Faversham has received one of the largest accumulations of municipal charters of any city or town in Britain over the period of more than 750 years since 1252.
The Barons of Faversham are granted certain immunities from the payment of tolls and customs and from the jurisdiction of the courts of the shire and hundred, which they and their Combarons of the Cinque Ports had enjoyed since the time of Edward the Confessor. They are to resort only to their accustomed court of Shepway.
The Barons of the Cinque Ports, in recognition of their services in taking the King and others to and from France, are granted immunity from summons before the Royal Justices Itinerant in respect of land in any county, unless anyone sues them.
The King recognises an agreement between the Abbot and Barons of Faversham that the Abbot shall hear in his court all cases within the town which concern the liberties of the Cinque Ports, except those belonging to the royal court of Shepway.
The King confirms to the Barons of the Cinque Ports in recognition of their past faithful service, and their recent service in the Welsh army all their freedoms including immunity from toll and custom and from the jurisdiction of shire and hundred, and the right to trove by land and sea. In return they are to provide 57 ships for 15 days each year, upon the summons of the King.
Bond by the Mayor and Corporation of Faversham to repay to Sir Walter de Laughton, Keeper of the Wardrobe for King Edward I, upon demand the sum of 24 marks which he has advanced to them “for the expedition of certain arduous negotiations touching us and our Corporation” Canterbury, the eve of Pentecost, 1295.
The King orders that, in consideration of the great expense of maintaining the fleet of the Cinque Ports, all the Cinque Ports and all who claim their liberties should contribute to the cost.
The Barons of the Cinque Ports are granted freedom from taxes upon their ships and rigging, privileges in their trade with Ireland and freedom from the payment of certain feudal dues to the King.
Copies of this confirmation which includes the whole text of Magna Carta were sent to many towns throughout the country. At the foot of this copy it is stated in Latin that it is for the Barons of the Port of Faversham.
The Barons of Faversham are granted all the freedoms that the Barons of the Cinque Ports have by Charter including immunity from toll and custom and from the jurisdiction of shire and hundred, and the right to trove by land and sea. In return they are to provide ships with the Barons of the Cinque Ports for 15 days each year, upon the summons of the King.
The Charters of Henry III and Edward I dated 1252 and 1302 to the Barons of Faversham are confirmed together with all liberties and freedoms granted therein, even if they have not been exercised in the past.
The King grants to the Barons of Faversham, at their request, that they shall enjoy their freedoms and privileges without challenge by the Steward, Marshal, and Clerk of the Market of the King’s Household.
All the liberties and immunities granted in the Charters of 1278 and 1298 to the Barons of the Cinque Ports and in the Charters of 1364 and 1408 to the Barons of Faversham, are confirmed by the King on the advice of the lords spiritual and temporal.
The people of Faversham have been compelled to give presents of fish and money each year to the value of 10 or 12 marks to the Constable of Dover Castle and to answer suits in the Court of the Admiral of the Cinque Ports. In future the Mayor, Barons, and Commonalty shall not be compelled to appear before the Admiral or the Constable of Dover at St. James’s Church Dover, and shall be immune from the payment of annual gifts to the King or Constable.
A certified copy of Letters Patent of Richard the second dated 1388 recording complaints by the Mayor and Commonalty of Faversham of the exaction of presents from them by the Constable of Dover, and the finding by an inquisition that such presents were given at first to obtain the Court’s favour against the Abbot of Faversham, and later have been unlawfully claimed by successive Constables.
The King confirms the Charter of Henry VI dated 1434.
The government of Faversham has long been thought to belong to the Mayor and Jurats and lately to the Abbot but now that the incorporation has been found to be insufficiently based in law, the King wishes to incorporate the town anew for the benefit of the inhabitants.
The first Mayor, Jurats and Freemen under the new incorporation are appointed, and the procedure is laid down for their election and replacement and for the appointment of a Serjeant-at-Mace. Various corporate privileges are granted, including a common seal, Portmoot Court, a market three times a week and on half-holidays and a fair in February and August.
The King confirms the Charter of his father, Henry VIII, dated 1546.
There are certain differences from the Charter of Incorporation by Henry VIII. In addition to the Mayor and Jurats, 24 common Councilmen are appointed. There are to be a Deputy Mayor, a Recorder, and a Common Clerk in addition to a Serjeant-at-Mace. The foundation of the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth is confirmed and the Mayor, Jurats and Commonalty are made Governors of the School.
This Charter was nothing more than a fund-raising exercise on the part of the monarch. The town was told it needed a new charter, and had to pay for it. Though there are differences from the 1546 charter, none of these were changes. The James II charter simply spelt out the status quo, which had not been spelt out in such detail in 1546.