of Rochester and St. Albans, Colchester, and Essex. Acres, 1, 535, 450. Pop. in 1861, 608, 914. Houses, 120, 845. The archdeaconry of Rochester and St. Albans comprises the deanery of Rochester, with18 livings; the d. of Gravesend, with 17; the d. of Cobham, with17; the d. of Berkhampstead, with 11; the d. of Watford, with 15; the d. of Barnet, with 8; the d. of St. Albans, with 16; the d. of Hertford, with 14; the d. of Welwyn, with 14; the d. of Hitchin, with 16; the d. of Baldock, with 13; the d. of Bennington, with 12; thed. of Buntingford, with 13; the d. of Bishop-Stortford, with 15; and the d. of Ware, with 15. The archdeaconry of Colchester comprises the deanery of Hatfield-Peverell, with 13 livings; the d. of Witham, with 13; the d. of Coggeshall, with 13; the d. of Halstead, with 16; the d. of Dedham, with 9; the d. of Mersea, with 11; the d. of Hedingham, with 18; the d. of Yeldham, with 14; the d. of Braintree, with 12; the d. of Colchester, with 16; the d.of Ardleigh, with 10; the d. of Harwich, with 10; the d.of St. Osyth, with 11; the d. of Newport, with 15; thed. of Sampford, with 11; and the d. of Saffron-Walden, with 13. The archdeaconry of Essex comprises the deanery of Romford, with 12 livings; the d. of Lambourne, with 13; the d. of Ongar, with 14; the d. of Chafford, with 14; the d. of Orsett, with 12; the d. of Barstaple, with 10; the d. of Billericay, with 10; the d. of Rochford, with 14; the d. of Canewdon, with 15; the d. of Chelmsford, with 16; the d. of Danbury, with 8; the d.of Ingatestone, with 8; the d. of Maldon, with 13; thed. of Dengie, with 11; the d. of Harlow, with 16; the d.of Dunmow, with 14; and the d. of Roding, with 12.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a city, a parish, and a sub-district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Rochester CP       Rochester and Chatham SubD       Essex AncC       Hertfordshire AncC       Kent AncC
Place names: HROFECEASTRE     |     ROCHESTER
Place: Rochester

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