Without its Creek, Faversham would never have existed.
Its value for the discharge and loading of cargoes was recognised in prehistoric times, when a settlement was established near Standard Quay. A Roman villa (luxury farmstead) came next, on an adjacent site. Then, a thousand years later, in 1147, work began on building a huge Abbey nearby. Stone for this was imported from France through the Creek.
By now the town and port of Faversham was well-established. As a ‘limb’ of Dover, it had become an associate member of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, which from the 11th till the 16th centuries provided the nation with a navy to protect it from foreign aggression. The oldest Confederation charter belongs to the town.
In the 17th century Faversham was the nation’s main port for the export of wool. At a time when London was Europe’s largest city and rapidly expanding, it was its main source of that essential foodstuff - wheat.
In fact for centuries the town had a symbiotic relationship with London.
The city’s exponential growth in the 19th century would have been impossible without deliveries from Faversham of the yellowy-brown ‘London’ stock brick, made in huge quantities in and around the town. In a splendidly ‘green’ trading pattern, many inward cargoes were of London refuse, sifted for cinders from domestic grates to mix with the local brickearth to make the ‘stocks’ self-firing.
The vessels involved were also energy-frugal. They were the colourful, versatile sailing barges, whose only energy-sources were ... wind and tide. Many were built in local shipyards, and some remained in service till the 1950s.
Their role was usurped by vessels and vehicles powered by a non-renewable energy source - diesel oil. Some have been conserved and restored by loving private owners who help meet their considerable costs by undertaking charter cruises. You can see some of these picturesque vessels berthed at Standard Quay. Most are now around 100 years old but still fully seaworthy.
Faversham is now no longer a commercial port, but the Creek welcomes pleasure vessels; and chandlery, boat-building and repair facilities continue to flourish.
Use the menu on the left for more information about maritime Faversham, past and present.