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Result number 1 - Please quote Reference: 06a_DE_SERIES_1001_1200/DE1017 on request slip.

Path: Accessions/ 06a_DE_SERIES_1001_1200/ DE1017.html

Personal and family cine films produced by Frank and Mark Waslin (father and son) of Chatham, members of the Medway Cine Club and Medway Movie Makers, comprising films of holidays in Kitzbuehel, Tirrol, Austria and Paris, France, scenes of the Medway Towns and surrounding area including Aylesford, Bearsted, Penshurst, Chiddingstone, Penshurst, Yalding and Teston in the Autumn and Spring, the Shuttleworth Collection and air show at Old Warden Park, Sandy, Bedfordshire, Pontin's Holiday Camp, Brixham, Devon and Cockington Forge, Torquay, Devon, seasonal films, garden birds and the Tall Ships Race, Chatham, 1985, Loose Valley, Maidstone and Syon Park, Essex.

[For CDRoms of these cine films see DE1065. See also Medway MovieBase for highlights click here.]

File updated by Borough Archivist 8 June 2006

Date: 1967-c.1980s
Quantity: 30 x 8mm cine film reels
Result number 2 - Please quote Reference: 06a_DE_SERIES_1001_1200/DE1033 on request slip.

Path: Accessions/ 06a_DE_SERIES_1001_1200/ DE1033.html

Records transferred by the Community Librarian, Gillingham Library,  Education and Leisure Directorate, Medway Council of varying or unknown provenance, some possibly previously from Gillingham Borough Museum [cf. Woodlands Museum], Woodlands House, 48 Woodlands Road, Gillingham, comprising:Bond for due performance, penalty 200 marks, parties John Honywood [cf. Honiwood] of Elmstead, gentleman and William Painter, gentleman, in respect of deed of previous day to property in Gillingham comprising messuage called Friday’s House in Church Street occupied by John Pollin with 1 ½ acres called Stanghurst or Friday’s Close, 1 ½ acres called Culver Croft at Yorkham, 2 ½ acres at Shreves Oak, ½ acre called Thorpes and 17 acres called Digges Croft, 24 November 1568 (1 membrane with seal on tape with typescript description and transcription, 5pp. and envelope) [see also collection U398];Probate copy of will of James Sladden of St. Margaret’s, Rochester, maltster, proved 21 February 1653 (1 membrane with broken pendant seal);bond for quiet enjoyment between Robert Gardner of Chatham, glazier and Elizabeth Combes of Rochester, widow, in respect of conveyance of four messuages and gardens, tenants’ names given, witnessed by John Rosewell and James Bucknall, 22 September 1676 (1 item, paper) [Gillingham Library accession 120945];letters of administration granted to Edward Nordash husband of Sarah Nordash late of Chatham, intestate, 25 June 1679 (1 membrane, with pendant wafer seal);lease of lease and release [release not present] to Park Farm, Boxley of 83 acres, parties Sarah Saint John of Yelden, Bedfordshire, widow, Paulett Saint John of Yelden, Bedfordshire, clerk, son and heir of Sarah and John Clarke of Lincoln’s Inn, London, gentleman, 30 June 1712 (1 membrane) with accompanying typescript notes;plan of freehold estate adjoining Twydall Lane in Gillingham and Rainham, for sale by Messrs. Cobb, also showing York Farm and Twydall Farm, Rainham, Sharp and Green’s cement works,Horrid Hill and London to Canterbury railway line, 1913 (1 sheet);printed sale particulars for land called Two Acres adjoining Woodlands Lane, Gillingham, to be sold by Messrs. Cobb at the Bull Hotel, High Street, Rochester, 1898 (1 item);printed sale particulars for land called Simmon’s Field of 13 acres adjoining Beggar’s Lane, East Rainham, with site plan, to be sold by Messrs. Cobb at the Bull Hotel, High Street, Rochester, 1898 (1 item);printed sale particulars for land called Crown Farm in Gillingham and Rainham of 252 acres, adjoining Watling Street south of Rainham Mark, to be sold by Messrs. Cobb at the Bull Hotel, High Street, Rochester, 1890, with site plan (1 item);printed sale particulars for freehold estate called Wigmore with site plan, including Lambs Frith Wood, Levan Strice Wood, Ling’s Frith Wood, Wigmore Wood and Platters Wood in Gillingham and Rainham, to be sold by Messrs. Cobb at The Mart, Tokenhouse Yard, London 1902, with site plan (1 item);printed booklet entitled Speculative Ideas upon the Probable Consequences of an Invasion, on our Late Encampments, and on the State of some of the Sea-Ports in England in the form of an open letter to Henry Herbert, 10th. Earl of Pembroke, by an officer in the Army, with plan of area between Strood, Meopham and Dartford (Kent) and Mucking in Essex, showing Shorne Wood, Gravesend, Tilbury and the River Thames, printed for T. Egerton, Charing Cross, London, 1782 (1 volume);facsimile of the Report of the Committee Appointed to Enquire into the Construction, Condition and Cost of the Fortifications Erected or in Course of Erection under 30th. and 31st. Victoria and Previous Statutes together with the Minutes of Evidence and Appendix 1869, with facsimile map of the Chatham defences 1860, facsimilies supplied by Royal Engineers Library, Chatham c.1950 x c.1960 (1 bundle);printed booklet comprising An Essay on Ways and Means to Maintain the Honour and Safety of England, to encrease Trade, Merchandize, Navigation, Shipping, Mariners and Sea-men, in War or Peace by Sir Walter Raleigh or Sir Dudley Digges with a post script by Sir Henry Sheers pertaining to the ports of Kent, especially Dover, 1701 (1 booklet);printed booklet entitled Animadversions upon a Scurrilous Pamphlet entituled The History of the Kentish Petition with postscript entitled Advice to the Kentish Long-tails by the Wise Men of Gotham in Answer to their late Sawcy Petition to the Parliament 1701, (1 booklet);printed order of service on occasion of unveiling Old Brompton [cf. Gillingham] War Memorial, 20 March 1921, with roll of honour at rear (1 booklet);printed circular letter from Rev. Daniel Cooke, incumbent of Holy Trinity, Brompton, asking for parish support in establishing a district visiting society and National School, 1847 (1 item);abstract of title of Mrs. Ethel May Winch to Platters Wood Estate, Wigmore, reciting from 1885, 1912 (1 sheaf);)[See also DE1035 and MTC/EL/LEI/LIMS/LIB/3]
Date: 1568-c.1960
Quantity: 1 box
Result number 3 - Please quote Reference: 06a_DE_SERIES_1001_1200/DE1164 on request slip.

Path: Accessions/ 06a_DE_SERIES_1001_1200/ DE1164.html

Additional records of Darenth Parish Church, Darenth Hill, Darenth, comprising:


oil painting by W.J. Harding entitled The Pathfinder, after Ernest Stafford Carlos’ painting of same title 1913, depicting darkened interior scene of Scout standing at table, holding pencil and supporting hand on notebook and map, with figure of Christ in background resting right hand on scout’s left shoulder, scout wearing 1st. Darenth (St. Margaret’s) Scouts’ neckerchief.


Oil on hardboard

27 ¾” x 20” (750mm x 510mm)


Group photograph of 1st. Darenth (St. Margaret’s) Scouts and Cubs, at edge of field c.1920 (1 postcard, mounted)


Group photograph of 1st. Darenth (St. Margaret’s) Scouts and Cubs, at camp site possibly on Isle of Sheppey c.1940, processed or photographed by L.G. Mason, Sheerness (1 postcard, mounted)


Group studio photograph of 1st. Darenth (St. Margaret’s) Girl Guide Company, with dog mascot, 1918

Vernon Daines, High Street, Dartford. Mounted on card.


Group outdoors photograph of 1st. Darenth (St. Margaret’s) Girl Guide Company, with dog mascot, Union flag and company colours 1921

[Studio: Vernon Daines, High Street, Dartford?] Mounted on card [mutilated]


[An accompanying note indicates the scout and guide photographs were the property of Elsie Pankhurst]


Certificate of affiliation from The School of English Church Music to Darenth Choir, 1930 (1 item, card)


Pen and ink drawing of exterior of Darenth Church looking across churchyard from south-west, by Frank Reeves 1990 (1 item)


Memorandum concerning peal of bells, tenor cast by Mears and Co., Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London, 1856, Rev. John Eveleigh, vicar and John Sears and George Cates, churchwardens, compiled c.1900 (1 item, framed)


Photograph of interior of chancel, Darenth Church, c.1950 (1 item, mounted on card)


Photograph of exterior of Darenth Church viewed from timber yard to south-east c.1950 (1 item, mounted on card)


Floor plan of church with table of references to construction phases and plan and elevation of nave arches and columns, Robert A. Gammon, 121 Brewery Road, Plumstead, London SE18


Pencil drawing of Darenth Church looking across churchyard from south-west, signed JWH 29 October 1977 (1 item, paper) with studio photograph of seated bearded man and woman (with which originally backed) c.1910, photographer F. Phillips and Sons, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire and St. Neots, Huntingdonshire (1 item, card)


Head and shoulders studio photograph of Rev. Canon Bingham Stevens, bearded c.1910 (1 item, mounted on card)


Outdoors group photograph of Darenth Church choir and Rev. Canon Bingham Stevens, photographer D. Graham, 42 Gerda Road, New Eltham c.1910 (1 item, mounted on card)


Half length photograph of Rev. H.J. Powell, vicar of Darenth 1911-1932, c.1932 (1 item, mounted on card)


Half length, seated photograph of Rev. E.G. Pratt, vicar of Darenth 1934-1952, photographer Charles E. Francis, Esmee Studios, Dartford c.1950 (1 postcard)


Three-quarter length photograph of Rev. E.L. Howland, vicar of Darenth 1933-1934, outdoors, c.1934 (1 postcard)


Photograph of Rev. D.G. Thomas, vicar of Darenth, standing at the lectern c.1970 (1 item, mounted on card)


Photographs of procession of the stations of the cross re-enacted by the congregation of Darenth Church, Easter 1965, photographer Gravesend and Dartford Reporter, Harmer Street, Gravesend (9 items, paper)

Date: c.1900-c.1990
Quantity: 28 items
Result number 4 - Please quote Reference: 06_DE_SERIES_0751_1000/DE0852 on request slip.

Path: Accessions/ 06_DE_SERIES_0751_1000/ DE0852.html

Records of Rogers, Stevens and Chance, (formerly C.E.T. Rogers, Son and Stevens), 10 New Road, Chatham, chartered surveyors, brewery agents and valuers of licensed property, comprising:correspondence with mortgage lenders and site plans pertaining to valuation of private houses in Medway Towns and surrounding area c.1965-c.1982 (2 boxes);statements of change of tenancy of public houses, off-licences and hotels mainly in the Medway Towns (Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Brompton/Gillingham) and Kent (including Maidstone, Canterbury, Tunbridge Wells, Tenterden, Folkestone, Dover, Isle of Thanet, Sheerness and and Queenborough), but with many also covering the out-county area chiefly Sussex (including Northiam, Robertsbridge, Hastings, St. Leonards-on-Sea and Brighton) and Essex (including Bishops Stortford, Burnham-on-Crouch, Southend and Clacton-on-Sea), with a small coverage of Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire (Dorchester-on-Thames), Wiltshire (Marten), Surrey (including Godalming), Berkshire (Reading), Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Devon (Bear Inn, Colyton), London, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire (Cambridge), Norfolk (Spread Eagle, Barton Bendish) and Switzerland (San Domenico, Castagnola), parties (a) Rogers, Stevens and Chance acting as agents of brewers and (b) tenants, many containing valuation inventories of stock in hand and fixtures and fittings room by room, war damage correspondence and papers, dilapidations surveys, property inspection reports, monopopy valuations (stating social class of clientele), photographs and biographies of tenants, facsimile architects' drawings and site plans and correspondence with brewers, insurers and tenants, c.1871 *-c.1970. Some files contain only the firm's management correspondence on matters including petrol rationing early 1950s and use of motor vehicles c.1940 (164 boxes);finding aids to statements of change as above and correspondence files (2 1/2 boxes);brewery rating files pertaining to breweries in Kent and Norfolk, breweries comprising:
Mackeson’s Brewery, High Street, Hythe 1933-1972 (1 file);
Courage (Eastern) Building Department garages, stores and premises at 1 Buckland Road, Maidstone 1964-1967;
Fremlins Pale Ale Brewery, Stores and Offices, Earl Street, Maidstone 1950-1972;
Truman Hanbury Buxton and Co. Ltd., Bottling Stores, Surrey Street, Norwich, Norfolk 1950-1968;
Phoenix Brewery, Bow Road, Wateringbury 1923-1974 (1 file);
Cooperage and Sawmills, garages and premises, Buckland Road, Maidstone (Courage Eastern Ltd.) 1949-1974 (1 file);
Whitbread Fremlins, 43-47 Earl Street, Maidstone 1980-1983 (1 file);
Truman Ltd. Bottling Stores, 139-141 King Street, Norwich, Norfolk 1974 (1 file);
Medway Brewery, St. Peter’s Street, Maidstone, Courage (Eastern) Ltd. 1923-1977 (1 file);
The Brewery, Court Street, Faversham, Shepherd Neame Ltd. 1965-1978 (1 file);
Malt House, Nettlestead, Whitbread Fremlins Ltd. 1928-1980 (1 file);
Smaller Malt House, Nettlestead, Frederick Leney and Sons Ltd. 1928-1957 (1 file);
Off Licence 31-33 Pudding Lane, Maidstone; offices, garage, stores, workshops and premises, Pudding Lane, Maidstone, Whitbread Fremlins Ltd. 1931-1984 (1 file);
Wine and Spirit Stores, Court Street, Faversham, Whitbread Fremlins Ltd. 1963-1984 (1 file);
Brewery, Court Street, Faversham, Whitbread Fremlins Ltd. 1957-1983 (1 file);
(2 boxes);public house inventory books c.1915-c.1933, labelled George Taylor FAI, 13 and 19 Watts Place, Chatham, auctioneer and valuer, (7 1/2 boxes);letter books 1910-1932 (20 boxes);rating assessment books 1973-1974 (3 volumes);address book c.1970 (1 volume);valuation books 1967-1982 (4 binders);account books 1973-1980 (2 volumes) [* Most statements of change files post-date 1940. The only file prior to 1940 is an inventory for The Chequers public house, Higham, 1871. The surviving sequence begins at number 4591 before which the finding aid references are redundant. NB the statements of change have been weeded. 98% of files pertaining to the Medway Towns have been retained. About 40% of out area files have been destroyed as not containing inventories or other documents of social, architectural or economic value.]File updated by Borough Archivist 10 January 2004.

Not  accessible without minimum 10 working days notice: UNCATALOGUED

Date: c.1871-1984
Quantity: Pending
Result number 5 - Please quote Reference: 06_DE_SERIES_0751_1000/DE0996 on request slip.

Path: Accessions/ 06_DE_SERIES_0751_1000/ DE0996.html

Records de-accessioned and transferred by Guildhall Museum, High Street, Rochester, comprising documents of varying provenance presumed collected by George Payne FLS FSA and successor curators of Eastgate House Museum, Eastgate, High Street, Rochester:

Abstract of title of Mr. George and Mrs. Elizabeth Mullinger to cottage and garden in Crow Lane [cf. Maidstone Road], Rochester, reciting from 1760, drawn-up 1860 (1 sheaf);

Title deeds to messuage (variously carpenter’s shop, schoolroom and brewery) in Boley Hill, Rochester, near or upon the Castle Ditch, comprising abstract of title of John Dollin Bassett Esq. reciting from 1784, drawn-up 1846 (1 sheaf);
recital of deed of covenant in indenture of appointment, conveyance and surrendur, respecting devisees in trust of Edward Alexander Esq. in respect of messuage, schoolroom and brewery in Boley Hill, Rochester, near or upon the Castle Ditch c.1846 (1 sheaf);
lease, parties Mrs. Elizabeth Alexander of Rochester, widow and Thomas Perrin of same, carpenter 1828 (1 item);
agreement, parties Rickman, Alexander, Dollind, Wheeler, Richardson and Perrin, 1828 (1 item);
wrapper for above lease and agreement inscribed respecting consignment of lease to William Tatum, 1847, on rear circular to customers from Messrs. Burr and Son of Rochester and 37 Moorgate Street, London, auctioneers, appraisers, land surveyors and mappers and house agents, October 1846;
death certificate of Elizabeth Alexander of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, widow of Edward Alexander, cabinet maker, 1846 [inscribed certificate of burial [sic] ] (1 item);
certificate of burial of Edward Alexander of Boley Hill, Rochester, supplied by Frederick Wheeler of the Rochester Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends/Quakers, date of death given as 30 10 1827 and date of burial given as 4 11 1827, c.1827 (1 item);
[see also DE995]

[See also DE921]

Date: [1760] 1827-1860
Quantity: 1 bundle/8 items
Result number 6 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/DRc_Ele_223_07 on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/ BB02_Estate_Records_1346_1963/ 04_DRc_Ele_Leases_1346_to_1896/ DRc_Ele_223_07.html

Dean and Chapter of Rochester



Sutton Valence Parsonage

Sutton Valence parsonage with the messuages, houses, buildings, barns, edifices, lands, tithes, fruits, commodities and emoluments. Bundle No. 239

A, B

Lessee: William Livesey of Henwick Hall, Podington, Bedfordshire, esq.

Term: 21 years

Rent: £14; 1quarter wheat and 2 quarters oats and one good large brown well fed and ordered each Christmas or within 20 days or £5 in lieu.

Conditions: 1. Grace 21 days; 2a, 2b, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 or 20s in lieu if no court is held; 12, 13, as above; 15,16, 20.6 months 25, 26, 26a, as above.

Date: 8 August 1700
Quantity: 2 items
Result number 7 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/DRc_Ele_223_08 on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/ BB02_Estate_Records_1346_1963/ 04_DRc_Ele_Leases_1346_to_1896/ DRc_Ele_223_08.html

Dean and Chapter of Rochester



Sutton Valence Parsonage

Sutton Valence parsonage with the messuages, houses, buildings, barns, edifices, lands, tithes, fruits, commodities and emoluments. Bundle No. 239

Lessee: Paradine Livesey of Henwick Hall, Podington, Bedfordshire, esq.

Term: 21 years

Rent: £14; 1 quarter wheat and 2 quarters oats and one good large brown well fed and ordered each Christmas or within 20 days or £5 in lieu.

Conditions: 1. Grace 21 days; 2a, 2b, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 or 20s in lieu if no court is held; 12, 13 as above; 15, 16, 19, 20.6 months; 25, 26, 26a as above.

Date: 2 December 1707
Quantity: 2 items
Result number 8 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/DRc_Ele_223_09 on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/ BB02_Estate_Records_1346_1963/ 04_DRc_Ele_Leases_1346_to_1896/ DRc_Ele_223_09.html

Dean and Chapter of Rochester



Sutton Valence Parsonage

Sutton Valence parsonage with the messuages, houses, buildings, barns, edifices, lands, tithes, fruits, commodities and emoluments. Bundle No. 239

Lessee: Paradine Livesey of Henwick Hall, Podington, Bedfordshire, esq.

Term: 21 years

Rent: £14; 1 quarter wheat and 2 quarters oats and one good large brown well fed and ordered each Christmas or within 20 days or £5 in lieu.

Conditions: 1. Grace 21 days; 2a, 2b, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 or 20s in lieu if no court is held; 12, 13 as above; 15, 16, 19, 20.6 months; 25, 26, 26a as above.

Date: 29 June 1715
Quantity: 2 items
Result number 9 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/DRc_EP_25 on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/ BB02_Estate_Records_1346_1963/ 21_DRc_EP_Estate_maps_1689_to_1871/ DRc_EP_25.html

Dean and Chapter of Rochester

Estate records

Estate Maps 1695-1873 (DRc/EP 1-32)

This series of estate maps is far from complete and is in consequence unrepresentative of the Dean and Chapter estates as a whole. This is because the vast series of maps in their possession in the late nineteenth century, many of them for the eighteenth century, were transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1861. These maps were later deposited at Kent Archives Office (now the Centre for Kentish Studies), County Hall, Sessions House, Maidstone by the Church Commissioners and more recently were transferred to this office to be kept with all the other records relating to the Dean and Chapter transferred by them at an earlier date to this office. Please see collection CC/Rc and more specifically series CC/Rc P1-P86.

The Dean and Chapter has always employed a surveyor on their estates and the most notable, and indeed the most prolific of these from the point of view of work and in particular map making was James Gouge of Sittingbourne who worked for them throughout the first quarter of the nineteenth century. There are several of his very characteristic maps in this series and very many more among those deposited by the Church Commissioners.


Printed map of Buckinghamshire divided into four portions, showing highways, watercourses, woodland, parkland, churches and county and other boundaries, etc., as per legend.

DRc/EP 25/1: printed map of south west Buckinghamshire, extending from Worminghall in the north west to Medmenham in the south east, showing the three parishes of Cuddington, Haddenham and Kingsey coloured in, also showing part of Oxfordshire including Henley upon Thames. With legend.

DRc/EP 25/2: printed map of north east Buckinghamshire, extending from Ravenstone (Ravenston) and Lavendon in the north to Aylesbury and Marsworth in the south and from Haversham in the west to the boundary with Bedfordshire in the east.

DRc/EP 25/3: printed map of south east Buckinghamshire, extending from Aston Clinton in the north to Wyrwardsbury in the south and from West Wycombe in the west to Denham in the east. Includes Eddlesborough and Nettleden.

DRc/EP 25/4: printed map of north west Buckinghamshire, extending from Hanslope and Lillingstone Dayrell in the north to Dorton in the south and from Bicester in the west to Hoggeston in the east.

Surveyor and publisher: A. Bryant, 27 Great Ormond Street, London, surveyed 1824.

Dedicated to the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Lord Lieutenant.

Scale:- 1 ½ inches: 1 mile

Date: 1825
Quantity: 4 sheets each 41" x 23 3/4" (1040mm x 605mm)
Result number 10 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/DRc_FTb_014 on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/ BB03_Financial_Records_1541_1919/ 02_DRc_FT_Treasurer_1548_to_1913/ 01_DRc_FTb_Treasurers_books_1548_to_1913/ DRc_FTb_014.html

Dean and Chapter of Rochester


Finance records: treasurer  Treasurers' books (DRc/FTb )



Treasurer's book - Henry Ullock.


Includes 6d paid to a Frenchman [cf. France] a Protestant by certificate 29 March 1678


Includes 6d paid to two poor travellers which were in slavery at Algiers, Algeria, Africa [cf. Barbary] by pass of the mayor of Falmouth, Cornwall 11 April 1678


Includes 1s 6d relief paid to two poor gentlewomen, inhabitants of Cannon [sic,] Ireland (one of their husbands being in slavery in Turkey) travelling to Dover with their families 28 May 1678


Includes 1s paid for the relief of one St. John and his wife and family, travellers by pass from the justices of the peace of Ballynafeigh [?] (Bellaniefoy) [Belfast, Antrim] in the province of Ulster, Ireland who were burnt out of all they had 6 July 1678


Includes 6d paid for the relief of a poor sick man who came from Greenhithe to Rochester to be cured of the scurvy and consumption 29 July 1678


Includes 1s 6d paid to Captain John Gray and his lieutenant and a son of his (who were burnt out of Breda [Holland/Netherlands] by the French [cf. France]), travellers by pass, 15 October 1678


Includes 1s paid to a poor traveller who came out of New England [cf. America] travelling to Bedfordshire by pass from Canterbury, 17 October 1678


Includes 1 s paid to two French Protestants who had a testimonial from Dr. Brevall and several other testimonials, 18 Ovtober 1678


Includes 5s paid to Jachino Cecilliano, abbot of Cephalonia [cf. Kephalonia], Greece by Dr. Dixon's order, 30 October 1678


Includes 1s paid to Jeremy Hogan a Scotchman [cf. Scotland] a lieutenant to the Dutch [cf. Holland/Netherlands] and taken prisoner by the French [cf. France], his wife and two children, travellers by pass from the mayor of Dover, 2 November 1678


Includes 4s paid for the relief of Captain Price and William Lynch poor prisoners in the Dolphin at Rochester, by Dr. Dixon's order, 11 November 1678


Includes 1s paid to a poor traveller, a minister's son, who was a prisoner in the Fleet Prison, London, 9 December 1678


Includes 1 s paid to a Welsh [cf. Wales] gentlewoman who was burnt out of her habitation in Monmouthshire, 11 December 1678


Latin and English


Bound and wrapped in a fragment of a mortgage between Edward Godfry [cf. Godfrey] of St. James in the Isle of Grain, yeoman and Reginald Rich [of ], in respect of at least 7 acres land named Beacon Field and [W]oodsfield and messuage[s] in Grain, consideration £100 term 500 years, 1654

Date: 1677-1678
Quantity: 1 booklet
Result number 11 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/DRc_FTb_041 on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Dean_and_Chapter_of_Rochester_Cathedral_1541_1994/ BB03_Financial_Records_1541_1919/ 02_DRc_FT_Treasurer_1548_to_1913/ 01_DRc_FTb_Treasurers_books_1548_to_1913/ DRc_FTb_041.html

Dean and Chapter of Rochester   Finance records: Treasurers' books (DRc/FTb )

  Giving lists of names and signatures of recipients arranged under headings as per cathedral officers, canons, prebends, choristers, paupers [beadsmen?] and pupils of the Cathedral Grammar School.

  Treasurer's book - Daniel Hill for F. D. de Breval [cf. Brevall]

 Includes expenses: paid the ringers, by the hands of Stephen Huggins, verger, forty shillings for ringing 3 days, viz. when the Duke of Marlborough came through the town, from the campaign [in Flanders, France/Belgium]; the thanksgiving day being the 31 December; and the queen's birthday, 8 February 1707


Includes expenses: five guineas to Mr. Brooks, Town Clerk, to be distributed among the officers of the court, upon the Corporation's giving the dean and prebendaries their Freedom, 28 June 1707


Includes 3s alms given to a poor old woman of New England [cf. America], seemingly a great object of charity, December 1706


Includes 5s alms given to Stephen Acus of Paul's Cray, a great sufferer by fire, 3 February 1707


Includes given to Mr. Richard Williams, rector of Shoulden (Sholden) in Kent, a great sufferer by fire, ten shillings, 14 February 1707


Includes 2s alms given to 2 poor women that had been taken by a French [cf. France] privateer, and set on shore at Liverpool (Lever-pool) [Lancashire], 6 May 1707


Includes £2 alms given to Mr. John Stephenson, a sea chaplain, 6 May 1707


Includes 10s alms given to the prisoners under the Town Hall [cf. Guildhall] (by order of the chapter), 28 June 1707


Includes 2s 6d alms given to one John Moore of Northill (Northil) in Bedfordshire in a very necessitous condition, 2 July 1707


Includes 1s alms given to several seamen that had been prisoners in France and set on shore at Weymouth [Dorset], 23 July 1707


Includes 1s alms given to a poor scholar that pretended he was deaf and dumb, 23 September 1707


Includes 1s alms given to a poor man that had his tongue cut out by a French [cf. France] privateer, 26 September 1707


Includes 6d alms given to one Grigsby, a poor fellow of St. Margaret's Parish, 24 October 1707


Includes alms given to discharged, old, laim, shipwrecked and sick soldiers and seamen, passim


Latin and English.

Date: 1706-1707
Quantity: 1 volume/60pp. used
Result number 12 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Rochester_Priory_and_other_Religious_Houses_1080_1541/01_Intro on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Rochester_Priory_and_other_Religious_Houses_1080_1541/ 01_Intro.html




Click here to view the full list of the Rochester Priory records or select the folder from the query tool by following the instructions given there.

These archives were deposited by the Dean and Chapter of Rochester in the Kent Archives Office [now Centre for Kentish Studies], County Hall, Maidstone, Kent in 1959, and were listed there by Miss Anne M. Oakley MA FSA between the years 1963-1970. The collection was transferred to Medway Archives Office on 27 April 1992 and the list prepared and edited for for CityArk Phase II by the City Archivist/Borough Archivist 1997-2001

Re-edited by Borough Archivist July 2000 (Priory introduction).

For a link to the Rochester Cathedral web site Click Here ......or here [two different sites appear to be in operation as at 3 July 2000]

Historical Introduction

The church of St. Andrew the Apostle, Rochester was founded by Ethelbert, King of Kent as a college for a small number of secular canons under Justus, Bishop of Rochester in AD 604. Very little is know about the history of this house. It never seems to have had much influence outside its own walls, and though it possessed considerable landed estates, seems to have been relatively small and poor. It also suffered at the hands of the Danes [cf. Denmark]. Bishops Justus, Romanus, Paulinus and Ithamar were all remarkable men, but after Bishop Putta's translation to Hereford [cf. Herefordshire] in AD 676, very little is heard of Rochester. Their bishop, Siweard is not mentioned as having been at the Battle of Hastings in Sussex with King Harold as were many of the Saxon bishops and abbots, and the house put up no opposition to King William I when he seized their lands and gave them to his lay brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, Normandy, France whom he had created Earl of Kent. The chroniclers say that the house was destitute and that when Siweard died in 1075 it was barely able to support the five canons on the establishment (1).

Four years after his conquest of England, King William I invited his friend Lanfranc, Prior of Caen, Normandy, France and a former monk of Bec in there to be his archbishop at Canterbury. Lanfranc's task was specific: to reorganise English monasticism on the pattern of Bec; to develop a strict cloistered monasticism but one of a kind that was not entirely cut off by physical barriers from the life of the rest of the church. He drew unsparingly on Bec for his ideas, his bishops and his monks. Four bishops of Rochester hailed from Bec, several priors and many monks. Among the bishops, by far the most important was Gundulf, his friend, pupil and chamberlain whom he brought over with him to England in 1070 (2).

(1) This account of the cathedral priory of St. Andrew the Apostle, Rochester is based on those in The Victoria County History of Kent II, pp. 121-125, E. Hasted, History of Kent II, pp. 22-25, F.F. Smith, History of Rochester pp. 273-335; W.H. St. John Hope The Architectural History of the Cathedral Church and Monastery of St Andrew at Rochester, Archaeologia Cantiana XXIII, pp. 194-328 and XXIV, pp 1-85; and H. Wharton, Anglia Sacra, I, pp. 329-394. Part of King Ethelbert's endowment included the land from the river Medway to the Eastgate of the City of Rochester on the south part and practically all the land on the south side of the High Street, all within the city walls. The priory property was extended on the same site in 1225 and again in 1344 making necessary the construction of new walls and ditches on both occasions. (See also DRc/T62, T280).

Siweard, Bishop of Rochester died in 1075 and to replace him Lanfranc brought over a monk from Bec, Arnost, as Bishop. He died within the year and at Lanfranc's instigation, King William I agreed to the appointment of Gundulf as bishop. This proved ultimately the turning point in the history of Rochester (3). King William showed no reluctance or lack of effort in assisting Lanfranc to recover the former properties of the church now that his relations with his lay brother had become strained and difficult and in 1076, therefore, Lanfranc successfully repossessed himself of a major part of the lands which had once belonged to St. Andrew's church at the great assembly held on Penenden Heath. Some of this property formed the principal re-endowment of the house in 1077 and was given by Lanfranc to Gundulf when he enthroned him as Bishop of Rochester in that year.

Edmund de Hadenham [cf. Haddenham, Buckinghamshire], the thirteenth century chronicler, says that Lanfranc made it a condition of his friend's establishment at Rochester that the canons should be replaced by monks, but as no other establishment was made until 1083, it would appear that Gundulf bided his time. No one knows now what really happened. There is a brief mention in the Textus Roffensis of one Aegelric, priest of Chatham and a former Canon of Rochester who made a gift to the new house to secure the honourable burial of his wife there, but not a word more.

In 1083 Lanfranc visited Rochester and himself instituted twenty two monks of the Benedictine order in the house, some from Bec (4), probably some from the two houses at Canterbury, Christchurch and St Augustine, and possibly some from Caen. He endowed the house with property making careful and distinct provision for the bishop and the monks. Some of the lands he gave them were his own, others he purchased, and some he had acquired in 1076. Gundulf also purchased and acquired a great deal of property for his house which rapidly found favour with the Norman kings. Together with Archbishop Lanfranc he began the rebuilding of the church and monastery buildings. In the rebuilding of his church, Gundulf followed the usual practice of starting his new building to the east of the existing church so that there would be no interruption in the services of the church. He also appears to have incorporated part of the City wall into his building as the tower known as Gundulf's tower was one of the watch towers (5). Substantial parts of his work remain today, particularly in the Crypt.

[(2) D. Knowles, The Monastic Order in England , 2nd ed. pp. 83-134
(3) There is an excellent translation of the Life of Gundulf by the nuns of St. Marys Abbey, West Malling 1968.
(4) Knowles op cit p.112

No distinction was made in the early years of the refoundation between the episcopal and prioral possessions. The reason for this was simply that there was no need for any such distinction. The bishop of Rochester was titular abbot of St Andrews and the prior was directly subject to him. At least until the first quarter of the twelfth century the Bishop actually lived in the house with the monks as one of the family (6). John of Seez was probably the first bishop to set up a separate establishment, but Bishop Gundulf himself made some division of the properties between himself and the monks before his death in 1108 (7). Until the thirteenth century, gifts were made to the bishop or to the bishop and the monks of St Andrew's Church, Rochester but very rarely to the prior although it is more than probable that the offer was in existence from the refoundation (8). During the thirteenth century benefactors addressed their charters to the prior by name and the monks of St Andrew's church, Rochester, or first to the prior and monks of that place. It was not [contd.]

(5) See DRc/emf77
(6) This was also true at Christchurch, Canterbury until Stephen Langton became archbishop. It was, in any case, the natural thing to do, and exactly what one would have expected of Gundulf who thought of himself primarily as a monk. Lanfranc himself explicitly equated the offers of bishop and abbot. Knowles op. cit. p.622.

(7) See DRc/T47 and DRc/T57/5, a charter of Gundulf confirmed by Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1145. It was not until about 1125 that the influence of the black monks ceased to predominate. The canonical organisation of chapters tended to separate the bishop from the monastery and to give the foreign to monastic life. Knowles op. cit, p.133.

(8) DRc/T47-59]

until about 1260 that the term prior and convent became at all common. The inspeximus of King Henry III is addressed to the prior and convent of Rochester and this was the first occasion on which a royal charter had been so addressed (9).

When Lanfranc established the house at Rochester under the ministry of Gundulf, he is said to have realised that difficulties would arise over communally held property and therefore made careful division between the bishop and the monks. At first sight, this might seem a good idea, but the greatest difficulty of all lay in the fact that most of Lanfranc's re-endowment was made up of properties which had belonged to the church before the conquest of 1066. Properties involved included the manor and churches of St. Margaret, Rochester, Stoke, Wouldham, Frindsbury, East Wickham, Halling, Trottiscliffe, Borstal, Snodland, Cuxton, Malling, Denton, Longfield, Darenth, Southfleet and Fawkham. They were given to the church by Saxon Kings and nobles, but they were entrusted to the bishop. In Lanfranc's time there was no difficulty, nor could he foresee any, for while the bishop was a monk and lived in harmony with his monks no difficulty would present itself. Gundulf may have foreseen difficulties. Before he died he made further provision for the monks. As well as considerable pensions, tithes and rents, he gave them the manors of Stoke, Wouldham, Frindsbury, Denton, Southfleet, Lambeth (Surrey) and Haddenham (Buckinghamshire) King Henry I confirmed all these and also his gifts of the churches of Wouldham, Dartford, Woolwich, Sutton at Hone, Wilmington, Chislehurst, Aylesford, St. Margaret, Rochester, St. Nicholas' altar in Rochester Cathedral, Rotherfield and Stourmouth; he added Boxley church and Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury added Norton church (10).

The house was wealthy, but when Ernulf of Bec died in 1124 it was the end of an era for the monks. King Henry I nominated John of Seez, Archdeacon of Canterbury to the vacant see and though they elected him as their bishop, the monks viewed him with suspicion. He was not a monk. During his short episcopate the prior became the effective head of the house. The bishop's duties changed and he became more a patron than a father, making occasional visits only and barely known to his monks.

[(9) DRc/T60
(10) DRc/T47-51]

He had his own household, separate from theirs and this separation of revenues and interests combined to make him and his successors a stranger to his monks and more often than not an opponent. The chronicler, Edmund de Hadenham [cf. Haddenham, Buckinghamshire] offers John of Seez no compliments. He says he made lavish gifts, began great things and did much good, but that it did not last (11). He took advantage of a great fire that ravaged the house in 1137, dispersed many of the monks to other houses, and stole from them the churches of Aylesford, Southfleet, Boxley, St. Margaret, Rochester and the altar of St. Nicholas in Rochester Cathedral, thus plunging the house into years of expensive litigation which ended only in 1144 when Pope Celistine decreed that the new bishop, Ascelin, should return them unconditionally to the monks to whom they rightfully belonged (12).

John's argument is obvious: The reason even more so. The revenues of the priory were far larger than those of the bishopric. On this occasion the monks were successful, but far more serious contentions broke out under Bishop Gilbert Glanville fifty years later which reverberated through the centuries.

Gilbert Glanville was Archdeacon of Lisieux in France. He was a great friend of Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury and his successor there Archbishop Hubert Walter, and much in favour at court. He became Bishop of Rochester in 1184. His predecessor Waleran had proposed to seek papal permission to expel the monks from the cathedral, as he had a low opinion of the regular orders, but had died before he could implement the idea. Unfortunately for the monks, the plan was not uncountenanced by King Henry II who wished to cut the power of the regular orders, in so many ways exempt from the royal prerogative. Rochester, for instance, had the right to elect its own prior without royal interference, and had also enormous privileges within the City of Rochester. King Henry II therefore chose his friend Gilbert Glanville, together with Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury and Hugh Nonant, Bishop of Coventry to use Rochester as an experiment. They were to set up a college of secular canons who were not, in general, infected with principles dangerous to civil government, and who as friends of the national clergy, would form a powerful barrier against the encroachments of the roman pontiffs.

[(11) Wharton, op.cit., p.347
(12) DRc/L1]

Except at Coventry where force was used to set up a college of Vicars Choral, nothing came of the idea as the King's death put an end to all hopes of success, but disastrous failure though it was, it did nothing to ease relations between the bishop and his monks (13).

Gilbert Glanville remained in favour with the new king, Richard I and when he was captured in the Holy Land and later imprisoned in Germany, worked with a will to secure his release. His principal contribution was the establishment of the hospital of the New Work of St. Mary in Strood. This was a small house whose purpose was to pray for the restoration of Christianity in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and for the King's release from captivity, and to provide for the poor and travellers. It was a cause worthy of the monks' support, but without consulting them, the bishop appropriated two of their churches for the support of his new foundation, and further bribed their prior, Ralph de Ros, to give a piece of meadowland in Strood to the hospital in return for money to finish the stonework of the cathedral cloister and for a new pair of organs (14). Matters were made worse by the fact that the churches the bishop appropriated were Aylesford and St. Margaret, Rochester, only recently won back at great expense.

The monks complained. They petitioned the Pope to intervene and he did in fact do so, but to no purpose. The bishop forced the monks into an agreement to maintain the house as he had founded it together with the lands and churches he had given to it (15). The agreement remained more or less in force until 1239, then in 1256 the Pope declared that the churches should be returned to the monks. Gilbert was long since dead, buried in haste and deprived of the last rites, during the Interdict, but his successor refused to comply. The quarrel finally came to the test in the reign of Edward I when the monks were ambushed and beaten up by the monks at Strood while they were attempting to pass in procession through the hospital grounds (16). After this debate, the monks of Rochester gave up what was obviously an unequal struggle.

[(13) The History and Antiquities of Rochester and its Environs by John Denne, ed. by T. Fisher, 1817 pp. 112-115
(14) DRc/T572/1-15
(15) DRc/L3
(16) William Lambard, Perambulation of Kent , 1570 gives a spirited account of this incident, which, though he was violently anti-catholic, is most graphic. 1826 edition, pp. 328-331]

The Monks' quarrel with Gilbert Glanville stretched far beyond Strood Hospital to other problems which caused proportionate dissension: rights of presentation; the Bishop's xenium ; and the disposition of servants in the priory.

On the first problem, the Monks claimed rights of presentation to churches in their possession both within and outside the diocese of Rochester. In 1207 they possessed at least eleven within and seven outside the diocese, but they laid claim to others that belonged to the Bishop. On his part the Bishop made no claim to any. He merely stated that when John was Bishop he had never asked the Monks for authority. He had always presented and instituted incumbents to all vacant livings both inside and outside the diocese, but had secured to them their rightful pensions, which was all they were entitled to. Further Gilbert Glanville added that he proposed to do likewise, with the sole concession that those he instituted should do fealty to the Monks as well as himself (17). This was a meaningless concession. Although the Monks gave way on the Bishop's right of institution, they always denied that he had any right to present to priory livings inside the diocese. They did, however, reach agreement over presentations to livings outside the diocese of Rochester. The Bishop here claimed joint right of presentation with the Monks, and though they knew he had none, they allowed his claim; and as witness that they did so and kept their agreement at least in part, there is a document surviving among these archives showing the strictness with which it was adhered to in the cases of Norton, Boxley and Stourmouth in the diocese of Canterbury for over 150 years (18). The problem was not so much one of fees but of influence and authority. It emphasises the Bishop's ultimate authority over the priory and the Monks' refusal to accept it. Gilbert Glanville's interpretations of their charters were often wrong, but the Monks found that there was little they could do in defence of their rights.

[(17) DRc/L3
(18) DRc/L10]

The Disagreement over the Bishop's xenium is an interesting one. The income from the Bishop's estates was fairly small and the xenium was a recognised method of providing for hospitality at his table. The word itself signifies a gift made in token of hospitality. This was a particularly lavish one consisting of 16 suckling pigs, 30 geese, 300 hens, 1,000 lampreys, 1,000 eggs, four salmon and other items from each of the five principal priory manors of Frindsbury, Stoke, Wouldham, Denton and Southfleet, and further gifts of fish from Lambeth, Surrey and Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. It was Bishop Gundulf who had ordained in 1107 that the xenium should be given to the Bishop on St. Andrew's day (17 November) but with the important, and in this case, significant proviso that if the Bishop was away from Rochester on that day, it should be given to the poor (19). The Monks appear to have resented making the gift, and refused to bring it when the Bishop was away. They argued that it was an imposition and that it was contrary to the ordinance that the Bishop should have it if he were away. Gundulf had never imagined a time when the Bishop would not be present in his church at the patronal festival, and Gilbert Glanville argued in his defence that he was forced to travel and could not always arrange to be there. He, therefore, fiercely opposed the Monks and claimed the xenium as his right wherever he might be on that day (20). In the end the Monks were forced to surrender. This was a major victory for Bishop Gilbert and one of which he and his successors took full advantage. In 1329 the Monks accused Bishop Hamo de Hethe [cf. Hythe] of abusing the system. They claimed he ought by ancient custom to celebrate St. Andrew's day in the cathedral and in the hall adjoining and there receive a present of ten pounds from the prior and Chapter towards his expenses, but that each year he had received the present without performing the ceremony, had left the prior and Chapter to do it, and to pay for it as well (21). The Bishop's answer has not survived. Suffice to say that the xenium survived even the dissolution and was still being paid in the eighteenth century (22).

[(19) DRc/T47
(20) DRc/L3
(21) Registrum Hamonis Hethe Diocesis Roffensis A.D. 1319-1352 transcribed and edited by Charles Johnson, Oxford 1948, pp. 424-431 and Introduction.
(22) DRc/FTv34]

According to Edmund de Hadenham [cf. Haddenham, Buckinghamshire], Ascelin was the first Bishop of Rochester to interfere in the appointment of priory servants (23). When Bishop Gundulf had lived with the Monks there was one set of servants and officials to look after both the Bishop and the Monks, but after the fire of 1137 and the almost total destruction of the conventual buildings, the Bishop set up a separate household. The priory servants apparently joined him and the Monks appointed others. There were over twenty of these servants and officials, all essential to the smooth running of a Benedictine house and all equally indispensible. Their number included the master baker, the second baker, three other bakers, brewers, cooks, a steward, janitor, guestmaster, granger, infirmarer, tailors and launderers to name only a few. Each official's work was carefully laid down but more important than this, so also were his salary and perquisites (24). It was these perquisites, often free food and drink, which made these offices so popular. Many of the servants and officials were related to Monks in the priory. Nepotism was rife. It appears that Ascelin withdrew the priory servants for this reason but a visiting legate reproved him saying it was not his business to interfere. Ascelin relented and the legate attempted to improve matters by making the posts annual appointments rather than permanent ones, but to no purpose. The sons of master bakers still succeeded their fathers and one of them even found favour by marrying the cellarer's sister.

[(23) Wharton, op.cit., p.343
(24) Custumale Roffense ff.53-60.]

The legate Hinemar's suggestions did not solve the problem. The Monks were still complaining under Bishop Gilbert Glanville that he interfered too much in this sphere (25). Gilbert Glanville doubtless had many relatives he wished to provide for, but he cannot have had more than Bishop Hamo de Hethe who was one of the chief offenders on this score. When Simon de Meopham made his archiepiscopal visitation of the priory in 1329 the Monks made 25 complaints against their Bishop, four of which related to this problem. They complained that he appointed to twenty or more offices in the priory when he was entitled to only four or five; that he appointed his own kinsmen and others to priory offices who did their work by deputy and at half wages, too ill paid to be honest; that the officers and their deputies took no notice when reprimanded, and said that they like the Monks were irremovable; and specifically that he had appointed a brewer who was inefficient and of ill fame. Most of the charges against Hamo de Hethe [cf. Hythe] were dismissed but the Monks' claims were not unfounded on their first charge. The Bishop's family name was Noble and there are many appointments of persons of this name in his register (26).

[(25) DRc/L3
(26) Registrum Hamonis p.425 and Introduction]

Apart from their endless conflict with the Bishops in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, there were three other problems of conflict which affected the priory, all of them outside the walls: the position of the priory in relation to the Crown and the Castle; relations with the Citizens of Rochester; and relations with the archdiocese of Canterbury.

The first stone keep is said to have been built at Rochester for King William II by Bishop Gundulf for the then enormous sum of sixty pounds, in return for a gift of land in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. The priory buildings lay in the shadow of the castle and suffered somewhat in the wars in which it featured. Kings did not, however, neglect the priory. Some visited it, and there is a series of charters of privileges to prove their interest and concern. Many charters repeat the fact that William Rufus was eternally grateful to the monks and their Bishop for supporting him when his uncle Odo, Bishop of Bayeux rebelled against him and besieged Rochester and its castle. The monks lost a good deal in the battle of 1088. Much of their house was destroyed but the Manor of Haddenham rectory, Buckinghamshire proved a lucrative present and, moreover, gave them a link with the past. It had belonged to the Countess Goda, sister of King Edward the Confessor, a fact which several charters also repeat (27)

. There were many skirmishes involving the castle over the years but no further sieges until 1216 when the priory was pillaged by King John and his followers. But the most spectacular siege and the one which the monks turned most to their advantage was that of 1264. In that year, says Rishanger, the Chronicler, Simon de Montfort and the rebel barons brought great siege engines and fire ships to Rochester and prosecuted the siege with great violence. Some of the priory buildings were very badly damaged and Simon and his soldiers broke in a carried off the priory monuments. The story is told on the back of one small deed (28). It tells how the charter and many others were stolen from the prior's chapel where they were kept and carried off to Winchester, and how John de Renham [Rainham], the prior got them back from the robbers but with the seals all broken and many of the charters torn and damaged. He was appalled at the danger in which this might place his house, and at great labour and personal expense persuaded King Henry III to reconfirm all the damaged charters by a new one (29). This the King did. The charter embodies most of the charters granted to the priory since the conquest by Kings, Archbishops, Bishops and other persons. And there is no doubt that this is in fact the charter concerned because, its content apart, there is attached to the seal strings another cord woven into it, to which is attached a small fragment of very heavily cross-stitched parchment, all that remains of the earlier charters.

A great many of the charters in the possession of the priory were damaged in this incident. Therefore to supply the deficiencies not remedied by the new Royal Charter, and also to circumvent some of the problems of the division of property between themselves and their Bishop, the monks resorted to forgery. This was not so much a crime as it is now. Rather, it was a necessity. Once forged documents had been used to prove title they acquired the force of the genuine article. It is of course unnecessary to remark that documents were conveniently lost and suppressed if their contents proved a nuisance.

[(27) DRc/T48, T60 (1), T65 (1)
(28) DRc/T53 and F.F. Smith, History of Rochester p.17
(29) DRc/T60]

There are at least two forged charters among these archives, both charters of Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, life long friend of Bishop Gundulf and a great benefactor to Rochester. The first charter refers to Northfleet Church which Anselm gave to the monks. The monks had the presentation but Hubert Walter and successive Archbishops attempted to wrest it from them. Probably in 1264 (or possibly before) the seal was lost from the document and to give it more force a new seal has been made from a cast. It is quite easy to spot. Firstly it has been attached upside down, and secondly there is a shallow depression in the middle of the figure of the Archbishop caused by an airbubble (30). This document is genuine enough. The second is not. It relates to the great quarrels with the Bishops over property. It has no seal and purports to be a charter of Anselm making over to the priory many churches and manors most of which belonged to the Bishop of Rochester (31). The handwriting very closely resembles that of the new charter of 1265 (32). It may even have been written by the same scribe. It has, however, one fault. The charter is dated 1101 by which year four at least of the twelve witnesses were dead and had been dead for several years before Anselm became Archbishop of Canterbury. There are five Bishops included among the witnesses: Maurice of London, Osmund of Salisbury (Wiltshire), Walkelin of Rochester, Stigand of Chichester (Sussex)and Herbert of Thetford (Norfolk). Only Maurice was alive in 1101. Herbert died in 1085, Stigand in 1087, Walkelin in 1098 and Osmund in 1099. Anselm became Archbishop in 1093.

[(30) DRc/T49
(31) DRc/T48
(32) DRc/T60]

There was constant disagreement between the monks and the people of the City of Rochester. The people had no parish church of their own and worshipped at the alter of St. Nicholas which stood before the rood screen in the nave of the Cathedral Church (33). The monks appear to have disliked this system since it brought them into close contact with the populace from whom they wished to remain apart; it disturbed their peace and meant that their church was not their own. Admittedly it was the common custom for the local people to worship in the nave of a monastic church and is the reason why many have survived as parish churches, but it was a sore bone of contention at Rochester. The Benedictine order had moved away from Gundulf's ideal of a monastic church not entirely cut off by physical barriers from the life of the rest of the church. They shut the doors at night and refused the sacrament to the sick; they denied services; and in 1327 they locked the doors of the nave and took away the key. The Bishop forced the monks to come to an agreement with the citizens and on 14 June 1327 it was accordingly agreed that the monks should build an oratory for the citizens in the corner of the nave near the north door with a door and window on the outside of the church for the sacrament for the sick during the night, to which the people should have free entry and exit. They were also guaranteed all the usual daily services (34). The Bishop was sympathetic to their cause and successive Bishops of Rochester tried hard to have a church built for the citizens, but it was not until almost a hundred years after this agreement that this became a reality and St. Nicholas' Church was built beside the Cathedral (35).

[(33) DRc/Emf 77
(34) DRc/L7
(35) Rochester Episcopal Register III, DRc/T60/ff.16v.-18v.

Relations with Canterbury were equally bad. Lanfranc's refoundation at Rochester was modelled on Canterbury. He appointed the first Bishop of Rochester, and the see was thereafter recognised as being in the free gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was thus peculiarly dependent on Canterbury, and as a mark of this dependence, it was customary on the death of their Bishop for the monks of Rochester to take the deceased bishop's pastoral staff to Canterbury where it was laid on the alter in Christchurch Priory, and from where the newly elected Bishop took it after his consecration. Not all the Bishops of Rochester were consecrated at Canterbury. Arnost was consecrated at St. Paul's in London but his immediate successors Gundulf, Ralph and Ernulf at Canterbury. Ascelin also may have been; his successor Walter, brother of Archbishop Theobald, certainly was. It appears that the monks of Rochester objected not to the act of consecration by the Archbishop, or indeed that it took place at Canterbury, but to the claims of the prior of Christchurch that he represented the Church of Canterbury. This was a strange argument for the monks to put forward. They persistently and continually opposed their own diocesan and ought by right to have supported the claim of the prior of Christchurch.

Rivalry between the two houses grew, and in order to avoid the humiliating ceremony after the death of Bishop Waleran in 1183, the monks buried the Bishop's pastoral staff with him in the grave. The monks of Christchurch protested. The rights of the mother church, they declared, must be maintained at all costs and the episcopal staff delivered to the prior. Negotiations were begun. They dragged on for years and years, but for the moment a compromise was reached. The monks of Rochester agreed to deliver the staff, not to the prior but instead to the Archbishop who would deliver it for them. Gilbert Glanville was consecrated by Archbishop Baldwin in 1184 at Canterbury, and as usual in the absence of the Archbishop, took over the administration of his see while he was in the Holy Land. Benedict of Sawston was consecrated at Oxford - a belated attempt to escape from the overlordship of Canterbury; and later Lawrence of St. Martin, one of the King's clerks who became Bishop of Rochester in 1251 instituted litigation to try and secure some measure of independence for Rochester. This he did in the face of Royal disapproval, for both King Henry III and his Queen favoured the primate, and if the negotiations did not have the required results as far as independence was concerned, at least they improved relations between the Bishop and his monks (36).

[(36) DRc/L2, see Wharton, op.cit., pp.342-351; C.E. Woodruff and W. Danks, Memorials of Canterbury Cathedral p.104. Hasted, op.cit, 2nd ed.,IV, p.124 says the Archbishop did not interfere after 1238.]

It is exceedingly difficult to follow the trend of numbers of monks in the priory as the information available is somewhat inadequate. Archbishop Lanfranc introduced twenty-two monks into the house whom he instituted in 1083. When Bishop Gundulf died in March 1108 there were, according to Edmund de Hadenhem [cf. Haddenham] sixty monks some of the best read and the best singers in the Country (37). He also claims that numbers fell off after Gundulf's death but this may be accounted for by the fact that in accordance with the system of Bec, monks from well established houses were continually being sent out to help found and replenished other houses. It is known that monks went out from Rochester to the house of St. John at Colchester (Essex) founded by Eudo Dapifer in 1119/1120 (38) and to Christchurch, Canterbury in 1207 (39). There were apparently only 35 monks at Rochester in 1317; only 30 voted at the election of John de Sheppey as prior in 1333 (40) and these were doubtless drastically reduced by the pestilence which raged in Rochester between 1349-1352 (41). There are only 190 instances in the Rochester episcopal registers of monks entering the priory there for the period between 1320-1537 but this presupposes that all the monks in the house went through the various orders of the priesthood there. Obviously this was not the case and the registers of other bishoprics should be searched to determine an entry figure if this is possible. From the list compiled it would appear that there were far more candidates entering the priory between 1460-1537 than between 1320-1460. Twenty-three monks voted at the election of Lawrence Dan or Mereworth as prior in 1532 (42) and he and nineteen monks took the oath of supremacy on 10th June 1534. Only twelve monks received pensions in May 1541 but this number did not include those provided for under the secular establishment (43). From the figures given here, it would appear that there were normally about 30 monks at Rochester for most of the period of the existence of the priory.

[(37) Wharton, op.cit, p.337
(38) Archaeologia Cantiana XXIII, p.224
(39) Knowles, op.cit, p.365. There is also a case recorded in the Priors' Book concerning William Lecestre who was released from his oath of obedience to the prior of Rochester so that he could go to St. Giles Cornwall in the diocese of Coventry (Warwickshire) and Lichfield (Staffordshire) where Hugh Lempster was prior. This was in 1480. No reason is given for the transfer. DRc/Elb1A f.6
(40) Rochester Episcopal Register I, f.157. This was a disputed election: 22 monks led by the late prior John de Speldhurst voted for John de Sheppey, 5 led by Richard Bledlawe, the cellarer and his subcellarer Peter de Lambourne, for Willam de Reyersshe [Ryarsh] the sacrist; and 3 young monks for Robert de Suthflete [Southfleet].
(41) DRc/F1A
(42) Rochester Episcopal Register IV, f.73
(43) Calender of Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic. Henry VIII, Vol.XIV, 1540-1541, p.356 no.745, f.30 (November) and p.718 (May)]
When a man became a monk in a religious house, he discarded his own surname after his profession and was known instead by this Christian name and that of the place or parish from whence he came. For this reason it is a simple matter to determine the area from which monks came to Rochester priory. Most of them were local men from Rochester and its neighbouring parishes, some came from Canterbury, Folkestone, Dover, Hythe and Dartford; but as can be seen from the list compiled of the monks passing through the various orders of the priesthood, at lease nine came from London, several from Norfolk, three from Oxford, two from St. Albans (Hertfordshire) one from Ossory in Ireland, one from Winchester (Hampshire) and one from Mayfield in Sussex. The list has been compiled almost exclusively from the Rochester Episcopal registers.

In the early years the priors were probably Frenchmen: Ernulf came from Bec and Ralph from Caen, but as Rochester had the privilege of electing its priors without Royal interference, the tradition of electing a man from within the house itself developed very rapidly, and by the third quarter of the twelfth century this was probably standard practice. There was one exception to this rule. William Fresell who was elected in 1509 had previously been prior of Binham in Norfolk (44). After the migration of Alfred to Abingdon (Berkshire) between 1185-1189 none of the priors left to go to other houses. If they resigned their office, they remained in the house until their death. There are, of course, several exceptions: William de Hoo [St. Werburgh] who retired to Woburn in Bedfordshire; and those priors who resigned on their election to the bishopric, Thomas de Wouldham, Hamo de Hethe [Hythe] and John de Sheppey (45)

[(44) Rochester Episcopal Register IV, f.53. He took the following oath: In dei nomine Amen. Ego Willelmus Fressell Monachus expresse professus ordinis sancti Benedicti prior monasterii ecclesie vestre cathedralis sancti Andree Roffensis per provisionem et nominacionem vestras iuxta antiquas ordinaciones ecclesie vestre predicte prefectus sive nominatus promitto ad sancta dei evangelia vobis et successoribus vestris canonice intrandum et ministrandum vestris canonicam obedienciam Reverenciam et honorem necnon observanciam antiquarum ordinacium prefate ecclesie vestre cathedralis sicut me deus adiumet et sancta dei evangelia.

(45) Wharton, op.cit Successio Priorum, pp.392-399]

File updated by Borough Archivist, Medway Council 9 August 2001.
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Click here to view the full list of the Rochester Priory records or select the folder from the query tool by following the instructions given there.

List of priors of St. Andrew, Rochester

Ordwin occurs 1089; deposed (Wharton, Anglia Sacra p.392
Ernulf (46)occurs 1093-1096 ( Textus Roffensis DRc/R1/ f.179; DRc/T49); resigned 1096
Ralph (47)succeeded 1096 (Wharton, op. cit p.392); resigned 1107
Ordwin re-elected 1107 ( Textus Roffensis DRc/R1/f.198; DRc/T47)
Letard c.1115-1125 (DRc/T310/1); occurs 1144
Brian c.1142-1148 ( Registrum Temporalium q.12 f.5); occurs 1145 (DRc/T57(5)), 1146
Reginald occurs 1154
Ernulf c.1148-1182 (DRc/L5/3)
William de Borstalle [i.e. Borstal] (48)
Silvester (49)occurs 1177 (DRc/L17), 1178
Richard (50)resigned 1182
Alfred (51) Osbern de Scapeya [i.e. Sheppey] (52) Ralph de Ros (53) occurs 1199; (see DRc/T572/14)

[(46) Monk of Bec [France]. Prior of Canterbury 1096; Abbot of Peterborough (Northamptonshire) 1107; Bishop of Rochester 1115-1125
(47) Monk of Caen, Normandy, France. Came to England with Lanfranc. Abbot of Battle, Sussex 1107. See DRc/T47
(48) Cellarer (Wharton, op. cit. p.393)
(49) Cellarer (ibid)
(50) Abbot of Burton, died 19 April 1188 ( ibid )
(51) Abbot of Abingdon (Berkshire) between 1185-1189 (ibid)
(52) Sacrist ( ibid )
(53) Sacrist ( ibid )]

Elias occurs 1214 (DRc/T193/1)
William occurs 1222
Richard de Derente [i.e. Darenth] elected 1225; occurs 1228 (Wharton, op.cit. p.393), 1230 (DRc/T354/4), 1236, 1238 (Wharton, op.cit. p.393)
William de Hoo [i.e. St. Werburgh or Hundred] (54)elected 1239; occurs 1241 (DRc/L12)
Alexander de Glanville elected 1242; died suddenly 1252 Wharton op.cit. 393
Simon de Clyve [Cliffe] (55)
John de Renham [Rainham] (56) elected 1262; deposed 1283
Thomas de Wouldham (57) elected 1283; resigned 1291
John de Renham [Rainham] re-elected 1292; died 1294
Thomas de Shelford [Shalford] succeeded 1294; resigned 1301
John de Greenstreet elected 1301; resigned 1314
Hamo de Hethe [Hythe] (58) elected 1314; resigned 1319
John de Westerham appointed 1320; died 1321
John de Speldhurst (59) elected 1321; resigned 1333
John de Sheppey (60) elected 1333; resigned 1351 (Rochester Episcopal Register I, f. 157)

[(54) Sacrist. Refused to assent to the sale of Chattenden Wood, Frindsbury; resigned and retired to Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire where he died (Wharton, op.cit. p.393)
(55) Sacrist. Resigned through ill health ( ibid )
(56) Said to have manipulated the election of John Bradfield as Bishop of Rochester in 1278. Accused of embezzlement and simony. He died on 7 January 1293/1294 ( ibid p.394)
(57) Bishop of Rochester 1292-1317
(58) Bishop of Rochester 1319-1352
(59) Cellarer
(60) Bishop of Rochester 1353-1360. Treasurer of England 1356-1360]

Robert de Suthflete [i.e. Southfleet] (61) succeeded 1352; died 1361
John de Hertlepe [Hartlip] (62) elected 1361; resigned 1380
John Sheppey (63) elected 1380; died 1419
William Tonebreg [Tonbridge] (64) elected 1419; died 1444/1445 (Rochester Episcopal Register III, f.203)
John Clyve [Cliffe] (65) elected 1445 ( ibid ); died 1460 ( ibid. f.233 verso)
Richard Peckham (66) elected 1460 ( ibid ); occurs 1463 (DRc/T336), 1467
William Wood (67) occurs 1468, 1470 (DRc/T301), 1472 (DRc/T288), 1475 (DRc/T281)
Thomas Bourne (68) occurs 1478 (DRc/Elb/1A/f.4), 1479, 1480, 1482, ( ibid f.10), 1486, 1488 (DRc/T104/1), 1489, 1492 (DRc/Elb/1A/f.16); resigned 1494 (Rochester Episcopal Register IV f.7)
William Bishop elected 1494 ( ibid ); resigned 1509 ( ibid. , f.53)
William Fresell (69) elected 1509 ( ibid ); died 1532 ( ibid., f.173)

[(61) Subdeacon 21 September 1325 (Rochester Episcopal Register I, f.69 verso); Deacon 26 January 1325/1326 ( ibid., f.71); priest 2 April 1327 ( ibid., f.76); resigned Office of chamberlain 17 September 1326 ( ibid., f.118); voted for John de Sheppey as prior 19 August 1333 ( ibid., f. 157); Warden of Felixstowe (Suffolk)
(62) Deacon 14 June 1348 ( ibid., f.237 verso); Warden of Felixstowe (Suffolk)
(63) Subdeacon 30 May 1364 ( ibid., f.327 verso); priest 19 September 1367 ( ibid., f.330 verso)
(64) Acolyte 24 September 1396 ( ibid. II., f.146 verso); Subdeacon 21 December 1398 ( ibid. f.196); priest 18 December 1400 ( ibid., f.156 verso)
(65) Subdeacon 23 September 1402 ( ibid., f.1810 verso); deacon 22 September 1403 ( ibid. III., f.37 verso) priest 29 March 1404 ( ibid. II, f.186 verso); cellarer 25 May 1425 ( ibid. III., f.47 verso)
(66) Professed c.7 September 1446 ( ibid. , f.207 verso); acolyte and subdeacon 17 December 1446 ( ibid. , f.209); priest 19 December 1450 ( ibid. f.220 verso)
(67) Subprior 10 September 1461 ( ibid. , f.234 verso)
(68) Acolyte 14 April 1458 ( ibid., f.231); subdeacon Easter Saturday 1460 ( ibid., f.233); deacon 19 September 1461 ( ibid., f.235 verso); priest 19 September 1461 ( ibid., f.236 verso)
(69) Prior of Binham, Norfolk. Professed at St. Albans (Hertfordshire) ( ibid., f.53). Probably the first non-local prior since the late twelfth century.]

Laurence Mereworth (70) elected 1532 ( ibid. ); resigned 1538
Walter Boxley (71) occurs 1538 (DRc/T164), 1539 (DRc/T282, DRc/335/1, 1540 (DRc/T335/4).

[(70) Deacon 8 March 1504/1505 ( ibid., f.41); resigned office of cellarer 2 December 1514 ( ibid.,f.72 verso); sacrist 2 December 1514 ( ibid., f.72 verso); resigned 20 November 1518 ( ibid., f.77 verso); cellarer 12 November 1518 ( ibid. ); removed and replaced 22 October 1522 ( ibid., f.108 verso); resigned 5 October 1526 ( ibid., f.134 verso); subprior 5 October 1526 ( ibid.); resigned 11 November 1532 ( ibid., f.174). Also known as Laurence Dann

(71) Professed 26 November 1514 ( ibid. , f.72); deacon 20 December 1522 ( ibid. , f.109); present at the election of Laurence Mereworth 1532 ( ibid. , f.173). Also known as Walter Phillips under which name he was appointed as the first Dean of Rochester.]

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Feoffment 1390/1391

John Zenelden, Chaplain and Thomas Clay of Nethercaldecote [i.e. Lower Caldecote, Bedfordshire] to John Fyssher [cf. Fisher] of Northgezevelle:

½ acre land near lands of the Abbot of Wardon which John Mabilly holds for life from [............?] Trumpyngton [cf. Trumpington] and abutting on Woweland.


John Mabilly [................] Draper, Richard Bonnelet, Alan Clay at Caldecote.

Northzel [15th century]

Document worn.

Part missing from right hand edge.

Date: 1390/1391
Quantity: 1 membrane

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Feoffment 1315/1315

John de Crevequer [cf. Crevker, Crevecouer] to John le Matoun of Goldington and Ida, his wife.

1 rood land in Goldington field abutting on Colieresway in Goldington [Bedfordshire?].


Roger, lord of Goldington, John le Rous, Ralph Wygein, William Bruton, Fulk Goscard at Goldington.

Endorsement: Goldynton [14th century]

Document stained and worn to holes in parts.

Date: 18 March 1314/1315
Quantity: 1 membrane

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Feoffment 1364

Robert Sawar of Wylton and Agnes, his wife to John Fidone of Goldington [Bedfordshire?]:

Part of a messuage called Garswyk 45' wide throughout extending from the Southernfield with the foundation wall as far as the road from Goldington; 7 roods + land lying separately in the fields of Goldington: 3 roods in Ruffinling, 1r. above Sandhurst between the river bank and a piece of land which once belonged to John de Rous'. and 3 roods in the Eastern field extending as far as Ravenestrak' in Goldington.


Gilbert Oolet, John le Cartere, Adam Cromme, Geoffrey Corner, Richard Wegeyn at Goldington.

Endorsement: Goldyngton [14th century]

2 very worn seals.


+ Refered to later in the same document as a messuage and 7 selions of land with walls, hedges, pastures, and other appurtenances.
Date: 29 November 1364
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The Textus Roffensis

(Textus de Ecclesia Roffensi per Ernulphum episcopum) * (The Book of the Church of Rochester through Bishop Ernulf)

12th. - 14th. Centuries

For the newly launched digital images of the Textus Roffensis, please follow this link (to Rochester Cathedral website)



The Textus Roffensis is more properly two distinct books, though written at about the same time, and largely by the same scribe, which were only bound together some time after 1300. The first part contains one of the most important of all surviving collections of Anglo-Saxon laws, from the conversion of King Aethelberht of Kent to the coronation charter of King Henry I of 1100.

The second part is the oldest and most precious of the cathedral registers. It can best be described as a memorandum book, created for ease of reference and security. Both parts were compiled in part from individual or single sheet original documents or exemplars, many now lost, in part from the collective memory of the cathedral community.

Dr. Patrick Wormald of Oxford is more explicit and humorous in his explanation of the purpose of the book. He says of the Textus Roffensis: it would have made an impressive weapon for a churchman seeking to defend the position of his English foundation against prowling Norman predators, compiled as it was soon after the Norman Conquest.

The compilation represents the first documentary evidence of the compromises made between the new Norman rulers and their indigenous English subjects, hinting at a convergence rather than a collision between the English language and English laws on the one hand and Romance laws and language on the other.

The book contains two foundation charters of Rochester Cathedral and Diocese of 604 (DRc/R1 f.119 recto - f.119 verso and DRc/R1 f.177 recto), two pre-Conquest and pre-Domesday Book lists of Kent parishes and copies of the earliest English law codes to survive (contained in part i of the book, i.e. the first of the two separate books prior to their being bound together)

The book would have been placed on the high altar in the presbytery, or stored very near by, not in the nave as some scholars have supposed. The first suggestion that it was known as a Textus comes from the enigmatic mid-thirteenth-century (Brett) or fourteenth century (Flight) note as quoted above *, which is long after its compilation. The term Textus signifies a book with an ornamented or decorated cover of the kind kept in the church rather than the cloister thus differentiating the volume from a liber de claustro Roffensi or book from the cloister of Rochester. The title is sometimes erroneously taken to mean a text concerning the church of Rochester.

It was highly unusual for a non-sacred book to be accorded such status, evidence of the politico-religious importance attached to its mainly secular content.


The compilation dates from the episcopate of Ernulf of Bec (1115-1124) and more specifically from the period 1122-1123 (Hough, 2001) or 1123-1124 (Wormald, 2001). At that time there was little distinction between the possessions of the priory and the bishopric, and the bishop lived in the priory buildings with the monks. Ernulf’s involvement is commemorated on the first folio.

Both parts were written by a single scribe. Flight surmises it was the prior of the day, Ordwine. Wormald suggests he was a trusted servant of Bishop Ernulf (talk transcript, 2004). Whoever he was, he was no ordinary scribe and possessed advanced scholarly and editorial powers and was responsible for seeking out and ordering as well as transcribing the book’s contents. Similarly, A. Campbell has stated the texts……when compared with the single sheets, inspire considerable confidence in the care, honesty, and accuracy of the scribe (1973).

Physical description.

The volume now contains 235 vellum leaves.

The main hand in both parts is an early twelfth century bookhand but a number of leaves, particularly in the second part, have been replaced, and there are also additions made down to the mid-fourteenth century in a variety of later hands, which mostly imitate the work of the first scribe with more or less success. Some of the dominant capitals are coloured but on the whole very little colour has been used. There is one fully illuminated capital letter, marking the beginning of the second part on f.119r. After the two parts were brought together they were foliated throughout except for ff. 234v-235v in arabic numerals and thus must have been foliated after c.1300, see below.

Nothing is known of the original bindings of the two parts while separated, but the new binding of c.1300 comprised wooden boards with a leather covering. This wooden binding almost certainly survived until the early eighteenth century as it was noted by Dr. John Harris, Prebendary of Rochester, who borrowed it (presumably just before it was rebound in 1718) for his History of Kent published in 1719.

On 21 December 1708 the Chapter meeting ordered the Dean to take the book to London for binding following a request for the loan of it to Dr. Edward Elstub [cf. Elstob] on security of £200 (DRc AC/5 p.55 recto). It is not certain the book was bound on that occasion but at some stage between 1708 and 1712 it was lent to Elstub as on 25 June 1712 the Chapter ordered him to return it (DRc AC/5 p.95 recto). The book was rebound in 1718 along with the Customale Roffense (DRc/R2) but as both were bound in Russia leather and only the latter retains its Russia leather cover, the present binding of the Textus Roffensis must be later. However, comparison with the Customale Roffense provides an indication of the appearance of the Textus Roffensis between 1718 and c.1750. That the present covering is not Mrs. Jane Steel's of 1718 (see below) is also confirmed by the absence of corners itemised in her bill. We may surmise that as the binding of the Customale Roffense is a conventional board and leather binding, Steel's rebinding of the Textus Roffensis was given the same treatment and was the occasion on which the medieval wooden boards were dispensed with. Harris' published reference to the wooden boards in 1719 therefore post-dates the rebinding by Steele and refers to the binding of the book whilst in his possession c.1716.

The cover was repaired by Charles Lamacraft in 1937.

Custodial history of the book

William Lambard had access to the Textus in 1573 and annotated several folios.

The first recorded removal of the book from the cathedral’s custody occurred in c.1631 when it appears to have been lent to Sir Henry Spelman (c.1564-1641) the antiquary, in London, for scholarly research. Spelman seems to have employed Thomas Somer, a clerk to Edward Robinson, Clerk of the Court of Chancery to privately transcribe the volume’s contents. At any rate, on completion of the task, the Dean and Chapter arranged for John Lorkin (alias Larkin), Prebendary, to collect the volume from Somer who delivered the book to Lorkin’s lodgings in London but finding the prebendary absent, left it in the hands of the landlord’s wife. Here began a sorry train of events.

Before Lorkin could lay his hands on the volume, a fellow lodger, Dr. Thomas Leonard, a physician of Canterbury, purchased the volume from the landlord’s wife or their servant, probably for the sum of 5 shillings. It took a legal action in the Court of Chancery for Dr. Leonard to surrender the book back into the Dean and Chapter’s custody in 1633.

During Dr. Leonard’s unauthorised custody of the book it was transcribed by Sir Edward Dering whose copy was the basis of Thomas Hearne’s published transcription of 1720. Dering like Lambard made numerous notes in the margins.

In the late 1650s or early 1660s the book was borrowed by Sir Roger Twisden who returned it safely in 1663. Hasted (History of Kent, 1782) believed the Chancery suit to have occurred after the Restoration but would appear to have confused Twisden’s borrowing of the book with its earlier unlawful alienation by Dr. Leonard.

It appears likely the book was loaned to Dr. Edward Elstub in 1708 for transcription by him and the infant prodigy James Smith. It was in the hands of Francis Atterbury, bishop of Rochester in 1717 (DRc AC5/5 pt.ii p.68) and loaned to Dr. John Harris in 1716 (whose History of Kent was published in 1719) (see DRc AC5 pt.ii pp.15-16). It seems the chapter supported Harris in a tussle with the Dean for its possession (DRc AC/5 part ii p.15)

Sometime between 1708 and 1718 the volume was accidentally immersed in either the River Thames or River Medway while being transported to or from London, to or from either Elstub or Harris (Harris, according to Hasted, in which case c.1716-c.1718). The immersion resulted in the margins of the vellum pages being slightly shrunk and stained by a white crystalline deposit. That the damage was limited may have been because of tight brass clasps connecting the wooden boards. The shrinkage and staining were successfully treated by Lamacraft in 1937.

Hasted describes the events thus: Since which they have been again in great danger of being deprived of it; for Dr. [John] Harris [DD FRS], having borrowed it for the use of his intended history of this county, sent it up to London by Water [cf. Rivers Thames and Medway], and the vessel being by the badness of the weather overset, this Mss. lay for some hours under water before it was discovered, which has somewhat damaged it. If accurate, this event can be dated to c.1716-c.1718.

The book is noted as having been returned and presented to the Chapter on 7 July 1719 after being new bound. It is also apparent from this entry (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.34) that the proper or normal storage place of the book was the chapter room. The rebinding referred to is almost certainly that of Mrs. Jane Steel, whose bill was settled on 15 July 1718 (DRc FTv/54/10). It is thus obvious the book was absent between 1718 and 1719 perhaps being used by another borrower, most likely the bishop who seems to have prompted its repair, being named on Steel's bill, but the point to note is that the rebinding could have been the result of the water damage which can thus be dated to c.1716-1718 perhaps whilst being returned by Dr. Harris. The book was rebound by Steel along with the Customale Roffense (DRc/R2)

The book was borrowed for one year by Edmund Barrell (variously prebendary, vice-dean and treasurer of the cathedral and vicar of Boxley) by authorisation of the chapter on 25 November 1719 (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.40), returned on 12 December 1719 (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.47) and borrowed again by him on 27 January 1719/1720 (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.47).

The Textus Roffensis was transcribed and published by Thomas Hearne in 1720 from a copy in the Surrenden library (cf. Sir Edward Dering), but as there are no papers extant relative to the recovery of the register in the seventeenth century, it cannot be determined whether the original was ever part of the Surrenden library. The register was also used extensively by John Thorpe in his compilation of the Registrum Roffense in 1769.

David Wilkins had access to the book for his Leges Anglo-Saxonicae published in 1721 and in the 19th. century further work was undertaken on the book by Richard Price, Benjamin Thorpe and Felix Liebermann.

The book was disbound for photography for Sawyer’s facsimiles published in 1957 and 1962.

Conservation work was undertaken by James Wayre at Canterbury Cathedral Archives in 1996.  The book was also photographed in its entirety in black and white, the prints being lodged with Rochester Cathedral Library and the negatives with Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

The book was fully digitally photographed in high resolution and colour for Medway Council in 2004 for publication in the CityArk Imagebase (click view images button above) and the binding and thirty pages (p.iii-4 recto, 31 verso - 32 recto, 49 verso - 50 recto, 53 verso - 56 recto, 95 verso - 97 recto, 110 verso - 111 recto, 118 verso - 119 recto, 166 verso -167 recto, 176 verso - 177 recto and 220 verso - 221 recto) were scanned at the British Library on 19 September 2007 following its winning of first place in the Turning the Pages 2 competition for local hidden treasures to be included in the British Library's Turning the Pages web site for three years, published on 23 January 2008.

No cover to cover translation of the Textus Roffensis is known to exist.

Bad staining occurs at ff.126v-127r. This appears to have been caused subsequent to the book's immersion in the River Thames and pre-Sawyer as it appears in his facsimile.

The book was deposited by the Dean and Chapter of Rochester at Kent Archives Office in Maidstone in 1969. Prompted by the creation of the more local Rochester upon Medway City Archives Office in 1990 the cathedral archives including the Textus Roffensis were transferred to Strood in 1992. This office was managed by employees of Kent County Council until 1998 when management and custody passed from Kent County Council to the new Unitary Authority (i.e. County Borough) and Archives Authority, Medway Council.

The English Language

The book contains the putative first record of the English language, in the form of the Laws of Ethelbert of c.604 but see also the foundation charters also of 604. The Laws of Ethelbert begin:

Godes feoh and ciricean xii gylde. Biscopes feoh xi gylde. Preostes feoh ix gylde. Diacones feoh vi gylde. Cleroces feoh iii gylde. Ciric frith ii gylde

(The property of God and of the church, twelvefold; a bishop's property, elevenfold; a priest's property, ninefold; a deacon's property, sixfold; a clerk's property, threefold; churchfrith, twofold) (translation Fordham University).

The English used in the constituent Old English books is the Jutish dialect of Old English. The Textus is important because it preserves this rarer dialect of English, West Saxon becoming the predominant literary dialect of Old English. The modern English language is derived successively from the Mercian and East Midland dialects.

The book is thus an important record of an emerging language and the earliest recorded Germanic language after Gothic, which became extinct, and the fourth oldest recorded European language, excluding Gothic, after Greek, Latin and Irish.

The Old English texts contained in the Textus Roffensis also represent the creation of a new alphabet, possibly the first vernacular alphabet after Greek and Latin, combining a Celtic variety of Latin characters, two Germanic runes named thorn and win and a third new letter comprising a modified d called eth.

English Law

The Laws of Ethelbert and the other Kentish laws of the seventh and eighth centuries are the earliest of their kind to survive and are the earliest law codes to be recorded in the vernacular, as against the Latin usage of the Roman Empire.

Dr. Patrick Wormald states: Aethelbert’s code is best seen as the law of the Cantwara; a signal that they had joined Franks and Romans in the ranks of civilized because law-abiding peoples. Aethelbert’s laws were largely accepted laws but the later law codes preserved in the book show how English law had developed into innovatory law. Wormald also states: more than any other legal manuscript, it was both memorial to the past and instrument of its adaptation in a new world.

Anglo-Saxon Historical Research

The Textus Roffensis is a crucial primary source for the history of the Anglo-Saxon period, the more so because the scribe was scholarly and accurate in selecting and copying from his originals.

Wormald states the book matters crucially for the study of Anglo-Saxon charters…because the second part of the MS is a cartulary containing three dozen pre-conquest documents.

A source for Ancient History

The law codes may provide an insight into the Barbarian peoples of northern Europe at the height of the Roman Empire as their customary origins may pre-date the Germanic settlement of Britain and therefore provide glimpses of customs and rituals referred to by Roman writers which are not otherwise contemporarily or disinterestedly recorded. This particularly applies to feud and blood money or compensation in money or in kind.

A Medieval Renaissance

The scribe of the Textus Roffensis is a striking exponent of a distinctive form of Caroline miniscule handwriting or bookhand that was developed at Canterbury and Rochester around 1100 and which became influential nationally.

The later foliation of the book is an early example of the use in English documents of Arabic numerals, which made a first tentative appearance on any scale in France in the thirteenth-century, but only became widespread in the fifteenth century. The Arabic foliation cannot be earlier than c.1300 and probably dates from c.1400 (Liebermann).

The Textus Roffensis defines a unique moment in English history, in which a mixed community of Anglo-Saxons and incoming Normans assembled the materials of the past of the ancient church in which they all served, associated them with the whole history of Christendom, and deployed them in defence of a profound reform of the life of the cathedral. (In 1077 the original secular foundation had been converted into a Benedictine regular foundation.)

The compilation of ancient English documents forming part of the Textus Roffensis itself represents a new self-conscious attempt at recording an English heritage, after the Norman Conquest. The incomers needed an effective guide to the law of King Edward (i.e. King Edward the Confessor) as the Conqueror and King Henry his son promised to observe it; incomer and native alike needed all the resources of the book to preserve their ancient rights and recent acquisitions.

The book, chiefly in the form of the law codes, also records an important stage in nation-building and one that influenced the constitutions of England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and many Commonwealth countries.

Wormald explains this more eloquently: there is an at least indirect connection between the fact that England is today the world’s oldest continuously functioning state and that English is its most widely spoken language. Its language and law are the most enduring marks of Englishness, its main claims to anyone else’s attention. The history of both begins with Aethelbert.

The book may thus be considered as evidence of a 12th. Century and 13th. Century European renaissance that some historians consider to have anticipated the better known 15th. Century renaissance. Aside from its liturgical value and the cartulary in Part II, it also serves the dual purpose of preserving the main corpus of pre-Conquest English law codes that would not otherwise have survived intact and as self-conscious evidence of statehood.

Examples of documents included in the Textus Roffensis

The laws of King Ethelbert of Kent c.604
(DRc/R1 f.1 recto - f.3 verso)

Ethelbert was born c.560 and ruled c580 x c590-616.

The first two lines Dis syndon da domas de aethelbirht cyning asette on agustinus daege (these are the dooms [or laws] that King Ethelbert set in Augustine's days) were composed and added at the time of the compilation of the Textus Roffensis 1123 x 1124 and constitute the first example of the scribe’s many rubrications throughout the text. The rubrication acts as a useful heading and is evidence of the scribe’s editorial control over the whole compilation.

The mid-13th. Century footnote Text[us] de ecc[lesi]a Roff[en]si p[er] Ernulfu[m] ep[iscopu]m (The Book of the Church of Rochester through Ernulf, Bishop), attributes the compilation to the orders of Bishop Ernulf of Rochester. This note has lent itself to the document’s name (see above).

The words of the first 5 lines Godes feoh and ciricean xii gylde. Biscopes feoh xi gylde. Preostes feoh ix gylde. Diacones feoh vi gylde. Cleroces feoh iii gylde. Ciric frith ii gylde (The property of God and of the church, twelvefold; a bishop's property, elevenfold; a priest's property, ninefold; a deacon's property, sixfold; a clerk's property, threefold; churchfrith, twofold) are putatively the earliest surviving words of the English language.

The marginal notes were made by William Lambard in 1573 and Sir Edward Dering in 1632.

The Laws of Aethelbert of Kent of c 604 were entered up 1123 x 1124, They are immediately preceded by notes on Old English characters made by Elizabeth Elstob in 1712 and followed by the Laws of Hlothere and Eadric of Kent 673-c685, also entered up 1123 x 1124.

List of the Archbishops of Canterbury
(DRc/R1 f.110 verso)

This list is naturally the first of the lists of bishops of English dioceses contained in the Textus Roffensis, Canterbury having precedence as the primatial see.

The list begins with Augustine (Augustinus), appointed to Canterbury in 597 and extends to Walter (Walterus) in 1314. However, the main scribe’s hand is evident only down to Ralph (Rodulfus) (succeeded 1114) after whose name other hands have added to the list. This possibly helps date the principal compilation of the Textus Roffensis or at any rate Part 2 to 1123 or just before 1123 when William de Corbeil succeeded. This evidence is by no means determinate however as the list of bishops of Rochester in the main hand extends only to Godwin II who died c.950 with the inference that the main scribe used his discretion in including recent or current archbishops and bishops.

List of the Bishops of Rochester
(DRc/R1 f.111 recto)

This list has pride of place among the lists of bishops of the dioceses following the list of archbishops of Canterbury, beginning with Justus in 604 and ending with Hamo of Hythe in 1316. However as with the Canterbury list, the list was compiled by the main scribe only down to Godwin II who died c.1050 after whose name other hands have added to the list.

These two lists have proved crucial in dating the book. Note additional archbishops and bishops' names in later hands.

Grant of land to St. Andrew’s church at Rochester 28 April 604
(DRc/R1 f.119 recto - f.119 verso)

This page marks the beginning of Part II of the Textus Roffensis, the cartulary of Rochester Priory.

The illumination comprises the illuminated letter R of Regnante formed out of an angel and winged dragon coloured green, lake and vermilion and introduces the charter of King Aethelbert (or Ethelbert) of Kent granting land in Rochester to Bishop Justus and the church of St. Andrew. The charter seems to assume the church already exists. It should be noted the church did not become a priory until Archbishop Lanfranc instituted monks of the Benedictine order here in 1083, at which time Bishop Gundulf began his rebuilding and endowment programme. Down to that time, the church had been a college of lay clerks.

The document is dated 28 April by reference to the imperial Julian Calendar and to 604 by reference to the Indiction. Calculation by indiction was first used in imperial documents, though different forms of it were also used in ecclesiastical documents for centuries. The year of the Incarnation is not given in the document, but Bede places the consecration of Bishop Justus and the foundation of the diocese in 604.

The rubrication or heading was added by the main scribe in the 1120s and the marginalia by Sir Edward Dering in 1632.

The charter breaks into Old English to describe the boundaries of land in the south-western corner of the city granted by the king to the church, the area of the Roman fortress and the later medieval castle:

Fram suthgeate west and langes wealles oth north lanan to straete and sra east fram straete oth dodding hyrnan on gean brad geat

(From South Gate in the west and along the walls to North Lane, to the Street, and so east from Street to Doddinghern Lane and then to Broad Gate).

If the boundary clause is indeed very ancient, this document contains the first record of placenames or street names in the English language and the earliest firmly dated record of the English language. The Street is Watling Street i.e. Rochester High Street; Doddinghern [Lane] is now Boley Hill (formerly King’s Head Lane), in Rochester, see Gordon Ward MD FSA's map in Archaeologia Cantiana LXII 1949 p.38.

However, the document is in part at least a later forgery in common with many charters of the Anglo-Saxon period and was devised to give legal basis to rights not otherwise recorded.

The document is immediately preceded by a note of an inquisition made in 1199 concerning the debts of Rochester Priory.

Grant of land to St. Andrew’s church at Rochester 604
(DRc/R1 f.177 recto)

This document, recording the principal gifts to the church from its foundation to the grant made by King Henry I at the consecration of the new cathedral in 1130, is one of the early additions to the book. The date given, 600, is not accepted by historians. Justus was sent to England by Pope Gregory in 601 and ordained bishop of Rochester in 604.

The area of land conveyed by King Ethelbert is described thus: Omnem terram quae est a medu waie usque ad [?] orientalem portum civitatis in australi parte (All the land which is on the southern side from the Mead Way as far as the east gate of the City).

The land in question is thus the land upon which the church was built, see Gordon Ward MD FSA's map in Archaeologia Cantiana LXII 1949 p.38.

It should be noted that the street named as Mead Way on Ward's map is erroneous. The Latin medu waie in the original document is certainly the River Medway, not an earlier name for Northgate, formerly Pump Lane, as suggested by Ward. Thus an earlier translation by R.C. Fowler OBE BA FSA is correct (Victoria County History of Kent, volume ii p. 121 1926)

The entry represents at least the collective memory of the community at Rochester by the mid-twelfth century; if there had ever been a charter to record this early grant, it appears to have been long lost.

Coronation Charter or Institutiones of King Henry I, 1100
(DRc/R1 ff. 96 recto-97 verso)

This is the earliest document of its kind to survive, a promise made by a new king faced by dangerous enemies that he would govern according to good law. Its importance was underlined when Sir William Blackstone published his famed work Commentaries on the Laws of England between 1765 and 1769.

A version of King Henry’s charter was certainly known to the opponents of King John in 1215, and provided a very general precedent for the demands which were met (at least briefly) in Magna Carta of 1215, by which for the first time a king was constrained to acknowledge that he too was bound by the laws which he enforced on his subjects. In Statutes of the Realm published in 1810, Henry’s charter was deemed to outrank Magna Carta in importance.

The Rochester version of the charter, contained in the Textus Roffensis, is the earliest of the numerous surviving copies; the form is broadly that which seems to have been known to the barons in the months before the grant of Magna Carta. John’s opponents seem to have used a version not dissimilar to that in the Textus, but almost certainly one they found in an early-thirteenth-century copy of the Leges Londinienses.

In the charter Henry declared he had been made king by the common consent of the barons; forbade evil customs introduced by William the Conqueror, his father, or William Rufus, his brother; made the church free; abolished abuses of feudal relief, marriage and wardship; upheld allegiance to the king irrespective of traditional feudal lordships; instituted a reform of the coinage; agreed justice would be administered to those who had made or kept bad money; authorised the bequeathing of personal estates by will; agreed men who suffered forfeiture were no longer to be at the king’s mercy; agreed in return for supplying men and horses for the defence of the realm, knights were to be allowed their demesne lands free of tax; agreed peace was to be kept; reinstated the laws of Edward the Confessor as amended by William the Conqueror; and asserted the forests were to remain as they had been under William the Conqueror, with the agreement of the barons.

The document was witnessed by Bishop Gundulf. It is immediately preceded in the book by Bequeathing Form.

Service of Bridgework: list of personages, parishes and manors liable to repair Rochester Bridge, early 11th. century
(DRc/R1 f.166 verso)

This document probably constitutes a description of liabilities for the repair of Rochester Bridge. It is useful as a physical description of the partly English, partly Roman bridge of the period prior to the erection of the later medieval bridge completed in about 1398. However it could also be read as specifications for a proposed new bridge.

The Bridgework list was probably compiled in the first half of the 11th. century. The Textus Roffensis also contains a Latin copy of the original, written by the main scribe at the same time as this transcription in the 1120s (DRc/R1 f.164 verso).

The document was no doubt included in the Textus Roffensis because of the obligations for repair placed on the bishop and his parishes. In this latter regard, historians have used the list as a source for the origins and development of Kent parishes, in conjunction with the slightly later Domesday Book of 1087.

The document begins with the scribe’s rubrication: This is thaere bricce geweorc on hrovecaestre (This is the Bridgework at Rochester) and continues from the original source, the first clause of which states:

Her syndon genamad tha land the man hi of scale weorcan; Aerest thaere burge biscop fehth on thone earm to wercene tha land peran and threo gyrda to pilliane and iii sylla to lycanne, thaet is of Borcstealle and of Cucclestane and of Frinondesbyrig and of Stoce

(Here are named the lands from which the labour is due. First the bishop of the city undertakes to construct the land pier on the [eastern] arm and to plank three rods and to set in place 3 beams, that is from Borstal, Cuxton, Frindsbury and Stoke.)

The document is preceded by an unruled later 12th. Century addition.

List of churches receiving Holy Chrism from St. Andrew’s Church c.1080
(DRc/R1 ff.220 verso – 222 recto)

Holy Chrism was consecrated oil used in the rite of baptism. It was an old custom for the mother church to distribute chrism oil to the subordinate churches of the bishopric at Easter for which a fee of either sixpence or nine pence was charged, known as the Chrism Fee.

The list therefore served as an accounting record of the Chrism fees due from each church.

The list is important as it comprises a list of parishes and chapels nearly contemporary with the Domesday Book of 1087 and may even have been in use pre-Conquest (1066).

Additionally, the list supplies information on chapels and manors and the development of parish areas. For example, in addition to an entry for Frindsbury Church, Strood, Islingham and Thorndun are recorded as chapels of Frindsbury. This indicates that St. Nicholas’ Church Strood was a daughter church of Frindsbury and that the parish of Strood was carved out of Frindsbury.

The list begins with the scribe’s rubrication De numero ecclesiaru[m] Rofensis ep[iscop]at[us] et de redditib[us] q[u]os sing[u]l[a]e reddu[n]t quando accipiu[n]t s[an]ctu[m] crisma a mat[re] eccl[esi]a ep[iscop]at[us] (Concerning the number of churches of the bishopric of Rochester and the payments which they each make when they received the holy chrism from the Episcopal mother church)

The parishes mentioned on the first page include Tonbridge (Tonebrigga), Yalding (Ealdinga), Brenchley (Braencesle), Horsmonden (Horsbundenne), Pembury (Peppingeberia), Wateringbury (Wotringaberia), Cowden (Cudena), Aylesford (Aeilesford), East Malling (Meallingis), Ryarsh (Reiersce), Chatham (Caetham), Cuxton (Cuclestena), Penshurst (Pennes hurst), Ightam (Ehteham) and Lewisham (Leueseham).

Synopsis of contents

Part 1 is preceded by various miscellaneous notes added by much later hands.

p.i recto memoranda and notes in early modern hands

p.i verso list of Old English characters

p.ii recto Latin inscription pertaining to book's return to custody following a law suit 1633

p.ii verso palimpsest

p.iii recto transcription by Dr. John Harris of inscription found on the medieval wooden cover of book, as above 1633

p.iii verso a list of Old English characters by Elizabeth Elstob entered up in 1712

Part 1: Quedam instituta de legibus regum Anglorum (Some enactments from the laws of the kings of the English) (DRc/R1 f.58 recto) [translation Flight]

i.e. legal texts, law codes and regnal lists stemming from the kingdoms of the English Heptarchy, England

ff.1 recto- 3 verso: Ethelbert [cf. Aethelbert] king of Kent [commencing Dis syndon da domas de aethelbirht cyning asette on agustinus daege (transliteration Morris/Sawyer) ( these are the dooms [or laws] that King Ethelbert fixed in Augustine's days) (translation Fordham University.)] It should be noted modern scholars (Hough, Richards and Wormald) suggest this heading to be a later rubrication prefaced by the scribe to the text of the original document from which he copied. (For a 35mm colour slide/transparency see collection M51)
ff.3 verso-5 recto: Hlothere [cf. Lother/Lothair] and Eadric [cf. Edric], kings of Kent
ff.5 recto-6 verso: Wihtred [cf. Wightred], king of Kent
f.7 recto-verso: Hadbot [cf. Hadbote/had; compensation for affront or injury to a person in holy orders, see The Oxford English Dictionary edited by J.A.H. Murray [etc.] 1970, Archives library]
ff.7 verso-8 verso: West Saxon (Wessex) regnal table i.e. list of kings of Wessex
ff.9 recto-31 verso: Alfred [cf. Aelfred] (ff.11 recto- 24 verso) and Ine (ff.24 verso-31 verso), kings of Wessex;
ff.31 verso-32 recto: be blaserum (About Arsonists) and Forfang [rescue of stolen money or reward for rescuing stolen money]
f.32 recto-verso: Ordeal (cf. Ordal)
f.32 verso: Walreaf (despoiling the dead) [cf. Wealreaf, Weilreif, Walaraupa, A Treatise of Gavelkind [etc.], William Somner, 1660]
ff.32 verso-37 recto: II King Athelstan [cf. Aethelstan]
ff.37 recto-38 recto: V King Athelstan [cf. Athelstan]
f.38 recto: IV King Athelstan [cf. Aethelstan]
f.38 recto: Pax [i.e. the king’s peace]
ff.38 verso-39 verso: Swerian [i.e. oath forms]
f.38 verso: f.39 verso: Mirca Laga (Of Mercian Law)
ff.40-41: Laws of Edward [cf. Eadward] the Elder, king of England and Guthrum (or Aethelstan/Athelstan), king of the Dane-Law +; after c.901;
ff.41 verso-42 recto: Wergeld the price set upon a man according to his rank, paid by way of compensation or fine in cases of homicide and certain other crimes to free the offender from further obligation or punishment ( The Oxford English Dictionary, q.v. ); ff.42 recto-43 recto: I King Edward
ff.43 recto-44 recto: II King Edward
ff.44 recto-45 recto: I King Edmund
ff.45 recto-46 recto: II King Edmund
ff.46 recto-47 recto: I King Ethelred
f.47 recto-verso: King William I, On Exculpation
ff.48 recto-49 verso: III King Ethelred
ff.49 verso-57 recto: Iudicia Dei I_III i.e. the judgment of God, comprising Exorcismus-aquae (f.49 verso), Exorcismus-ferri (f.53 verso) and Exorcismus-panis (ff.55 verso -56 recto) i.e. the ceremonies of ordeal by red-hot iron, boiling water, immersion in water or by barley bread and cheese
f.57 verso: Canute, king of England, Charter for Christ Church, Canterbury
ff.58 recto-80 recto: Instituta Cnuti, I II III
ff.80 recto-81 verso: III King William I, Ten Articles
ff.81 verso-87 recto: Exceptiones, ex decretis pontificum, quales accusatores
ff.88 recto-93 recto: VI King Athelstan
f.93 verso- 94 recto Northleoda laga (Of the North people's law)
ff.93 verso-94 recto: Wergeld
ff.94 verso-95 recto: On betrothal/wedding
f.95 recto: charm against theft
f.95 recto-verso: Bequeathing form
ff. 96 recto-97 verso: King Henry I; Institutiones henrici regis
ff.98 recto - 100 recto: Excommunication
f.101 recto-verso: West Saxon [i.e. Wessex] genealogy
ff. 102 recto-104 recto: English royal genealogies, Adam to Edward Ironside (f.101 recto), Northumbria (f.102 recto), Mercia (f.102 recto), Kent (f.103 recto), Wessex (f.103 verso)
ff. 105 recto-116 recto: lists of popes, Roman++ emperors f.107 verso), oriental patriarchs [i.e. of Jerusalem [Palestine/Israel] (f.107 verso), Alexandria [Egypt] (f.109 recto) and Antiocha/Antioch [Syria] (f.109 verso)), and of English archbishops and bishops (ff.110 verso-116 recto) (Canterbury f.110v., Rochester f.111r.)
f.116 verso: a list of popes, seven archangels
f.117 recto: concerning pope Celestine
f.118 verso: note of an inquisition made in 1199 concerning debts of Rochester Priory.

Part 2: Incipiunt privilegia aecclesiae sancti andreae hrofensis concessa a tempore ethilberhti regis, qui fide christiana a beato augustino suscepta, eandem ecclesiam construi fecit (Privileges granted to the church of Saint Andrew of Rochester, from the time of king Aethelbert onwards, who, converted to the Christian faith by Saint Augustine, caused this church to be built) (DRc/R1 f.119 recto) [translation Flight]

i.e. cartulary of Rochester Cathedral Priory

Part 2 begins with an illuminated letter R formed out of an angel and winged dragon coloured green, lake and vermilion.

ff.119 recto-222 recto: cartulary, here partly summarised:

King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] I of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester of land in south-western part of the city, f.119. For an image of folio 119 recto, please click here

King Eadberht [cf. Edbert, Eadbert] of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester ff119-120

762 Actually 747
King Eardwulf of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester f123

762 King Sigered of Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester ff122-123;

King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester ff123-125;

King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester confirmed by Heaberht of Kent and Offa of Mercia ff126-127;

761 x 764
Sigered, king of half Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester; confirmed by Eanmund of Kent ff125-126

King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Kent to Bishop Deora of Rochester ff129-130;

King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] II of Kent to bishop Deora f130

781 Actually 860-866
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] of Wessex to Bishop Deora of Rochester ff130-131

King Offa of Mercia to St. Andrew's Priory and Bishopric of Rochester ff131-132;

King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Waermund of Rochester ff133-134

King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Waermund and church at Rochester ff132-133;

King Coenwulf of Mercia and Cuthred of Kent to Swithlun ff135-136

King Coenwulf of Mercia to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester ff136-137

King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester ff137-138

King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Wessex to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester ff138-139

King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester f139

King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to his minister Dunn; with Dunn's will ff139-140

860 & 790; actually c.975
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] of Wessex to Bishop Waermund of Rochester ff134-135

King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] I of Wessex to Cuthwulf, Bishop of Rochester ff140-141

King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory and Bishop Swithwulf ff141-142

King Eadmund [cf. Edmund] I (of Wessex) to Bishop Burhic of Rochester ff143-144

King Eadgar [cf. Edgar] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory ff150v-152

995 King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to see of Rochester ff152-155

998 King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to see of Rochester ff156-159

King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to Bishop Godwine (cf. Godwin) of Rochester ff159-162

[ff.163-221: here are charters and other documents mainly post-Conquest

including ff164v-167r list of persons and parishes liable for the repair of Rochester Bridge (Old English), an account of a trial on Penenden Heath, ff.168 recto-170 verso (Latin) and a list of churches and chapels in the diocese of Rochester liable to pay Rochester Cathedral a fee for receiving Holy Chrism or consecrated oil at Easter ff.220v-222r (written c.1115 but thought to have been composed c.1089 and possibly in use pre-Conquest); also including charter of King Ethelbert to St. Andrew's Church of land in south-eastern part of city 600 [actually 604] [forged] (f.177 recto)

ff.222 recto-223 verso: list of offices, masses etc. that ought to be said for members of religious houses in confraternity with Rochester

ff.224 recto-229 verso, 230 recto: lists/catalogue/inventory of books in Rochester Cathedral Priory Library [f.228 recto, line 1, mentions the first part (i.e. the laws) of the present Textus Roffensis as above

ff.232 verso-235: assize of ward of King Edward III

a version of the Domesday account of the Rochester fief, ff.209 recto-210 recto;

benefactions, mainly royal, 8th. Century - King William II, ff.215 recto-216 recto;

a list of knights, f.217 recto;

confirmations of privileges by archbishops of Canterbury William [Corbois/Corbyl] and Theobald, ff.203 recto, 204 verso-222 recto;

a judgment by Imar of Tusculum [cf. Frascati, near Rome, Italy] ff.203 verso-204 recto;

copy of a bull of Pope Eugenius III of 1146, ff.206 recto-208 recto.]

The above list has been compiled from Sawyer (Part 1) pp.15-18 and from Liebermann Archaeologia Cantiana volume xxiii (1898) p.112.

[+ cf. Denmark; Northumbria, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex]
[++ cf. Rome, Italy]

Notes, general.

The original document (DRc/R1) is not produced. Instead, facsimiles of various kinds are made available, from which any reprographic work is undertaken. The following is a list of facsimile sources or secondary sources relating to the Textus Roffensis. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Microfilm MF411 (searchroom duplicate).

Microfilm copy also held by University Microfilms, Annarbor, Michigan, United States of America

The book was digitally photographed in high resolution colour on 2 June 2004 by Ian Booth of Medway City Estate . These images (jpegs) are available here on Cityark- see Imagebase.

Notes, bibliographical

Fordham University website translations of Old English Laws or Dooms click here

Printed book Textus Roffensis facsimile, edited by P. Sawyer 1957, 1962 2 volumes, i.e. Parts I & II, Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre ref. qROC283

Printed book Textus Roffensis edited by Thomas Hearne [q.v.], 1720, containing a transcription and translation of the original Anglo-Saxon text (DRc/R1 chapters 81-82) describing and concerning Rochester Bridge (at pp.379-383), Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre ref. ROC283Y

Printed book entitled An Historical Account of that Venerable Monument of Antiquity the Textus Roffensis; including Memoirs of the Learned Saxonists Mr. William Elstub and his sister [Elizabeth] by Samuel Pegge MA 1784 ref. qROC091 Pegge

Printed booklet entitled Rochester Cathedral Library: its Fortunes and Adventures through Nine Centuries W.H. Mackean, canon and librarian, 1953

The Local Studies Unit, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre has a set of glass plate negatives (formerly held at the Guildhall Museum) comprising a partial copy of the Textus Roffensis, ref. Box 1B negatives 3097-3105 and Box 1D negatives 3110-3144

Printed book Textus Roffensis and Customale Roffensis by H. Pratt Boorman, Kent Life March 1974, Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Printed booklet entitled The First Code of English Law (originally a lecture given at Canterbury Cathedral Archives under the title King Aethelberht of the Kent-people and the First English Code of Law) by Dr. Patrick Wormald, published by the Canterbury Commemoration Society, 2005, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Article entitled The Textus Roffensis in Chancery AD1633 contained in Archaeologia Cantiana XXX 1914 pp.225-232 by A.A. Arnold, 1913 Local Studies collection Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Printed book The Laws of the Earliest English Kings F.L. Attenborough, 1922

Printed book The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century - Volume I Legislation and its Limits Patrick Wormald 2001

Printed book The Beginnings of English Law L. Oliver, 2002

Printed article The List of Saxon Churches in the Textus Roffensis by G. Ward MD FSA Archaeologia Cantiana volume XLIV pp.39-59 1932

Printed book The History of Kent by J. Harris (q.v.) 1719: containing also a transcription and translation from the Anglo-Saxon text describing and concerning Rochester Bridge (at pp.260-261), Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, ref. Y942HAR

Printed book A perambulation of Kent [etc.] by William Lambarde, first published 1576; reprinted 1826. Also containing a transcription and translation of the Anglo-Saxon text describing and concerning Rochester Bridge, (at pp. 347-352). Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, ref. Y942LAM;

Printed book Diocesan Histories: Rochester by Rev. A.I. Pearman MA 1897 (ROC283)

Printed book The Bishops and Monks of Rochester 1076-1214 by Colin Flight, no. vi in monograph series, Kent Archaeological Society, 1997, copy in local studies collections at this centre, ref. ROC283FLI. This book, chapter 2, pp.17 et seq. includes information on the title of the document and a description of the document's composition.

The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England click here

Off-print of article entitled Palaeographical evidence for the compilation of Textus Roffensis by Dr. Carole A. Hough of the Department of English Language, Glasgow University, published in Scriptorium: international revue of manuscript studies Tome LV 2001,1 Archives Library OA/LIB/358

File updated by Borough Archivist, Medway Council 28 January 2008. Updated Nov 2014 by Archivist, Medway Council.

Date: 12th.-14th. centuries
Quantity: 1 volume 9 1/2" x 7" x 2 1/4" (240mm x 175mm x 55mm)
Result number 18 - Please quote Reference: Rochester_City_Council_1227_1974/RCA-C2_01 on request slip.

Path: Local_Government_Authorities_1227_Date/ Rochester_City_Council_1227_1974/ 01_CHARTERS_AND_CUSTOMALS_1227_1974/ C2_Customal_1536_1960/ RCA-C2_01.html

Customal no 1 :Memorandum book containing entries from 1536 till 1960 regarding byelaws of the City of Rochester, regulations of the appointment of its officers, oaths of officers, court cases, etc…. From 1901, it also records visits from the Royal Family and other officials from home and abroad, that is, Queen Elizabeth II, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Sir Winston Churchill, Queen Marie of Romania, etc….   

The volume was kept at the Guildhall along with the charters. It was removed from public display at the Guildhall museum in 2004 for conservation reasons. 

Language: Latin, English and Old French 

Accession numbers: Original museum accession no. A2200;

archive accession reference MTC/MR/128

Physical description: Leather bound volume in good condition with presence of metal on both covers and remains of two clasps and lock.  The volume is c. 38 cm in length, 28 cm in width and 11 cm thick. 

Access: Please use microfilm copy. MF 509

Publication note: An Authentic Copy of the Charter and Bye-Laws of the City of Rochester, with an Abstract of the Customal, Rochester, 1809. 

Related material: Extracts of the customal are found in the following documents RCA/A1/34, RCA/A1/36

There is another customal with entries from 1961 until 1998 (see RCA/C2/2)

 A court register was also used as a visitor book between 1938 and 1974 (see RCA/J4/8) 


Further information on the customal written S Dixon (former Medway Archivist):

Rochester City Customal

The City Customal is a manuscript precedent or memorandum book, compiled by successive town clerks containing bye-laws, elections of Freemen, regulations for the appointment of officers, useful memoranda and confirmations of market days, etc., for use by successive town clerks and members of the corporation for ease of reference in obtaining guidance and evidence on procedures in regulating the corporation's business and the making of bye-laws.

There is some basis for supposing the book was used by new mayors, town clerks and recorders as a means of stamping their authority on the corporation, judging by the elaborate marking of some mayoral years, the use of mayors' armorial bearings and a tendency for exceptional and periodic flurries of bye-law making.

The Customal has been discontinued for making new entries since 1960 but in 1961 a second book was opened and remained in use beyond 1974 when Rochester City Council was abolished until 1998 when its successor Rochester upon Medway City Council was abolished. A third book continuing the tradition was opened to mark the inauguration of the present Medway Council in 1998. Both these books are kept at the Guildhall Museum at the time of writing.


Philip H. Bartlett in his book The City of Rochester Charters (1961) wrote that the instigator of the Customal was Martyn Cotes, town clerk and notary. This may be correct, as Cotes towered over the administrative history of Rochester in the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean period and is the first significant local archivist of the Medway Towns. He also served as chapter clerk and it is to Cotes that the creation of the impetus for the survival of the recognisable and substantial archives of the cathedral and corporation should be attributed. Prior to the late 16th. Century few city records survive apart from the medieval charters. The cathedral's archives (collection DRc) tend to survive and as complete series from about this time also. Cotes' hand is found at f.57 verso - f.78 verso (first foliated section) (1571-1603) and between ff.1 recto - 18 recto (second foliated section) (1573-1603) suggesting he was appointed town clerk in 1571, several years before he became chapter clerk.

However, it should be noted the earliest definite dating of the entries in the book must be ascribed to the period prior to Cotes' clerkship as ff.112 recto - 122 recto in the fifth foliated section contain entries made between c.1537 (fifth foliated section, f.121 verso) and c.1571. The occurence of signatures appended to an ordinance of 30 September 1566 (112 verso, fifth foliated section) provides definite proof of the Customal's origin as preceding Cotes' clerkship as against the possibility of all pre-1571 entries being retrospective.

The entering of retrospective entries does occur however and should be considered consistent with the nature of a customal which was chiefly to record remembered precedents and customs as well as increasingly to minute contemporary decisions of importance. Many entries are undated.

An even earlier but exceptional date can probably be ascribed to a palimpsest, described below. It is thus more likely Cotes regularised and formalised the compilation of an existing book rather than instigated a new one. His achievement has been somewhat undermined by the inexpert rebinding of the book c.1600 x c.1640. In fact, this rebinding may have resulted in parts of at least two books being combined.

At some point subsequent to the book's first binding, or perhaps again when it was rebound c.1600 x c.1640, the pages were cut at the margins and top edges. Hence some pages are lacking text for reasons other than manual wear and tear e.g. f.62 (first foliated section), f.75 recto (third foliated section) and ff. 114 and 122 (sixth foliated section) and the palimpsest between ff.122 and 123 (also in the sixth foliated section), although admittedly these sections may constitute together part of an earlier book whose pages were more vulnerable to standardisation when rebound with later or previously separate or at any rate non-cognate sheafs or quires. It should be noted that the sections of the book are not necessarily in their original order from within either the present book or an earlier book, which is to say not only are the various sections not sequential but the pages within the sections have also been rearranged.

In the first foliated section at f.77 verso, mention is made of the Eldeste Customall i.e. a customal pre-dating that in which entries were being made at the time of the entry (1592) and also to such earlier customal reciting from at least the year 1199 in the reign of King John. However, as noted above the customal of 1592 must be presumed to have been rebound after 1600 with the possible result that any such earlier customal was combined with the succeeding book. The belief that customs passed down (or not, as the case might be) from before King John may in fact be a reference to much later and retrospective references as found in the present book to time out of mind or putative origins of customs, e.g. f.54 (first foliated section) which in the context of the Eldeste Customall specifically refers to a custom kept since before time of King John. This was entered in 1570. If so, we can safely assume that any earlier customal did not in itself date from before the reign of King John, which would be unthinkable anyway, and has in part at least been incorporated into the present book.

The Customal in its present form survives from the same period as the foundation of Richard Watts' Charity (1579) (collection CH46) and Hawkins' Hospital (1592) (collection CH108) and helps mark the beginning of a local renaissance.

The book was already being called the Customal in 1575 when Cotes referred to is as such (f.57 verso, first foliated section)

The book contains numerous ordinances and bye-laws after 1460 including a copy of the ordinances made by the first mayor in 1460. These however are retrospective and may have been entered on the initiative of Cotes. At any rate, such entries are unlikely to have be made before c.1537. The last routine, regular entry in the book is in 1727. Entries even where found in the same foliated section are not necessarily entered in contemporaneously, e.g. f.54 in the first foliated section which bears entries made in 1570 and 1607, the latter apparently having been added in a convenient space. The volume was rebound c.1600 x c.1640 at which time the pages were disordered. Martyn Cotes died in 1605 so the rebinding work is likely to have been supervised by a less knowledgable successor.

Some mayoral years are marked by elaborate mayoral armorial bearings. From 1901-1960 the Customal records the reception of many distinguished visitors from home and overseas, many entries also accompanied by armorial bearings, a tradition which seems to have begun with the commemoration of mayors who were famous beyond the city. Many of these entries are anachronistically entered on formerly blank pages throughout the book without any apparent logic to the order of their insertion.

The customal should be used in conjunction with the Rochester City Council meeting day books or minute books (RCA/A1), registers of freemen and apprentices (RCA/O2) and the records of the Admiralty Court (RCA/J3.)

The foliation given below is done according to the example of the Textus Roffensis (DRc/R1) whereby when viewed open the left hand side is verso and the right hand side is recto.

Precis of contentsFirst foliated section comprising ff.1-115 [1460] c.1575-1959

Ordinances, rules, bye-laws and visits [passim] ff.1 recto-5 verso and other pages are blank except for occasional notes and signatures;
f.6 recto armorial bearings of the city and signature of HRH Marina, Duchess of Kent with signatures of witnesses, 18 July 1959;
f.7: not present;
ff.8 recto-12 verso ancient oaths of the mayor and other officers
ff.12 verso-15 verso charge of the Law Day;
ff. 15 verso - 16 verso particular charge to the Great Inquest of King John [1212];
ff.17 recto - 21 verso ordinances;
f.21 verso - 23 recto Matters pertaining to swearing of the mayor, appointments of Justices of the Peace, holding courts of Pleas and Pie Powder, clerk and sexton's wages, office of sergeant, weights and measures, choosing of borsholders and aleconners and holding of law days at Boley Hill;
f.23 recto - verso Keeping of the city coffer and keys; election of mayor and his bringing home;
f.24 recto - 31 recto Ordinances made during mayoralty of William Mungeam, first mayor, 1460:
( including f.26 Rules as to the Fair at Strood;
f.27 recto and verso Rules as to anchorage and wharfage; measure of merchandise, illuminated with an anchor;
f.28 recto - 29 recto As to fair on St. Dunstan's Day; through toll for men and carts, etc.; custom of Kydell in sprat time; toll on brewers;
f.29 recto - 29 verso Castle Assay of every boat; rules as to scolders of women and brawlers of men; for servants who sit in alehouses during divine service;
f.31 recto Custom of foremarket in favour of Mayor and brethren before all strangers; no person to go out of town to hire a horse);
f.31 verso - 35 recto ordinances respecting hackneys:
f.31 verso taking of horses to water and walking horses in street;
f.32 recto Mayor to have royalty of all fish;
f.32 verso no freeman to sue another out of City Court (1463);
f.33 recto Mayor to set sale of corn and limit hours of market; freemen and foreigners to pay fee for use of Common Seal and Seal of Office;
f.34 recto Custom of Head Silver i.e. 4d. per head per person going beyond sea;
f. 34 verso - 35 recto no man to play at the Clossh;
f.35 recto cooks not to receive guests into their houses except on market days;
ff.35 verso - 39 recto manner of awarding process of complaint or plea personal in King's Court in Rochester, Court of Portmote and Court of Pie Powder;
f.39 recto - verso Orders pertaining to gaoler; gaoler to dwell in The Dolphin;
f.39 verso no hogs to go about the streets;
ff.39 verso- 40 recto ordinance to freemen to seek legal redress within the city before proceeding to king's courts outside the city, 20 September 1496;
ff.40 verso-49 verso copy in English of King Edward IV's charter of 14 December 1461;
f.49 verso resumption of ordinances;
f.50 recto Mayor to keep Admiralty Court twice a year; admission of sons of freemen;
ff.50 verso - 53 verso Regulations applying to victuallers and craftsmen pursuant to statutes;
f.54 explanation concerning making of pleas foreign to jurisdiction of local court with marginal notes cross-referring entry to f.36 and alluding to custom kept since before time of King John, 1570;
f.54 recto order to mayor and aldermen to wear gowns, 1607;
f.54 verso tradesmen not to open shop windows on Sundays to sell goods; no innkeeper to open doors during Divine Service, signed by members of the corporation 1611; f.55 recto blank;
ff.55 verso - 56 recto admitting of freemen and apprentices;
f.56 verso selling and deceitful making of tallow and candles; yearly payment to mayor for craftsmen occupying city liberty or Precinct;
f.57 recto keeping of hogs; men of occupation not to work on Sundays;
f.57 verso aldermen must previously have served as constable and chamberlain (1575);
ff.57 verso - 58 recto concerning the appointment of 12 aldermen, entered by Martyn Cotes 1575;
ff.58 verso - 59 verso petition from shoemakers to [E.] Browne, mayor for removing of foreigners, before 28 March 1555/1556;
f.60 recto oath of an alderman c.1603 x c.1625 and agreement with shoemakers for revival of articles in above petition and to make yearly payment, signed by James Robinson, John Willes [cf. Wills] and Nicholas Christopher 1624;
ff.61 verso -62 recto dismissal and fine 1606 and remission of fine and re-admission 1608 of Thomas Faunce, alderman, for a public nuisance;
f.61 verso admonishment and readmission of James Bewley [cf. Bewly], alderman 1605;
f.62 recto ejection of John Edmonds, alderman 1571;
f.62 verso hierarchy of offences against the corporation 1589;
f.63 recto blank;
ff.63 verso - 71 recto ten ordinances enacted in the mayoralty of William Hall, 1581:
ff.64 recto - 65 verso respecting the treasurer, chamberlain and accounts;
ff.65 verso - 66 recto orders as to fishermen and persons fishing;
ff.66 recto - 66 verso regarding sureties in court actions;
ff.66 verso - 67 recto concerning goods and chattels;
ff.67 recto - 67 verso concerning essoynes;
ff.67 verso - 68 recto election of mayor and aldermen;
ff.68 recto - 68 verso respecting the sergeant, sureties, arrest and custody;
ff.68 verso - 71 recto Orders as to the company of hackneymen;
f.71 verso signatures of mayor and aldermen on occasion of formal adoption of ten ordinances as above i.e. ff.63 verso - 71 recto;
f.72 recto - 72 verso oath of burgess elected to represent city in Parliament, 1586;
ff. 72 verso - 73 verso order pertaining to courts and pleading;
ff.74 recto - 74 verso rules for enrollment of freemen, 1589;
f.75 recto- 75 verso order for mayor's brethren to accompany him to church in gowns, 1591;
ff.76 recto - 77 recto concerning foreign and London beer 1592;
ff.77 verso - 78 verso rules for reforming the government of the city, mentioning an ancient customal then extant, beating the bounds of the city and wearing of gowns by members of the corporation, 1592;
ff.79 recto - 79 verso Recorder's oath, 1616;
f.80 recto agreement between the corporation and Sir Peter Buck in respect of messuage in Eastgate and 4 acres in St. Nicholas' parish [?] and 1 acre in St. Margaret's parish, signed by Buck and members of the corporation, 1612;
ff.80 verso - 81 recto charge of court dinners to be borne by mayor and aldermen 1618;
ff.81 verso - 82 recto ordinance respecting sale of beer and ale 1618;
ff.82 verso - 83 recto ejection of Robert Kinge [cf. King], alderman 1624;
ff.83 recto - 84 recto orders as to election of mayor and aldermen, 1632;
f.84 verso mayor's allowance; great mace made; new oar; old mace being new gilded, 1632;
f.85 recto - 85 verso mayor and aldermen to survey their boroughs (St. Clement's Borough, South Borough, Middle Borough, East Borough, Eastgate Borough, Southgate Borough and North Borough in Rochester and Little Borough in Strood), 1634;
f.86 recto foreigners not to keep shops or trade before being sworn freemen 1634;
ff.86 verso - 87 verso agreement to put poor children out to Alice Saxbie [cf. Saxby], widow, to make buttons 1634;
f.88 recto - 88 verso resolution to reinstate the Little Borough boundary stone in Strood and prosecute George Woodier, gentleman, for wrongfully detaining the goods and chattels of Dorothy Baker of Little Borough, widow, 1635;
ff.88 recto - 92 recto copy in English of Quo Warranto brought against city as to Through Toll and fairs, etc., 1620;
ff.92 verso -112 recto copy in English of charter of King Charles I, 1629;
ff.112 verso - 113 recto orders respecting qualifications to vote in elections of mayor and citizens or burgesses of Parliament;
ff.114 recto - 114 verso order respecting cordwainers and shoemakers 19 February 1641/1642;
ff.115 recto -115 verso agreement to repay £40 to Alexander Dirkin, alderman 1644;
f.116 recto signature of Marina, Duchess of Kent 6 July 1953 illuminated with city coat of arms;
f.116 verso blank;
f.117 recto signature of HE The Hon. T. Clifton Webb QC, High Commissioner for New Zealand 15 December 1955 illuminated with city coat of arms and achievement of arms of New Zealand;
f.117 verso blank;
f.118 recto signature of Max Lejeune, Mayor of Abbeville, Picardy [cf. Picardie; Somme Region], France, Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, Secretary of State for War and Charge des Affaires Algeriennes [cf. Algeria, Africa] 27-29 February 1956 illuminated with city coat of arms and coat of arms of Abbeville [?];
ff.118 verso - 119 recto blank;
ff.119 verso - 120 recto signatures of HM Queen Elizabeth II and members of the corporation 24 October 1956, illuminated with city coat of arms and royal achievement of arms;
f.120 verso blank;
f.121 recto signature of Marina, Duchess of Kent 6 July 1953 illuminated with city coat of arms;
ff.121 verso - 122 verso blank;

Second foliated section comprising ff.1 recto-48 verso 1573-1628

Ordinances, rules, bye-laws and admissions of freemen[passim] Includes f.35 verso illumination of royal achievement of arms with garter and motto Beati Pacifici( blessed are the peacemakers), city coat of arms and coat of arms of Thomas Rocke [cf. Rock, Ruck] mayor [?] 1615;
Includes illumination of the achievement of arms of Anthony Allen, mayor 1627 f.48 verso;
[f.3 recto/verso mutilated];

Third foliated section comprising ff.72 recto-110 recto 1628-1659, 1952-1955

Ordinances, rules, bye-laws, visits and admissions to freedom [passim] Including
f.74 recto illumination of achievement of arms of Thomas Austen Esq., coat of arms of the city and coat of arms not identified;
f.75 verso illumination of coats of arms of King Charles I, city of Rochester and two others not ifentified in the mayoralty of Philip Ward 1630-1631;
f.76 recto - 76 verso mutilated;
ff.77 recto -77 verso not present instead numbered 125;
f.78 verso illumination of royal coat of arms and city coat of arms in the mayoralty of Philip Ward 1634 [mutilated];
ff.79 recto - 79 verso mutilated;
f.93 verso illumination of coat of arms of Barnabas Walsall, mayor 1642-1643;
f.97 verso-f.98 recto blank;
f.98 verso illumination of achievement of arms of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and city coat of arms, 15 October 1952;
f.99 recto illumination of achievement of arms of HRH The Duke of Gloucester and city coat of arms, 8 July 1954 [mutilated];
f.99 verso blank [mutilated];
f.100 recto illumination of achievement of arms of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and city coat of arms, 18 May 1954;
f.100 verso blank;
admission to freedom and illumination of coat of arms, crest, mantle and motto of Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill and city coat of arms, 18 May 1954 (f.101 recto);
f.101 verso blank;
f.102 verso illumination of coats of arms of Most Rev. Geoffrey Francis Fisher, His Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and city of Rochester 17 May 1954;
f.103 recto conferment of freedom on Corps of Royal Engineers and illumination of royal achievement of arms and mottoes of the Corps of Royal Engineers and coat of arms of city of Rochester 22 May 1954;
f.103 verso blank;
f.104 recto illuminations of achievement of arms of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and coat of arms of city, 5 April 1955;
f.104 verso Richard Allen of Middle Temple, London, Esq. appointed Recorder, 1655;
f.107 recto blank;
f.110 recto admissions of freemen;
f.110 verso blank;

Fourth foliated section comprising ff.50 recto-f.71 recto 1558-1660, [sic]

Ordinances, rules, bye-laws and admissions of freemen;
ff.50 recto-57 recto admissions of freemen;
ff.57 verso - 61 recto enrollments of deeds and bonds;
f.61 verso blank;
ff.61 recto - 71 recto levying of fines (f.61 verso blank); f.71 verso blank;

Fifth foliated section comprising ff.111-190 [c.1450 x c.1500] c.1537-1737, 1949-1960

Ordinances, rules, bye-laws, admissions of freemen and visits [passim]f.111 recto blank;
f.111 verso signature of Rt. Hon. Henry Brooke, Minister of Housing and Local Government 21 March 1960;
ff.112 recto-122 verso mid 16th. Century ordinances c.1537-c.1581;
f.112 recto dismissal of officials 1566;
f.113 verso blank;
f.114 recto names of four officials appointed by mayor to enforce wearing of apparel in accordance with statutes and proclamations c.1561 x c.1562;
f.114 verso blank;
ff.115 recto - 120 verso admissions to freedom c.1542-c.1557;
[ff.118 recto-verso mutilated];
f.121 recto copy of letter from Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford the Lord Protector of King Edward VI and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Thomas Wriothesley (Wryothesley), Lord Chancellor, William St. John (Seyntjohn), Sir John Russell, Baron Bedford, Cuthbert Duresnes, Sir Anthony (Antony) Browne, Sir William Paget (Pagett), Sir William Herbert, Sir Anthony (Antony) Denny and Sir Edward North (Northe), executors of Henry VIII's will, at the Tower of London, re-appointing commission of the peace, 1547;
ff.121 verso admissions of freemen c.1537-c.1541 and memorandum that St. Nicholas' Church was out of walls of old chapel belonging to college [i.e. cathedral] built, all done 1421, entered 1621;
f.122 recto memoranda regarding mayoralty of Robert Poynte 1546 including fine and lease; William Adams, coroner, 1621; and charter of King Edward III of 1 July 1359;
f.122 verso names of contributors of 57s 2d to eating of buck given by Lord Cobham, August 1581; city coroner delivered to use of city 18d. as value of plank forfeit to city as deodand for death of Jasper Maye in new dock at Chatham, 13 September 1621;
f.122 recto/verso mutilated;
between f.122 verso and f.123 recto is a palimpsest of a parchment page bearing on both sides two columns of a partly discernible illuminated Old French MS apparently containing a reference to Lancelot (Lancelos) and trois freres, composed c.1200 and copied c.1450 x c.1500. The positioning of this palimpsest in the book has no obvious significance as the subject matter is probably Arthurian romance. Insertion may be the accidental result of the inexpert rebinding of c.1600 x c.1640. This MS was most likely mined from a redundant larger MS for use binding an earlier customal or a different book altogether and gathered up with end papers and inexpertly incorporated into the present book. It is the only inscribed parchment page in the textblock of the book except for five folios at the beginning which may be remnants of an earlier 16th. Century binding, possibly associated with paper folios from the third and sixth foliated sequences of the present book. On one side (the dorse) there is evidence of glue having once been applied *;
f.123 recto signatures of P. Bouchy, General de Brigade and Commandant L'Ecole de Genie, Angers, Anjou, France 6 September 1949 and James Chuter Chuter-Ede, 1st Baron Chuter Ede, Secretary of State for the Home Department 22 September 1950;
f.123 verso blank;
f.124 recto signature of Alderman Sir Denys Lawson Bt., Lord Mayor of London 18 June 1951 with illumination of coat of arms of city of Rochester;
f.124 verso blank;
f.125 recto and verso oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance c.1660;
ff.125 verso-130 recto oaths of justice of the peace, mayor, recorder, alderman, town clerk, coroner, attorney at the court of Portmote, Common Council, Constable, Borsholder, Sergeant at Mace, Gaoler, Water Bailiff, Aleconner, Meter and vote adjudicators c.1660;
f.130 verso blank;
f.131 recto and verso copy of precept of sheriff of Kent for election of a citizen in Parliament, 19 October 1667 and return thereof;
f.132 recto ejection of Joseph Travers, alderman 1671;
f.132 verso ejection of Richard Taylor, alderman for rape 1669 [?];
f.133 recto Francis Barrell Esq. elected Recorder 1669;
f.133 verso blank;
ff.134 recto -145 recto by-laws made 6 September 1673 on avice of Francis Barrel, Recorder;
ff.145 verso - 146 recto agreement between mayor and citizens and inhabitants of St. Margaret's, touching payment to parish of £30 p.a. out of Richard Watts' gift, signed by the corporation, 31 January 1681/1682;
ff.146 verso - 147 recto like agreement with Strood parish as to £20 p.a., 31 January 1681/1682;
ff.147 verso - 148 verso ejection of Anthony Weldon, Recorder, for refusing to draw up an address to the king deploring the Earl of Shaftesbury's Association, 1679;
ff.149 recto and verso respecting lease of 5 messuages on west side of St. Margaret's Street (High Street) and on south side of end of Courthill Lane 1666;
ff.150 recto - 151 verso agreement between corporation and Thomas Lediard citizen and clothworker of London for the laying and maintaining of under-street pipes to supply freshwater, 22 January 1682/1683;
ff.152 recto and verso concerning qualifications of freemen c.1683;
f.153 recto and verso order as to outgoing mayor rendering accounts within one month, c.1683;
f.154 recto concerning elections to Parliament c.1683;
ff.154 verso - 157 recto copy of proceedings brought by city against Sir Oliver Boteler to destroy his grant of market and fair at Chatham and judgement thereupon by courts of Chancery and House of Lords, 1679;
f.157 verso blank;
f.158 recto Francis Barrell admitted as Recorder 1692; memorandum that the arms of King Charles II, Sir Joseph Williamson, Sir Cloudesley Shovell and the city in the Guildhall, were donated by Matthias Fletcher, gentleman, in gratitude for being admitted a freeman [gratis], [1695];
f.158 verso blank;
ff.159 recto - 161 recto agreement of charitable uses between corporation and freemen relating to funds given by Richard Watts and others, 28 September 1693;
ff.161 verso - 162 recto ordinances respecting influencing of aldermen and non-attendance and ejection of Matthew Webb, mayor 1694;
ff.162 verso - 163 recto ordinance as to repayment of debt for building two assize houses, 1695;
f.164 recto ordinance for restricting the exposing and selling of meat in the High Street on market days to town butchers' shop windows and transfer of visiting butchers' stalls from market place in High Street to newly built market place [in The Common], in order to prevent obstruction and prevent injuries to passengers, effective 1 July 1698, ordained 30 June 1698;
f.164 verso ejection of John Paulin, assistant and member of Common Council, upon conviction in the Quarter Sessions for buying and selling stolen goods, 1704, entry bearing stamp mark of Francis Harres [cf. Harris], mayor;
f.165 recto bye-law to alter the mayor's salary or allowance, to receive for the future £20, 23 August 1707;
ff.165 verso - 166 recto ordinances applying terms and conditions to leasing of city's property and estate, 1707;
f.166 verso acknowledgement of John Bryan, Esq., alderman's benefaction of £200 over-spend incurred in building of Court Hall and Lower Assize House [see also ff.162 verso - 163 recto above], 20 September 1707;
ff.167 recto-verso ordinance for choosing the two constables 1718;
ff.168 recto - 169 recto market by-laws, 1721;
f.169 verso - 174 recto copy of mandamus brought against justices by churchwardens and overseers of St. Nicholas' parish, to cause them to confirm poor rate, statement of case of mayor thereon, with opinion of counsel, 29 April 1726;
f.174 verso sheriff of Kent's precept to mayor to elect two citizens to serve in Parliament, 11 August 1727;
f.175 recto power to Henry Sheafe of Strood, gentleman, to obtain interest payable on investment of £500 in South Sea Company, 1727;
ff.175 verso - 177 recto bye-laws as to election of mayor, 1734;
ff.177 - 178 recto verso appointment of Joseph Brooke of Inner Temple, London, Esq., as recorder 1737;
ff.178 recto - 181 recto bye-law as to dismissal of mayor, aldermen and assistant if absent from city without reasonable causes, 1737;
f.181 verso blank;
ff.182 recto - 190 recto action against Henry Dixon to recover duties on coals, 1737;
f.190 verso blank;

Sixth, unfoliated section 1845-1949

Litigation, conferment of or admission to freedom and visits.judgement against John Lewis Levy for coal due, 1845;
illumination of coat of arms of Colonel William Toke Dooner, mayor 1905-1906, formerly commanding officer of 1st. Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (1888-1893), and of Royal Irish Fusiliers' Regimental District 1894-1899 and assistant adjutant general, Chatham Military District 1899-1902;
illumination of armorial bearings commemorating the mayoralty of Thomas Aveling, with names of Recorder, aldermen, councillors and town clerk, 1868-1869;
illumninations of armorial bearings of the city and of James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne [later Marquis of Salisbury], Lieutenant Colonel, 4th. Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment and MP for Rochester and record of his admission to freedom 1901 in recognition of service in South African War (1899-1902), signed by Charles Tuff, mayor and Recorderm aldermen and councillors;
record of official visits comprising signatures of naval, military and foreign visitors, including:
Lauriston L. Stone, Rochester, New York, United States of America (USA) 1906;
French [cf. France] and Belgian [cf. Belgium] firemen 1907 and 1908;
F.R. Moor, premier of Natal, Cape Colony, South Africa, Richard McBride, premier of British Columbia, Canada, Sir Thomas Bent, premier of Victoria, Australia and female members of the Bleazby family of Victoria, Australia and Ward and Stead families of New Zealand 1907 on occasion of visit of colonial premiers;
Lieutenant Masataka Ando of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1907 [cf. Japan];
H.M. Cundall 1910;
J.M. San Miguel, Consul of Peru 1913;
Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig Holstein on occasion of opening of Old Bridge Tavern, Strood as Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) building to be called Marie Louise House 1915;
Rear Admiral Hugh Evan Thomas 1921;
Charles H. Wiltsie, councillor, Rochester, New York, USA 1923;
Edward, Prince of Wales on occasion of opening of new section of Watling Street, Strood Hill 1924;
Rt. Hon. John Burns 1925;
[?] Birin, Consul General of Latvia [cf. Russia] 1926;
Sir Ronald Henry Amherst Storrs, governor of Cyprus and Jerusalem, Palestine/Israel 1926;
Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught on occasion of opening of fair in Castle Gardens and in aid of St. Barthomolew's Hospital, Rochester/Chatham and Foord Almshouses, Rochester 1927;
admission of Apsley Kennette, Alderman Frderick Francis Smith, Alderman Charles Willis and Alderman Edward William Willis as freemen 1927;
Frank Tate, director of education, Victoria, Australia 1927;
His Highness Nawab Mohammed Iftikhan Ali Khan Baliadur Iftikhan Uddulah Iftikhan-ul-Mulk, Nawab of Pataudi, India [cricketer] 1927;
Ramsay MacDonald 1928;
Sir Alan J. Cobham and Oswald Short on occasion of Cobham's return from 23,000 mile flight around Africa on Short Singapore flying boat 1928;
admission of Sybil Thorndike as freeman, illuminated with city coat of arms and pen and ink scenes of Rochester 1929;
Choo Kia Peng of the Federated Malay States [cf. Malaya; Malaysia; Singapore] 1930;
Margaret Grace Bondfield MP JP LLD, Minister of Labour 1931;
HRH The Prince George, Lord Camden and the Earl of Darnley on Royal Day during Rochester Historical Pageant 22 June 1931;
civic dignitaries of Calais, Artois, France on Civic Day, Rochester Historical Pageant 23 June 1931;
Sir Herbert Austin, Lord Austin on occasion of Industrial Day, Rochester Historical Pageant 25 June 1931;
Sir Francis C. Shelmerdine, Director of Civil Aviation on Aviation Day, Rochester Historical Pageant 26 June 1931;
Henry F. Dickens, Marie Dickens, Enid Dickens Hawksley, Elaine Waley formerly Dickens, Olive Dickens Shuckburgh, Monica Dickens and G.C. Dickens on Dickens Day, Rochester Historical Pageant 27 June 1931;
Johanna Magnusdottir, daughter of president of United Parliament of Iceland [cf. Denmark] 1931;
Rear Admiral A.B. Cunningham, Commodore Royal Naval Barracks [cf. HMS Pembroke], Chatham 1932;
Francis Underhill, Dean of Rochester 1932, 1934 and 1936;
officers and senior ratings of HMS Rochester 1934, 1936 and 1949;
Queen Marie of Romania, illuminated with coats of arms 1935;
G. Tyrwhitt Drake, mayor of Maidstone 1935;
Peter Emmanuel Amigo, bishop of Southwark 1935;
HH Princess Marie Louise, illuminated with coats of arms 1935;
re-enactors of the Pickwick Club on occasion of centenary of first publication of Pickwick Papers 1936;
Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge 1936;
the chief constables of Kent 1936;
A. Dusia [?] of Almirante Saldhana, Brazilian Navy [cf. Brazil] 1936;
George Phillip Sheridan of Rochester, Minnesota, USA 1937;
HH Lady Maud Carnegie and Lady Florence Bligh, Countess of Darnley, on occasion of Stuart Fayre and Masque 1937;
admission of Arthur Gouge as freeman, illuminated with coat of arms of city and scenes of River Medway and flying boats 1937;
Sir George Broadbridge, Lord Mayor of London 1937;
HRH George, Duke of Kent, illuminated with royal achievement of arms and city coat of arms 1938;
HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth illuminated with royal achievement of arms and city coat of arms 1939;
Hugh Oswald Short and officers of Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Biggin Hill, 32 Squadron RAF and 166 (City of Rochester) Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery (Territorial Army) 1939;
admission of Cyril Sherwin Knight as freeman, illuminated with city coat of arms and scenes of Rochester 1945;
Bernard Law Montgomery, Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and Rt. Rev. Christopher Chavasse, Bishop of Rochester 1946;
Sir Bracewell Smith, Lord Mayor of London 1947;
Sir William Joseph Jordan, High Commissioner for New Zealand 1947;
Sir Frederick Marquis, 1st. Lord Woolton 1947;
Monica Dickens and Thomas Crick, Dean of Rochester 1948;
Rt. Rev. Christopher Chavasse, Bishop of Rochester, Reginald, Bishop of Mombasa, Kenya, Africa, Philip, Bishop of Newfoundland, Canada, Charles, Bishop of Riverina, New South Wales, Australia, Bishop John R. Weller, formerly of Argentina and Thomas Crick, Dean of Rochester; Marina, Duchess of Kent, illuminated with city coat of arms 1948;
Sir George Aylwen, Lord Mayor of London 1949;
and admission of Hugh Oswald Short as freeman, illuminated with scene of Rochester Castle, balloon and flying boats 1949.

English, Latin and Old French.


Original museum accession no. A2200

 Professor Peter Ainsworth of Sheffield University has kindly provisionally identified the palimpsest as a mid to late 15th. Century copy of an early 13th Century Prose Lancelot. The page is partly legible and one extract reads [Quant] / Lancelos vit les trois freres qui / [a]insi s’estoient arrestez au pié du / [p]ont, il recognut erramment que / c’estoient les chevalirs a qui il se devoit / combatre. Lors...

File updated by Borough Archivist 14 December 2007

Date: 1536 - 1960
Quantity: 1 volume
Result number 19 - Please quote Reference: N_M5_Methodist_Church_Medway_Towns_Circuit_1768_1988/01_Intro on request slip.

Path: Nonconformist_Denominations_1768_1990/ N_M5_Methodist_Church_Medway_Towns_Circuit_1768_1988/ 01_Intro.html


(formerly Medway Area Archives Office (Rochester upon Medway City Archives) 1990-1993 and Rochester upon Medway Studies Centre 1993-1998)



(Please click here to view a full list of the Methodist Church Medway Towns Circuit records, or select the folder from the menu at the front end and folow the instructions for obtaining a "collection report".)

[For accession details see following and additional introductory sections throughout the list]

DE15 Transferred from Gillingham Library, Kent County Council, High Street, Gillingham, 20 March 1990. This deposit represents all items in this collection (N/M5) unless otherwise stated in this list.

DEE08 Hoo Methodist Church Records, deposited on permanent loan by Mr. N. Curnuck, Hoo Methodist Church, 16 January 1991.

DE118 Additional Circuit and society records deposited on permanent loan by Rev. R. L. Thomas, Circuit Supt., 6, Goddington Road, Strood 7 May 1991.

DE.123 Additional Circuit and society records deposited on permanent loan by Rev. R. L. Thomas, Circuit Superintendent, 6 Goddington Road, Strood 19 June 1991.

DE127 Additional Circuit records deposited on permanent loan by Rev. K. E. Street, Methodist Church Property Division, Manchester per Centre for Kentish Studies, 9 July 1991.

NB Records under 30 years old including baptism and burial records are normally subject to closure which has however been waived in regard to the above series by the local Circuit Superintendent by arrangement with the Borough Archivist. Marriage registers, pulpit notices and such printed matter as circuit plans are not subject to closure as they are published. Permission to consult closed records must be obtained from the Circuit Superintendent, in writing, in advance of visit. The Superintendent's address can be obtained from the Borough Archivist.

[For further accessions see additional sections at end of list].


Early history of Methodism

Methodism began informally in 1729 among an Oxford University Student Society called the "Holy Club" led by the brothers John and Charles Wesley. They were nicknamed "Bible Moths" or Methodists" by outsiders, on account of their strict personal daily routine of prayer, Bible study and moral correctness in behaviour, which contrasted to the apparent laxity of students of traditional Church of England persuasion.

The Methodists intended to carry their ideas, including field preaching, mission work and charity, into effect after becoming ordained as Church of England priests. Field preaching began in 1739 and was in direct response to the growth of working populations in rural or urban locations during the Industrial Revolution, with which the Church of England's rigid parish system had not kept pace.

Organisation and Development

Although Methodism was conceived as a reform movement within the Church of England, numerous factors including the different nature of Methodist activities, the anticipations of their followers and adverse Church of England reactions led to their inauguration as a separate denomination by about 1791.

Initially organisation was informal and itinerant lay ministers were sent to industrial and rural areas not served by Anglican clergy, but this laid the foundations of the Methodist circuits.

The process of separation from the Church of England involved refusals by bishops to ordain Methodists, the demand for ordained Methodist ministers in America, before and after the rift between the two countries, the registration of their meeting houses as Nonconformist and popular clamour.

Wesley had called an annual conference in 1744 and this became regular after 1784. Conference is the Methodist Church's supreme authority and is now regulated by statute law.

Conference delegates duties to synods held twice yearly in each of the Methodist Church's 34 districts in Great Britain. Each district contains 20-30 circuits. District Chairmen and circuit superintendents are appointed by Conference.

Each circuit is made up of societies or chapel congregations, whose members are enrolled into a "class" book or register, and who are under the pastoral care of a class leader. The circuit holds a quarterly meeting comprising ministers, lay officers and class leaders. Each society also holds a Leaders' Meeting and an annual members' meeting to appoint to a leaders' Meeting. All of these society and circuit meetings are represented among records in this collection.

Between 1810 and 1932 various groups splintered off from the Mainstream Methodists until reunited in the latter year (see diagram). The organisation and record keeping of these offshoots were more or less identical to those of the mainstream Wesleyans and Methodist Church.

Methodist worship and doctrine

Traditionally Methodism has been characterised by personal religious discipline, a regular worship routine, field preaching, circuit preaching, by lay and ordained ministers, concern for social welfare, social betterment and public morals, hym singing and lively worship. Charles Wesley alone composed more than 7,000 hymns and the Church of England had followed suit by introducing hymn singing as a large part of its own liturgy.

John Wesley had been influenced by Moravian and Lutheran evangelicalism in America and London but otherwise adhered to most Anglican tenets.

Methodists use a modified Anglican prayer Book and a version of the 39 Articles.

Methodists in Great Britain have no bishops and are closer to the Presbyterians in this regard. The Trinity, forgiveness of sin, redemption, the authority of the bible and a discretionary approach to liturgy are central to Methodist beliefs. Baptism is practised, usually by sprinkling water and is often administered to adults; and marriage and burial services are undertaken but are not regarded as sacraments.

Methodism in the Medway Area

The first mention in this collection of a visit to the Medway area by John Wesley is for preaching a sermon on 3 December 1770 at the Rochester Chapel (2/Da/1/1). Wesley maintained personal contact through visits (2/Da/1/1) and correspondence (1/A/1) until 1790, near the time of his death.

The Bible Christians, who were among the first offshoots of the Wesleyans, were clearly operating in the Medway area by 1820 (1/A/5) indicating by this early and distant outreach by a denomination originating in Cornwall that Medway was the ideal Methodist Mission Territory.

The area must have been considered ripe for evangelism, due to the workforce and forces personnel of the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham and associated civilian industries, both of which continued to develop throughout the nineteenth century. The culmination of Methodist influence in the garrison towns was the establishment of Central Hall, Chatham by Rev. Richard Hall in 1903. This formed part of Rochester Wesleyan Circuit until the unification of the Methodist churches nationally in 1932. In that year Central Hall and its outpost missions became a separate Methodist Church circuit to undertake military, naval and civilian mission work. Finally, however in 1966, Central Hall was closed down and the outpost churches. In the circuit were amalgamated with the existing Medway Towns Circuit to form the present circuit (1/H/7/3, 2/Ab/1 and 2/Ab/4/7).

The collection only illustrates the administration of the local Methodist circuits and their constituent churches, much as in circuits and churches elsewhere, but also the mission work associated with a Naval Dockyard (Chatham) and garrison towns (Chatham and Gillingham). Military and Naval personnel and civilian workers provided the Methodists with their main challenge in the central area, although civilians were well catered for. However, with Britain's reduced post-war commitments and the running down of the Dockyard, this service had diminished by the 1960's. The Methodists' response to these challenges is one of the most constant themes in the records.

Records in this collection

1. Circuits

Section A comprises records of uncertain provenance which must have originated with certain Methodist ministers, societies or circuits but which have been merged subsequently. They span the period 1790-1933 and comprise meeting house certificates, a letter from John Wesley and later printed matter. Careful examination and research may reveal through which circuit the MS material may have descended to the modern Medway Towns Circuit.

Sections B - H comprise records of the various predecessor and modern methodist Medway area circuits. Typical circuit records are Quarterly Meeting minutes, Local Preachers' Meeting minutes, Circuit Trustees' minutes, Circuit Stewards' accounts and Circuit baptism and burial registers, which are all represented.

Reference to Circuit records will provide the searcher with an overall picture of Methodist activity in an area of shift in policy locally and of local relations with Conference and its central organs and committees. In the Medway area, ministering to the Armed Forces was a main task, associated throughout with Old Brompton and Chatham, which gradually diminished with the withdrawal of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

These and other social changes are well reflected in the Circuit development.

It should be noted that circuit records include many files relating to specific chapels which should be consulted in addition to material in section 2 of the list.

2. Societies

For convenience the society records are arranged by area, and within area alphabetically by streets rather than by circuit or denomination which would be difficult due to the swapping of societies between circuits or change of denomination. A brief history of the societies is prefixed to each section to clarify confusing points such as change in denomination.

Society records chiefly comprise Trustees' minutes, accounts, deeds and registers of local baptisms, marriages and burials. Records orientated towards the members include class books (registers of members), Leaders' minutes, Sunday School records and registers, pew rents were used largely to pay off chapel debts) and architectural drawings.

It should be noted that circuit records, contained in section 1 of the list, also contain baptisms and members registers.


Besides illustrating the operation of Methodism in a rural and urban area, the collection provides a great insight into the character of the Medway Towns and Gillingham especially in respect of the armed forces, social life and reactions to general issues such as temperance.

Circuits section F (Garrison and Naval Port Circuit records) and Societies section Ab (Central Hall, Chatham) and Bk (Prospect Row, Gillingham) illustrate the military and naval aspect of Methodist mission work; social life is best illustrated by society sub-sections, 6 (affiliated organisations) and 7 (church in the community e.g. Bethel Chapel, Rochester (Db) and St. Peter's, Gillingham (Bl). Illustrated printed matter and newsletter can usually be found in society sub-sections 4 & 7.

The temperance issue is illustrated by the controversy surrounding the liquor trafficking of A.W. Ratcliffe, a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher 1897 - 1899 (1/B/7/1)

Medway Area Archivist July 1991 (main list)

Notes left by local historian and Methodist lay preacher Ron Baldwin, former local Methodist archivist, have been of great assistance in drafting this descriptive list.

Additional Notes on Provenance

Items (1/A/28, 1/F/4/5, 1/F/6/4-5, 1/F/6/10-12, 2/Ab/7/2 and 2/Db/7/6). According to an accompanying note this material may have been acquired by Rev. W. R. Haughton.

Items (1/4/7/18, 24-25) were found in a wrapper inscribed Rev. E. R. Kemp but with an address label to Rev. J. H. W. Ingram, 179 Nelson Road, Gillingham postmarked 5 July 1972.


Most if not all of the abbreviations in the following section were expanded in the database as part of the preparations for publication on the Internet. Borough Archivist, Medway Council November 1998

A.M. Artium Magister (Master of Arts)
ARIBA Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects
Aug. August
Ave. Avenue
Bapt. Baptism
Beds. Bedfordshire
Berks. Berkshire
B. & W. Black and White
C circa (about)
C.K.S. Centre for Kentish Studies
Co. Company
Coop. Co-operative
Coy. Company (Military Unit)
D. Died
D.D. Doctor of Divinity
Dec. December
Dept. Department
Dr. Doctor
E.C. East Central
Ed. Editor
Enc. Enclosure
Esq. Esquire
Et. seq. Et sequentia (and following)
etc. Etcetera (and the rest)
Feb. February
ff. Folios
N.E. North East
No. Numero (number)
Nov. November
N.W. North West
O.B.E. Order of the British Empire
Oct. October
p.a. per annum (yearly)
PAYE Pay as you earn
P.H. Public house
P.M. Primative Methodist
P(p) Page(s)
R.A.F. Royal Air Force
Rd. Road
R.E. Royal Engineers
Rev. Reverend
Sec. Secretary
S.E. South East
Sep. September
Sess. Session
Sgt. Sergeant
Sic. Thus it appears
St. Saint or Street
Staffs. Staffordshire
Supt. Superintendant

File updated by Borough Archivist 24 September 2003

Date: N/A
Quantity: N/A
Result number 20 - Please quote Reference: S_MN_Medway_Navigation_Company_1627_to_1936/S_MN_AC_25 on request slip.

Path: Statutory_Authorities_1627_1969/ S_MN_Medway_Navigation_Company_1627_to_1936/ 05_KCC_Accession_0886_1829_to_1932/ S_MN_01_Administration_1902_to_1931/ AC_General_correspondence_1902_to_1931/ S_MN_AC_25.html

Medway Navigation Company.

Upper Medway Conservancy Board.

Correspondence, in-letters only, received by G.L. Carrick, secretary, Upper Medway Conservancy, 46 High Street, Tonbridge, from Yalding Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Yalding, requesting water analysis at Tonbridge, Grafton & Co., Vulcan Works, Bedford, Bedfordshire, engineers, W.J. Hobbis, secretary, Five Oak Green Institute, Tonbridge, asking for ballast, Major A.S. Collard, Royal Engineers, for Director of Movements, Room 533, War Office, London SW, concerning bucket dredger, William Arnold & Sons Ltd., Branbridge(s) Mills, Paddock Wood, high grade millers and others, discussing matters as above and navigation works and hazards, Swanmead and dredging, etc.

Includes appointment of O.E. d'Avigdor Goldsmid of Somerhill, Tonbridge as Kent County Council representative on Upper Medway Navigation & Conservancy Board (S/MN/AC25/14).

Includes record of variation in water flow measured by Arnolds as above, 15-26 May (S/MN/AC25/21-22)

Date: 1916
Quantity: 1 bundle/22pp.
Result number 21 - Please quote Reference: S_MN_Medway_Navigation_Company_1627_to_1936/S_MN_AC_26 on request slip.

Path: Statutory_Authorities_1627_1969/ S_MN_Medway_Navigation_Company_1627_to_1936/ 05_KCC_Accession_0886_1829_to_1932/ S_MN_01_Administration_1902_to_1931/ AC_General_correspondence_1902_to_1931/ S_MN_AC_26.html

Medway Navigation Company.

Upper Medway Conservancy Board.

Correspondence, in-letters only, received by G.L. Carrick, secretary, Upper Medway Conservancy, 46 High Street, Tonbridge, from E.B. Coppen, The Bridge, East Farleigh, denying his goats have been tethered on the tow path (S/MN/AC26/7), Price Waterhouse & Co., 3 Frederick's Place, Old Jewry, London EC, accountants, Treasury Chambers, Whitehall, London SW, Board of Trade (Railway Department), 7 Whitehall Gardens, London SW, Herbert Payne, Paynes Drug Stores, 25 Week Street, Maidstone, qualified chemists and opticians, Grafton & Co., Vulcan Works, Bedford, Bedfordshire, engineers, H. & W. Peak, Allington, barge and boat builders, mast, spar and block makers (estimates for barge repairs) (S/MN/AC26/25-26), local authorities and local landowners and others, discussing (in addition to above matters) finances, loans, rents, damage to fields, ballast, passage of dredgers, season tickets for motor boats and emplyment matters, etc.

Date: 1916
Quantity: 1 bundle/34pp.
Result number 22 - Please quote Reference: Failed to compute accession number on request slip.

Path: Z4c_Medway_MovieBase/ Z4c_Intro2_Referral.html

Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre 

MovieBase Referral Page 

Welcome to Medway MovieBase. Contained below are links to films about Medway and Medway people amounting to many hours of viewing time. We hope you enjoy your visit.


Introduction and instructions


Medway MovieBase Part I: Films from Medway Archives 1930-2006


HMS Truculent 1950 (via ITN Source)
Rainham Rangerettes 1990
(2 files)

Royal Visit to Gillingham 1968
(2 files)

Royal Visit to Maidstone and the Medway Towns 1984
(2 files)

Royal Visit to Rochester 1984
(2 files)

Beautiful Ito, Japan, City of Hot Springs c.1979
(2 files)
Yokosuka: Metropolitan Seaside Community, Japan 1995 (3 files)
Yokosuka - International City of Culture by the Sea, Japan c.2006
(2 files)

The Story of the Brook Low Level Pumping Station, Chatham 1996
(2 files)

Winget Ltd. of Strood, engineers c.1930-1967
(11 files, 16 film runs)

The Theatre Royal, Chatham 1995
(1 file)

Shuttleworth Collection Air Display, Bedfordshire 1985
(1 file)

Medway Cine Club and scenes of the Medway Towns 1967
(1 file)
Kentish Villages in Autumn c.1970 (1 file)
A Chatham family on vacation in south Devon c.1973
(1 file)

April in Kent c.1973
(1 file)

Cutty Sark Scots Whisky Tall Ships Race and Parade of Sail, Chatham 1985
(2 files)

The Building of Medway Magistrates' Court, The Brook, Chatham 1976-1979
(2 files)

The Opening of Wigmore Library 1969 (1 file) (view)

Rochester Historical Pageant 1931 (2 files) (view)

Historical Rochester c.1931 (view)




Medway MovieBase Part II: A social history of the Medway Towns and Lower Medway Valley in film 1950-1985: a selection from the Tony Blake Film Collection *


Crew of a spritsail sailing barge c.1950 (file Tony Blake 1)
Morris dancing display in Rochester Castle c.1975
(file Tony Blake 2)
Medway Steam Fair 1970 (file Tony Blake 3)
TS Arethusa c.1965 (file Tony Blake 4)
Remembrance Day at Chatham War Memorial 1968 (file Tony Blake 5-1)
Residents and grounds staff at Foord Almshouses, Priestfields, Rochester and on excursions 1968 (file Tony Blake 5-2)
Chatham street scenes c.1965 (file Tony Blake 6)
A boat trip down the River Medway 1967 (file Tony Blake 7)
Air show at Rochester Airport 1967 (file Tony Blake 8)
Walderslade Carnival 1977 (file Tony Blake 9-1)
Odeon Cinema, Rochester 1985 (file Tony Blake 9-2)
Chatham Carnival 1980 (files Tony Blake 9/3-4)
Cobham Hall 1968 (file Cobham Hall)
Dog show and Punch and Judy show, Rochester Castle 1977 (file Dog Show/Punch and Judy)
Chatham Navy Days 1960 (file Navy Day)
Naval ceremonial in Chatham c.1960 (file RE Band)
Royal Engineers' Band, Brompton Barracks c.1965 (file RE Band)
A street scene in Chatham c.1950 (file Street Scene)


Medway MovieBase Part III: Terry Nunn's Village Videos - The Villages of the Lower Medway Valley and Hoo Pensinsula 1998-2004


Cobham 2003

Cuxton 1998

Halling 1999

Higham 2004

The Hoo Peninsula: Along the Road to Nowhere 2006

Meopham 2001

Shorne 2004

Snodland 2002


To obtain high resolution copies of the Village Videos series, please contact Terry Nunn at 


Medway MovieBase Part IV: Boating on the Medway 1949-1995


A compilation of juxtaposed extracts from silent colour films recording boat trips up the river from Tower Reach, Rochester to Tonbridge, filmed by different cameramen over the period 1949-1995, with accompanying post-compilation narration on the history of the waymarks and riverside events, buildings, places and people along the route. A large part of the film is footage from 1949 by Jim McKay.


Boating on the Medway 1949-1995 click here



To view the full MovieBase collection report, please click here


Other films of local interest



Medway Renaissance video library, two videos entitled Regenerating Medway and Investing in Medway produced by Medway Renaissance and Southside TV 2006


Caveat and disclaimer.


Customers wishing to reproduce, print-off, download or publish images from this moviebase, database or imagebase may require the permission of the owner of the Copyright of the original records. Publication by Medway Council of images in this moviebase, database or imagebase does not imply a right on the part of the user to reproduce, print-off, download or publish the images or absolve the user from the need to obtain permission to reproduce items subject to Copyright. Medway Council has obtained permission from Copyright owners to reproduce images in this moviebase, database or imagebase without prejudice to wider Copyright. Strictly no commercial or organisational reproduction, printing-off, downloading or publication of the images in this moviebase may be undertaken without the prior consent of Medway Council or the owner of the Copyright of the original records. No separate or independent moviebases, databases or imagebases derived from this moviebase may be created for organisational or commercial purposes without the express permission of Medway Council or the Copyright owners. Where downloading of images is permissible it may only be done for reasons of private study. Private study is defined by the Patent Office and the definition is incorporated in the relevant legislation.


The Copyright to the archival descriptions of the images, contained in the linked CityArk database, is owned by Medway Council and any use of these, for private study only, should be credited to Medway Council. 



File updated by Archivist 24 /9/ 2007; 27/6/2011

Date: N/A
Quantity: N/A
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