/ Yesteryear's smugglers brought to book
The reputation that Faversham had as a hotbed of smuggling for hundreds of years is explored in a new local history paper.
Stuart Harrison, a Faversham Society member and former Revenue officer, has researched and produced Customs and Smugglers in the Port of Faversham 1200-1900 as the latest in the society’s Faversham Papers series.
Stuart shines a light on events such as the day in 1812 that HM Revenue held a sale of seized contraband at the Faversham Custom House, including 536 gallons of gin, 171 gallons of brandy and a 12-ton smack, Providence. Auctions like this, Stuart says, were frequent until the early 1850s.
The author also looks at the tough men of the Revenue in past times, such as the group of three armed officers who, at Stalisfield on 11 December, 1787, ambushed a gang of mounted smugglers who were on their way to the Weald with a big delivery of liquor. Two of the smugglers were wounded in the affray that followed, and an officer testified that “he aimed his gun at the smuggler’s legs and was really more concerned to frighten the gang than to hurt them”.
Customs and Smugglers in the Port of Faversham 1200-1900 (170 pages) by Stuart Harrison is Faversham Paper No 115 and is available at £7.50 from the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, Preston Street, Faversham (01795 534542 or email email@example.com).