A Virtual Museum - Your Town, the Borough and its History


• Milton Parish Registers began at St. Peter & St. Paul’s Church.

• Queen Elizabeth I was entertained at Cobham Hall by Lord William of Cobham, warden of the Cinque Ports.

• First Borough Charter incorporated on 22nd July by Elizabeth I. This Charter established the office of Portreeve. (See 1568)

• Pestilence raged at Gravesend and Milton. 159 died that year.

• Probable date of the “Three Daws” public house. (The old name was the “Three Cornish Choughs”)

• Second Charter of Incorporation was granted by Queen Elizabeth I.
• The first recorded Portreeve of Gravesend was Edward Darbyshire. (For a list of Portreeves from this date see Appendix I)
• The day of the weekly market was changed to Wednesday.
• First Coat of Arms probably obtained.
• Terrible storm in Thames. Two tilt boats and many others lost. .

• Milton Manor conveyed by Queen Elizabeth I to George Tucker.

• The first Town Hall was built on the east side of the High Street. The market being held underneath and behind the Town Hall.
• “Freemen” were introduced under the second Charter of 1568. The privilege of being a Freeman allowed a man to practice his trade, to take part in governing the town and to be eligible to hold the office of Mayor or Portreeve. These rights and privileges were confirmed by Royal Charter. The names of Freemen were usually registered annually on rolls.
• H.M. ships were ordered to be removed from the Medway to the Thames as near to Gravesend as possible, due to the threat of attack from the continent as the Dutch/Spanish wars raged.

• Tilt-boat lost and over 30 drowned, including the parson of Milton.
• Explorer Martin Frobisher’s first expedition arrived off Gravesend, with the ships “Gabriel” and “Michael” in search of the North West passage to China. He reached Labrador and discovered the bay that is now named after him.

• Martin Frobisher’s second expedition, anchored off Gravesend where they received communion from the Minister of Gravesend. On the expedition ship “Michael”, a local seaman, James Bere, was Master Mariner.

• Frobisher’s third expedition anchored off Gravesend. Among the ships were “Thomas Allen” and “Hopewell” and James Bere again joined the expedition serving on the ship “Anne Francis”.
• The Free School, in King Street, was founded, (later to become the National School. See 1835)
• Severe earthquake tremors were felt at Gravesend around midnight on 1st May.

• William Bourne, (born 1535) mathematician, author, innkeeper, gunner and former Portreeve, died and was buried in St. George’s Churchyard.

• Earl of Derby (Ambassador from the Queen to Henry III of France), arrived from London in a tilt-boat called “Light Horseman”.

• Archbishop Whitgift granted a licence to Ambrose Potter, Portreeve, and his wife to eat flesh and white meats, on lent days, provided he did so soberly and frugally without public scandal.
• Perry Street mentioned in the Northfleet Registers.
• Several persons were buried in St. Mary’s old churchyard.
• The first of two wings built onto Cobham Hall. The second wing built in 1591. (See 1662)

• Defences at Gravesend and Tilbury strengthened against invasion. Troops stationed on both sides of the river. (Armada Year)
• Beacon erected on Windmill Hill, ready to warn against invasion.
• Queen Elizabeth I visited Tilbury Fort.
• Bridge of barges put across the Thames to give passage to horse and foot.

• Robert Gimlett of Milton dismissed from tilt-boat rota of sailings, for misbehaviour.
• Numerous highway robberies reported at Gad’s Hill.

• Gravesend tilt-boat sunk in collision off Greenwich and 40 passengers drowned.

• The custom of holding an annual Corporation Banquet (later the Mayoral Banquet) was begun.

• Princess Pocahontas probably born in Virginia, America. (See 1616)
• George Dyer appointed Master of the Free School.
• Agreement between Gravesend Corporation and Corporation of London on the regulation and operation of ferry traffic. “The Gravesend barge shall serve every tide, if wind and weather permit, for the transportation of her Majesty’s subjects from Gravesend to London and London to Gravesend”.

• On the death of the 8th Lord Cobham, Cobham College became almshouses for 20 poor people and to include at least one parishioner of Gravesend. These almshouses became known as the New College and still exist as sheltered accommodation. (See 1956, 1979, 1996)
• St. Margaret’s Church, Ifield, re-built.
• Sir Walter Raleigh hunted runaway mariners from alehouse to alehouse into Northfleet.

• Gravesend tilt-boat with 40 aboard in collision with a “hoy” (small coasting vessel) off Gravesend and most passengers drowned.
• Last recorded burial in St. Mary’s churchyard.

• Tilt-boat from London to Gravesend lost at Woolwich. 29 drowned and 11 saved.

• Pestilence at Gravesend. 100 died in 5 months.

• Earl of Nottingham on his way to see the King of Spain, dined at Gravesend, with a retinue of 80 persons in barges and boats.

• King Christian IV of Denmark anchored off Gravesend with 8 ships.
• James I and Prince Henry dined at Gravesend with the King of Denmark, arriving from Greenwich in 35 barges.

• First fair held on the frozen Thames.

• County Assizes held at Milton.ꆱ