Glimpses into Faversham's Maritime Heritage
Image: Derek Cox (derekcoxart.uk)
Faversham has been a centre of commercial trade and industry for centuries. Maritime activities created considerable wealth for this historic market town. Its proximity to the English Channel and Thames estuary, and to the safe anchorages provided by the East Swale and the Creek, have been key to the town's growth and importance. It has been a member of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports since at least the 12th century.
This website provides glimpses into the start of a project for a series of hardback books and a web-based database as a reference and educational resource to record key aspects of the maritime development of this ancient town and sea Port. It explores selected aspects of Faversham's maritime heritage and show cases examples of Derek's paintings of local vessels and their stories.
Faversham has a wealth of maritime heritage arising from its location on a sheltered creek with access to the Swale, Thames estuary and the seas beyond. Its earlier prominence as a trading, commercial and manufacturing hub, and the wealth and prestige attained, predominantly arose from shipping by sea. And its rich agricultural surroundings have provided plentiful supplies of cereals, root crops, hops, fruit and wool for export to London and beyond. The warm waters of the East Swale have provided abundant supplies of oysters for local consumption and export to Europe. Faversham has been a prominent industrial centre for producing gunpowder and explosives, bricks using local clays, cement and coastal vessels. Shepherd Neame - the oldest brewery in the country - imported malts by barge to its own wharf on Faversham Creek, which was also used to export its products to London. There is a great deal to reveal about Faversham's maritime heritage and the way it has shaped the town over many centuries.
Today, the historic market town of Faversham still retains its status as a Cinque Port limb; it remains an official Port and vessels can still register here. Whilst the creek is now silted up and commercial trade has ceased and little evidence of it's industries remains, Thames barges, sailing smacks, fishing boats can still be admired moored along the creek. With it's historical origins and nearly 500 listed buildings, and with it's setting on the edge of windswept marshes, nature reserves, woodlands and country parks, Faversham has much to offer everyone ... especially artists.