The original Roman name for Faversham, Durolevum, 'the stronghold by the clear stream,' is a testament to the strength of character of the town that still endures. The name morphed under the influence of post-Roman German settlers into Faversham, roughly 'homestead of smiths,' and today the town prides itself on its independent retailers, forging (in a different manner) their own paths to serve both local and tourist communities.
Evidence of the town's prosperity during the Middle Ages can still be seen in various timber buildings which still survive, and which lasted well into the nineteenth century, as its many robustly Victorian houses attest. The plentiful growth of hops and barley in Kent's fertile soil led to the founding of the Shepherd Neame Brewery, the oldest in the country, whilst the ruins of the Gunpowder Mills at Oare on Faversham's outskirts are evidence of the town's ready adaption to industrialisation and its literally explosive past.
The old and new rub shoulders down the town's roads, extant timber-framed constructions standing alongside more robustly modern architecture. The town boasts a thriving creative community, and a vibrant café-culture alongside several restaurants. It has a proud maritime heritage, too, being originally a part of the Confederation of Cinque Ports. The cry of seagulls can be often heard echoing over the recreation ground and the market-place, an aural reminder of the town's coastal proximity.
This series of posts will celebrate Faversham's past as well as its present, from its murky, murder-laden and explosive history to its present-day bustling amenities, its artistic communities and its opportunities for both retail and leisure. The town welcomes visitors and locals alike, laden as it is with buildings and sites of historic value as well as chances to take a respite from the heady pursuits of the digital age in its leisure facilities. Come with us as we explore the Market Town of Kings.
Many thanks to this week's Guest Blogger: Tom O'Bedlam
Tom moved to Kent in 2008, and lives halfway betwixt Faversham and Canterbury. Committed to extolling the virtues of Faversham, he believes enthusiastically in the idea of celebrating Faversham’s rich history, its vibrant artistic community, and its plentiful opportunities for both leisure and retail pursuits. Working in the arts and education, forging pride in communities and developing their possibilities lies at the heart of both Tom’s professional and leisure activities. He considers the quality of second-hand books in Faversham second-to-none, and purchases far too many of them than is good for his groaning bookshelves.