Font, St Martin’s Church, Canterbury, Kent


Canterbury. Font St Martin’s Church.
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View.

This is an example of a Norman tub font, and quite a few have survived in churches to this day. St Mary’s Chadwell has a similar though less impressive example of arcade decoration. One theory (which was either told me by a church guide, or in a printed guide leaflet) is that it consists of stacked “baptismal tubs”; whereas the Kent Churches website claims it is carved from a single block. But most sources including the parish website agree that it consists of several stone blocks (22 is a figure often quoted). Whichever is correct, it is agreed that it is made of Caen stone, carved with intersecting and interlocking patterns.
Geograph

The Church of St Martin is an ancient Church of England parish church in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre. It is recognised as the oldest church building in Britain still in use as a church, and the oldest parish church in the English-speaking world, although Roman and Celtic churches had existed for centuries. The church is, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey, part of a World Heritage Site. . . . St Martin’s was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent (died in or after 601) before Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived from Rome in 597. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. Her pagan husband, King Æthelberht of Kent, facilitated her in continuing to practise her religion by renovating a Romano-British building (ca. AD 580). The Venerable Bede says the building had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up. Although Bede implies that the building in Roman times had been a church, modern scholarship has questioned this and also whether it was a former Roman structure at all, suggesting that it could have been sixth century but built in the Roman way.
Wikipedia.

Historically, this is the most important church in Kent. St Martin’s is the building in which Queen Bertha and St Augustine worshipped together in the closing years of the sixth century, making it the oldest parish church in England that is still in use. Furthermore it is built of large quantities of Roman tile mixed with local flint and ragstone. The exterior shows typical Saxon buttresses and long and short work, but there are no Saxon window openings still in use. However, the west wall inside has been stripped of plaster which allows us to see very early blocked windows. Apart from the great age of the walls there is little of visual interest – with a fourteenth-century tower at the west end and a rather severe atmosphere resulting from the drastic nineteenth-century restoration that saw the insertion of dreadful ‘catalogue’ stained glass. Were it not for the early history of this church the font would be its outstanding feature. It is of Norman date and is carved from a large block of Caen stone. Tall, solid, and eminently decorative it has intersecting circlets in two lower levels, and arcading of Romanesque arches above, topped by a rim of rolling swags. 
Kent Churches

The gem of the Church and one of the gems of England is this world-famous Font, tub-shaped, consisting of a plain stone base, three tiers, and a rim. The base is a recent addition to the font, probably in the middle of the last century, when the font was moved to its present position from the centre of the Nave. The three tiers are made up of some 22 separate stones, and not out of a single block as was usual with early fonts. The two lower tiers are adorned with groups of intertwining circles. The third tier is completely different, namely intersecting arches. The rim is the same design as the two lower tiers with the exception of one stone which has a pattern not unlike dog-tooth work or stars cut in half. The two lower tiers and the rim are said to be Saxon, and the Normans requiring a higher font inserted the arches to raise same, and in so doing broke the rim, and added the one odd stone to make it complete. The lead lining is also of Norman date and still retains the marks of the hinge and staple from the days when the font had a locked cover.
Canterbury Buildings

Roman Pharos, Dover


Dover Castle and Pharos
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine.

Google Street View.

Dover Castle.

…within the walls of the medieval castle stands a much older building, dating from a time when Britain was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Around 2,000 years ago, in the early 2nd century AD, the Romans built a pharos, or lighthouse, here. This would have guided the ships of a Roman fleet into the harbour below. Not only is the Dover pharos the most complete standing Roman building in England, it’s also one of only three lighthouses to survive from the whole of the former Roman empire.
Google Arts & Culture

Seventy years after the Roman invasion in AD 43, construction of a fort began at the mouth of the river Dour. This was Dubris, a fort for the classis Britannica, a Roman fleet that patrolled the eastern Channel. Though building stopped suddenly, it began again around AD 130 and the fort was completed. The Romans built an octagonal tower-like lighthouse on Castle Hill around the same time [as the fort], with another on the opposite hill, the Western Heights. These lighthouses supported fire beacons to act as navigation lights for ships approaching the narrow river mouth, enabling them to find a quayside outside the fort. The fort at Dubris was demolished around AD 215 and a new one constructed around AD 270, which may have continued in use, along with the lighthouses, into the 5th century. The pharos was later reused for the church of St Mary in Castro as a chapel and bell tower, and can still be seen.
English Heritage


Roman pharos on the western heights of Dover (GB), inside view, 1893 (from Wikimedia Commons).

The Roman pharos or lighthouse at Dover was probably built in the first century A.D. A similar lighthouse was built on the Western Heights and at night guided Roman ships into the port of Dubris. The tower was octagonal outside and rectangular inside rising to a height of perhaps 80 feet (24m). It had eight storeys each set back 1 foot (0.3m) from the one below, which gave the whole structure the appearance of an extended telescope. Only the first four Roman storeys remain, the present topmost storey being a fifteenth century reconstruction. The present splayed shape of the pharos is a result of the severe weathering it suffers in exposed position and mediaeval refacing.
Roman Britain

AD 46. Built under the Emperor Claudius. This guided the Roman fleet round to the port of Richborough. In mediaeval times it was used as a belfry to the Church of St Mary Sub-Castro. 4 storeys, 3 being Roman and the top storey and remains of battlements mediaeval. An octagonal tower with originally vertical stepped walls rising in tiers set back each within the last, now almost smoothed. Rubble with a facing of green sandstone and tufa and levelled at an interval of 7 courses with a double course of brick set in hard pink mortar. Round-headed windows with a small recessed spy-hole inside them.
Historic England

Leeds Castle, Kent


Leeds Castle | near Maidstone
1900s

Google Street View.

The Royal Manor was originally built in 857AD and owned by a Saxon royal family. After the Norman Conquest, work began on building the first stone castle on the site. In 1278 the Castle became a royal palace for Edward I and his Queen, Eleanor of Castile. Major improvements were made to the castle during the reign of Edward I. The Barbican, constructed during this time, is unique in that it is made up of three parts, each having its own entrance, drawbridge, gateway and portcullis. The medieval Keep, incorporating the Great Hall, is called the Gloriette, in honour of Queen Eleanor.

In 1321, King Edward II gave the castle to his Royal Steward. When Edwards’ Queen Isabella arrived at the Castle seeking shelter however, she was refused admission and even fired upon by archers. Edward II was not amused and successfully lay siege to the castle. Six years later Edward was murdered but Queen Isabella kept the castle until she died in 1358.
Historic UK

Her grandson was King Henry VII, the first of the Tudor dynasty, and it was his son, King Henry VIII who ordered major alteration to the castle between 1517 and 1523. The castle was hereby transformed from a fortified stronghold to a magnificent royal palace. In 1552, after nearly 30 years of Royal ownership, Leeds Castle was granted to Sir Anthony St Leger for a yearly rental of £10, in recompense for his services to King Henry VIII in subjugating the uprising in Ireland. During the next two centuries, the castle changed its ownership numerous times. Unlike many other castles, Leeds was left relatively undamaged during the Civil War. It suffered however, major damages during the 1660s, as it was used as a place of detention for French and Dutch prisoners of war, who at one point set fire to the Gloriette, causing destruction which was only repaired in 1822.
Castles Today

After the 7th Lord Fairfax’s death in 1793, the castle was passed onto various distant relatives until in 1821 Fiennes Wykeham Martin inherited and commissioned architect William Baskett to survey the castle. The report was devastating. The mill and barbican were in ruins, the gatehouse and inner gatehouse in disrepair, the Maiden’s Tower was in imminent danger of collapse, the main Jacobean house was decaying and the Gloriette was more or less a ruin. Wykeham Martin decided to demolish the main house and replace it with one in the Tudor style. The resulting New Castle, externally changed little today, was finished by 1823, an extraordinarily swift process. The gaping hole that had disfigured the Gloriette since 1665 was repaired and the internal walls rebuilt in stone and the moat was cleared and cleaned. Unfortunately the cost of the rebuild caused Wykeham Martin financial difficulties and he was forced to sell the contents of the Castle at auction.
Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is a very peculiar structure. It stands upon three rocky knolls, of which two are islands in a lake of 15 acres, and the third occupies the central part of the artificial bank by which, as at Kenilworth and Caerphilly, and in some degree at Framlingham and Ragland, the waters are or were retained. . . . The domestic buildings occupied the north end of the two wards, and are replaced by a modern house, excepting only a vaulted cellar, which may be late Norman, and is certainly the oldest known masonry in the place, and a bracket which supported the ancient oven, and is placed near what is described as “Una coquina juxta pedem pontis de la Gloriet,” which kitchen was not long since removed. In this ward also, or rather partly in this and partly in the outer ward, near a building of the age of Henry VIII., is a very remarkable bath,—“balnea domini regis apud Ledes,” as it is designated, which was constructed for the use of Edward I. in 1291–2. This is now used as a boathouse.
Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II, George Thomas Clark, 1884


The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.24

The Leeds Castle which Horace Walpole visited in 1752 is not altogether the place we see now, with its towers and walls rising so splendidly from the lake, which water Walpole, in his misleading way, calls “the only handsom object;” for in 1822, in place of the sixteenth century mansion erected on the central island by Sir Richard Smith, the existing buildings were constructed in the Tudor style, a great part of the inner bailey and of the keep having been the work of Henry YIII. The Len stream flowing through the property afforded the one great element of defence on which our ancestors chiefly relied ; here some twenty acres surrounding the castle might by means of sluices be turned into a lake if occasion required.

The situation of this fortress was a most suitable one in the days of water defence : it occupies two natural rock islands in the lake, a third artificial one being formed at the land end by the bank and sluices which controlled the water, and on which were placed the barbicans and the castle mill. The whole of the centre island was reveted with an outer or curtain wall, 15 feet high, rising from the waters, liaving four rounded bastion towers, and drawbridges at each end, admitting at the S. end from the barbican island, and giving passage at the N. point to the furthermost island, called the Old Castle or ” Gloriette,” which was the keep of the fortress. . . . The domestic buildings, which occupied the N. end of this island, are now replaced by a fine modern mansion, having vaulted Norman cellarage. On the E. side is the Maidens’ Tower of Henry VIII., before alluded to, and also the interesting bathhouse built by Edward I. in 1292, and now used as a boathouse. Baths were an innovation at the close of the thirteenth century, which Edward may have brought in from the East.

Entering the citadel from the modern mansion, one passes by the entrance through the Curfew Tower, which contains an ancient bell, that has sounded the eight o’clock curfew for four and a hall centuries and does so still . . . The bridge had formeiy two openings, with lifting bridges operated on by a central tower of two storeys ; it was called the Pons Glorietta. On the left, in entering the keep, is the chapel, built by Edward I. in 1380, having good Early English windows. The walls of these buildings rise out of the water to a considerable height, and are placed round a small central court. Much of the work is of the fourteenth century. This part was severely injured by a fire during its occupation by Evelyn’s Dutch sailors, so that a good deal is modern. There is, however, the great dining-hall of Henry VlII.’s castle, now converted into the kitchen, while the ancient kitchen has become a larder. Overhead is the Queen’s bed-chamber, with a line mantel- piece and an immense bed.
The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.27-8

Stone Castle, Stone, Kent


Stone Castle
c.1910
“Snowden’s Series”

Google Street View (approximate).

Mediaeval and circa 1825. In the south-east corner of the building is a mediaeval, probably late C12, square tower of 3 storeys faced with knapped flints with some stone quoins. Parapet over it. Two arrow slit windows in the north wall and a circular stair turret. The other windows are modern. To the north-west of this is a house of circa 1825 which was altered by Henry Hakewill (died 1830).
Historic England

Stone Castle is located in the village of Stone, 10 km away from Gravesend. Dating from the mid 11th century, the castle was thought to have been built without licence during the reign of King Stephen, but later allowed to remain by Henry II on his accession to the throne. In 1165 Thomas A Becket stopped at Stone Castle on his way to Canterbury. It is believed that the castle fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in the 13th century. . . . In 1660 the Stone Castle changed owners again when it became the property of Dr Thomas Plume, Arch Deacon of Rochester. The existing house was built onto the old tower in 1825 and further extended 13 years later.
Castles and Palaces of the World

St. Augustines Cross, Ramsgate, England


St. Augustines Cross | Ramsgate
Postmarked 1908
Publisher: E.S.

Google Street View.

The cross was commissioned in 1884 by Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
He was inspired to erect it after hearing the story of a massive oak tree felled within living memory and known as the Augustine Oak, one of a group of trees fringing a field which he owned.

According to local legend, under this oak in AD 597 the first meeting was held between King Æthelberht and the monk Augustine, newly arrived from Rome. Augustine had recently landed on the Isle of Thanet, having been sent by Pope Gregory to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and thereby re-establish the faith in a country in which it had faded with the fall of the Roman Empire. Not far to the south-east was the stream in which, the legend tells us, Augustine baptised his first convert and which subsequently became known as St Augustine’s Well. Tradition holds that Æhelberht was converted to Christianity and Augustine baptised him on Whit Sunday in AD 597. On Christmas Day of that year, according to a papal letter of AD 598, more than 10,000 baptisms were carried out.
English Heritage

The House of Agnes, Canterbury, England


Canterbury “The House of Agnes” (“Dickens”)
1918-1921 (1d postage)
Publishers: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View.

The history of the House of Agnes goes back in the days when it was a travellers inn as far back as the 13th Century, and is so named as it was the home of Agnes Wickfield in Charles Dickens’ story David Copperfield. Several passages in the book describe aspects of both the exterior and interior of our historic building.
House of Agnes

The inn was one of a number built just outside the Westgate built during the 16th century to exploit the trade generated by visitors to the city. Those who did not arrive before the nightly curfew would have stayed here overnight. It is a three storied jettied timber framed house with three gables to the street frontage. In the late 17th century the first floor bay windows with round-headed centres were added and in the 18th century two ground floor bay windows.
Canterbury History and Archaeological Society

Town Hall, Fordwich, England


Town Hall, Fordwich

Google Street View.

Fordwich Town Hall was built in 1544 as a meeting place for the council of England’s smallest town. It has served continuously in this role for nearly 500 years. Fordwich – population less than 400 – is legally a town because in 1184 King Henry II granted it a “Merchant Gild Charter”. This reflected its importance as the nearest port to Canterbury.
Wheels of Time

Weavers House, Canterbury, England


Canterbury. The Weavers.
Publisher: Photochrom Co. Ltd.

Google Street View (approximate)

The Old Weavers House takes its name from the influx of Flemish and Huguenot weavers who settled in the area after fleeing from religious persecution during the 16th and 17th centuries. Elizabeth I granted the Flemish weavers the right to establish their businesses in Canterbury, and they are known to have used this and other similar buildings nearby.
Britain Express

THE WEAVERS OF CANTERBURY.
Ancient Home.
By C. W. Beck.
The old home of the Canterbury Weavers at Canterbury, Kent, is quaintly beautiful. It dates back possibly to the fifteenth century, although, of course, restorers have since done their best with it. Nevertheless, it is still lovely. Stand near it on a moon-light night, and drink in the picturesqueness of the dark masses of black shadow and reflection, the bright masses of cold light-there is no corner more charming in Nuremberg or Rothenberg. The sluggish waters of the Stour flow beneath and the air is tremulous with the chiming of bells from many a steeple.

The persecution of the Protestants by the Duke of Alva, under Phillip II. of Spain, in Flanders, which began during the reign of King Edward VI., gave new life to trade in England by the communication of paper, silk, woollen, and other manufactures. The “Walloons” left Flanders and fled to England from the cruelties inflicted on them on account of their religion. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth and the establishment of the Protestant religion they came over in bodies and were welcomed by the Queen, who granted them her protection.

Those who were weavers in fine silk chose Canterbury for their habitation, where they might have the benefit of the river Stour. and easy communication with the metropolis. Those who were permitted to settle in Canter-bury consisted only of eighteen housekeepers. They sent a petition to the Mayor and alder-men of Canterbury for the grant of certain privileges for their convenience and protection. The Queen, in 1561, granted them the Undercroft of the Cathedral Church, as a place of worship. They increased as persecution abroad grew, and in 1676 Charles II. granted them a charter. This enabled them to be-come a company by the name of the Master, Wardens, Assistants, and Fellowships of Weavers, John Six becoming their first Master.
Nearing 1800 the silk weaving manufacture of Canterbury greatly decayed, the most part being removed to Spitalfields in London. An ingenious and public spirited manufacturer of Canterbury, John Callaway, in 1787 invented a beautiful new article of fabric called “Canterbury muslins.” He combined the old weaving with the inventions of Sir Richard Ark-wright.

To-day the old weaving Industry is represented by the many gabled building overhanging one branch of the Stour, where visitors may see something of the old home weaving still carried on, and may rejoice in a delightful old house, one of the most picturesque of its kind remaining. The window boxes give a pleasant bit of colour to the view of those who pause on the Westgate bridge and look down the stream.
Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June 1938

The Weavers of Canterbury whose old house was described and illustrated in the ‘Herald” by C W Beck have recently abandoned the old place for a modern shop, not far from the Westgate Bridge. The present weavers numbering about forty, are descendants of the original weavers. They are very consolvatlve, and do not mix with the other citizens of Canterbury.
Sydney Morning Herald, 18 June 1938

St John’s Gate, Canterbury, England


Canterbury. St John’s Gate
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View (from other side)

The hospital of St. John is situated on the west side of Northgate Street, and is entered by a fine wooden arch, under an interesting house.
“The archaeological album; or, Museum of national antiquities”, Wright, Thomas, 1845

St John’s Hospital
Northgate

This is possibly the oldest group of almshouses in England as it was founded by the first Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, in about 1085. It was originally built for around 80 inmates, drawn from the lame, the weak and the infirm, who would have been cared for by the priests from the nearby priory of St Gregory the Great, no longer existing. The splendid gatehouse fronting Northgate dates from Tudor times and inside, the charming green is surrounded by four 19th century houses accommodating 24 residents

Canterbury History and Archaeological Society

Cliftonville, Margate, Kent


Newgate Gap, Margate
c.1910
Publisher: Shurey’s Publications (1903-1927)
On back: This beautiful Series of Fine Art Post Cards is supplied free exclusively by Shurey’s Publications, comprising “Smart Novels,” “Yes or No.” and “Dainty Novels.” The finest 1d. Magazine is “Weekly Tale-Teller.”

Google Street View (approximate).

With the advent of the railways and cheap fares, holidays to the seaside became available to all, which meant the resorts of Thanet grew in popularity and size. Visitors came not just for the fresh sea air but entertainment as well. Walking along the promenade was popular and many seaside resorts extended this walk by building
a pier from the end of which you could catch a steamer. On the beach, tourists could enjoy a Punch and Judy show, musical entertainers and donkey rides. Margate was the first resort to popularise donkey rides on the beach in the early 1800s.

Vist Thanet: Holiday History children’s activity (pdf)

There are 32 ‘gaps’ along the ten bays of the North Thanet coast between Minnis Bay and Pegwell Bay, of which the largest is Newgate Gap – it was originally called ‘The Devil’s Gap’ due to its great depth and steepness. The gaps were initially cut by local farmers who wanted to gain access to the beach from the top of the cliffs in order to gather seaweed from the shore for use as manure on their crops, but this practice ceased as more modern chemical fertilizers became available. . . . As the eastern end of Cliftonville developed, bridges were built over some of the gaps, and an iron-girdered, wooden decking bridge was built over Newgate Gap by a local eccentric, Captain Frederick Hodges in 1861. By 1895, however, it became obvious that the numbers of visitors brought in to the area by the new railways had increased to the point where that bridge was too narrow to cope. As is generally the case in such situations, however, it was some time before the local Council decided to commit funds to the resolution of such a ‘minor inconvenience’, and it was not until 1907 that they decided to build a new bridge of concrete and steel to commemorate the Jubilee of Margate, which became a Borough in 1857 by being granted a Charter of Incorporation.
The Pulham Legacy


Palm Bay and Cliffs, Cliftonville
1930s
Publisher: “A. H. & S., Margate”

Google Street View.

Palm Bay is a pleasant sandy beach not too far away from Margate’s town centre, between Walpole and Botany Bay. Despite its appeal, Palm Bay never seems to get as busy as the better known neighbouring beaches.
The Beach Guide