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

stone-workThese fragments of moulded stone were found reused as rubble in the wall tops when major conservation work was undertaken on the Chantry. They are all pieces of limestone probably from the quarries at Reigate, and were dressed by stone masons to form different parts of a window.

The window is of a design which is typical of a fourteenth century date, although it doesn't seem to fit in any of the window openings of the surviving building. They are from a plate tracery  window which was designed to take glass. One of the stones has a small cross cut into its surface. This is either the mark of the mason, or possibly a mark to help the laying out of the window.

Several of the stones show signs of alterations, and it seems likely that the fourteenth century window was altered to make a casement window, before being removed when the building was modernised.

window-illustration



 

1086

Gravesend and Milton are mentioned in the Domesday survey as manors with hythes or landing places.

1155

A hospital is built at Milton by Warin de Monte Canisio.

1268

Gravesend receives its first Market Charter.

1321

Milton Chantry is endowed by Aylmer de Valence.

1380

Gravesend is sacked and burnt by the French.

1401

Henry IV confirms the right of the watermen of Gravesend to control the ferry between Gravesend and Milton.

1524

The Chantry, with its outbuildings and grounds, is in poor repair and is rented out as a farm to William Wilde of Gravesend.

1539

HenryVIII orders the building of 5 artillery blockhouses, 2 at Gravesend, to defend the mouth of the Thames.

1562

Elizabeth 1 grants a Charter of Incorporation to the people of Milton and Gravesend.

1588

Giannibelli builds a boom of boats across the river between Gravesend and Tilbury to protect London from the Spanish Armada.

1667

Blockhouses are repaired and armed against a Dutch invasion.

1697

Milton Chantry becomes the Zoar alehouse, later renamed the New Tavern.

1727

A Great Fire destroys the parish church, the prison and 120 homes in the town. The population at this time is 2000.

1778

New Tavern Fort is built as a precaution against French invasion. Milton Chantry is encased in brick and used as a barracks.

1865

Another French invasion scare results in major reconstruction and rearming of the New Tavern Fort.

1910

The population of Gravesend has grown to nearly 30,000.

1944

Fort House is destroyed by a V2 rocket during the second world war.
Milton Chantry 1321.

The Earliest Period

In 1321 the king, Edward 11, gave permission for Aylmer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, to give property to the master of the Chapel, or Chantry, at Milton. The income from this property was to pay for two chaplains who would pray for Aylmer?s soul and the soul of his ancestors.
 
Milton Chantry 1540.

The Site Becomes A Farm

After Henry V111 confiscated the properties of the Church, he gave Milton Chantry with the associated buildings and land, to Sir Thomas Wyatt. In 1540 Sir Thomas rented it out as a farm to William Wilde, who converted the Chapel into a house.
 
Milton Chantry 1697

The New Tavern

By 1697 part of Milton Chantry had been converted to an alehouse, The Zoar, later renamed the New Tavern. In 1776 a visitor noted that the tavern offered overnight rooms and had a neat bowling green and garden.
 
Milton Chantry Today.

The Fort Today

A fort was built in the grounds of the New Tavern in the 1780?s and the tavern itself was converted for use as a military hospital in 1842. The fort was abandoned after the first world war. The grounds were opened as public gardens and the fort is now being conserved by the Thames Defence Heritage Group. The Chantry has survived, retaining many clues to its chequered history, to house this exhibition about Gravesend today.