FAVERSHAM, a market town and river-port, member of the Cinque Port of Dover, and municipal borough in the Faversham parliamentary division of Kent, England, on a creek of the Swale, 9 m. W.N.W. of Canterbury on the South-Eastern & Chatham railway. Pop. (1901) 11,290. The church of St Mary of Charity, restored by Sir G. G. Scott in 1874, is of Early English architecture, and has some remains on one of the columns of frescoes of the same period, while the 14th-century paintings in the chancel are in better preservation. Some of the brasses are very fine, and there is one commemorating King Stephen, as well as a tomb said to be his. He was buried at the abbey he founded here, of which only a wall and the foundations below ground remain. At Davington, close to Faversham, there are remains, incorporated in a residence, of the cloisters and other parts of a Benedictine priory founded in 1153. Faversham has a free grammar school founded in 1527 and removed to its present site in 1877. Faversham Creek is navigable up to the town for vessels of 200 tons. The shipping trade is considerable, chiefly in coal, timber and agricultural produce. The oyster fisheries are important, and are managed by a very ancient gild, the Company of Free Dredgermen of the Hundred and Manor of Faversham. Brewing, brickmaking and the manufacture of cement are also carried on, and there are several large powder mills in the vicinity. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 686 acres.
There was a Romano-British village on the site of Faversham. The town (Fauresfeld, Faveresham) owed its early importance to its situation as a port on the Swale, to the fertile country surrounding it, and to the neighbourhood of Watling Street. In 811 it was called the king's town, arid a witenagemot was held here under rEthelstan. In 1086 it was assessed as royal demesne, and a market was held here at this date. An abbey was built by Stephen in 1147, in which he and Matilda were buried. They had endowed it with the manor and hundred of Faversham; this grant caused many disputes between the abbot and men of Faversham concerning the abbot's jurisdiction. Faversham was probably a member of Dover from the earliest association of the Cinque Ports, certainly as early as Henry III., who in 1252 granted among other liberties of the Cinque Ports that the barons of Faversham should plead only in Shepway Court, but ten years later transferred certain pleas to the abbot's court. In this reign also the abbot appointed the mayor, but from the reign of Edward I. he was elected by the freemen and then installed by the abbot. The corporation was prescriptive, and a hallmote held in 1293 was attended by a mayor and twelve jurats. All the liberties of the Cinque Ports were granted to the barons of Faversham by Edward I. in 1302, and confirmed by Edward III. in 1365, and by later monarchs. The governing charter till 1835 was that of Henry VIII., granted in 1545 and confirmed by Edward VI.
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