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


• Frederick of Bohemia (Grandfather of George I) landed at Gravesend to be welcomed by the Duke of Lennox.
• Count Palatine of the Rhine landed at Gravesend on his way to marry Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I.

• King James I granted the Manor of Gravesend to Lodowic Stewart, son of the Duke of Lennox.
• Justices ordered that ferrymen keep one “horseboat” ready at all times for transporting horses and men.

• King James I and Prince Charles arrived by barge to dine with the King of Denmark at the “Ship Inn” in the High Street.

• County Assizes held at Gravesend.
• Manor of Gravesend granted by the Crown to William Salter.

• Princess Pocahontas (Rebecca Rolfe) arrived in Plymouth. She then travelled to London where she was fêted and received at Court. (See 1617)
• Lord Mayor and Aldermen and other Officers of London sailed from Billingsgate to Gravesend to sit on the Court of Conservancy.
• John Taylor, poet, arrived from Billingsgate with companions. They celebrated at the “Christopher Inn” and stayed at Gravesend waiting for a ship.

• Princess Pocahontas died on the return voyage to Virginia, and was buried in St. George’s Church.

• Herald’s “Visitation of the County of Kent” mentions the Gravesend families entitled to bear arms as: Bere, Tucker and Robinson.

• Prince Charles and the Marquess of Buckingham travelling in disguise on their way to Spain, overpaid the ferryman with a gold piece to the value of 22 shillings on the ferry from Tilbury. This aroused suspicion when reported and Gravesend Officers had them arrested at Canterbury.

• Henry Pinnock in his will gave, tenements to be called St. Thomas’s Almshouses, for the poor people of Gravesend and Milton. (See 1730, 1838, 1897, 1937, 1951, 1960, 1992)
• Henry Roy, vicar of Chalk, appointed as headmaster of the Free School.
• Nicholas Bowden, a miller of Milton, murdered and cast overboard, buried 17th September.

• Charles I visited Cobham Hall on his way to Dover and stayed the night there with his bride Maria Henrietta. He visited Gravesend on his return to London.

• Tower of St. Botolph’s Church collapsed. (See 1717)

• Extended Charter of Incorporation - Chief Magistrate to be called Mayor.
• Thomas Young although named in the Charter as Mayor, did not take office due to the lengthy procedure. The Charter did not come into operation until 1635. (For a list of Mayors from 1635 see Appendix I)

• County Assizes held at Gravesend.

• Gravesend assessed at £23. 3s. 6d., Milton £21. 18s. 8d. and Swanscombe at £21. 18s. 8d. for ship money. (This was a tax on port towns in lieu of providing ships for the navy and to provide revenue for protection against pirates and Dutch aggression).
• New stone bridge across the river Fleet, at Northfleet, built and equipped with flood gates at the expense of the county.

• Third Charter became effective in June, (See 1632) with the Duke of Lennox as High Steward. New Coat of Arms obtained (resembling the Lennox Arms). The Corporation was to consist of the Mayor, 6 Aldermen and 18 Councillors, elected by Burgesses. (Burgesses were usually traders, residents or property owners, granted the right to vote at the Borough elections. They were also required to pay rates towards the upkeep of the town).

• John Swain of Southfleet refused to carry a load of seaweed from Gravesend to the “Saltpetre house in Northfleet”. (One of the many signs of growing discontentment with the King’s orders).

• The Privy Council designated Gravesend as one of 4 maritime stations for assembling pressed men for the army. Gravesend were assigned 2400 men.

• Armed force of 200 troopers and 300 dragoons marched to Cobham Hall and seized arms and horses which were sent to London.
• A Captain Willoughby of Kent raised a company of 100 young volunteers and marched to Woolwich to seize arms and other goods.
• Mutiny on the “Mayflower” in Lower Hope.
• Militia of the City of London (Captain Willoughby at the head), ordered the removal of Ordnance in the blockhouse from Gravesend to Tilbury Fort.
• Gravesend garrison strengthened.
• “Maidenhead” arrived at Gravesend with 17 gentlemen of Devon as prisoners. Barges sent from London by order of Parliament to fetch them. They were charged with high treason.

• Martial law declared in Kent.

• Tide coaches (early stage coaches) running between Gravesend and Rochester to connect with the Long Ferry according to the tide.

•  Prince James (aged 15), escaping from England dressed as a woman, embarked at Gravesend shortly before the execution of King Charles I.
• Detachment of General Fairfax’s troops dislodged the Royalists from Stone Bridge, Northfleet and proceeded to Maidstone via Gravesend and Malling.
• General Fairfax with 8000 troops crossed the Thames at Gravesend to chase the Royalists to Colchester.

• Navy Committee proposed scheme for a Customs House at Gravesend. It was reported that two inns at Gravesend had landing stages on the Thames, being used to ship gold, silver and dangerous letters.
• Colonel Temple of Tilbury Fort enforced the order that the bridge of Bird’s Tavern be pulled down and the tavern closed.

• Council of State ordered all landing stages at Gravesend, except the common bridge (site of the Town Pier), to be removed.

• Blockhouse Fort land sold to George Etkins for £386.
• Oliver Cromwell occupied High Stewardship of the Corporation of Gravesend and set up the State’s Arms in the Town Hall and altered the Mace.
• Reverend Matthew Derby Vicar of Chalk appointed as Headmaster of the Free School.

• Act of Parliament passed for a new form of marriage ceremony and the banns of marriage were published in the Market Place. Several couples were married by the Mayor.
•  Thomas Shave, Churchwarden of Higham in his will gave the profits and rent from properties and land to provide two dozen loaves of bread for the poor of the parish each Sunday. This charity is still administered today.

• Swedish Ambassador visited Gravesend.
• Milton church bells made by J. Hodson and others.
• Two watermen Smith and Gurney confessed to the murder of a man and were hanged in chains at Gravesend. Smith and Gurney had been hired to carry the man to Tilbury Hope where he intended to buy cattle at a fair in Essex. Realising he had money the watermen committed the murder; one cutting the man’s throat and the other robbing him and then throwing him overboard. Some time later they fell out, accusing each other, and were subsequently arrested. (See 1796)
•  Reverend William Lister appointed Headmaster of the Free School.

• Dutch Ambassador, M. Nieuport, given a public welcome at Gravesend.

• First Town Hall, built in 1573, was repaired and improved.쇓