A Potted History

Origins Medieval Industry


The banks of the Medway have been home to man since ancient times. Stone age tools have been discovered in the area, and there is strong evidence that the Romans worked the land between Rochester and Upchurch. The village was first recorded in AD 811 as "Roegingham," believed to mean "the home of the people living on rough ground," which is a likelihood given the flinty soil of the area. The very first Jutish settlement was centred around the site of St.Margaret's church, though this was built much later.


Rainham High Street

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The medieval village was part of the royal estate of Milton Regis. Edward Hasted in his "History of Kent," says that the village was known as "Renham" in ancient deeds. Many old buildings proliferate along the Lower Rainham road, itself thought to follow the route of an ancient Iron Age track. "Berengrave Farm" once belonged to the large estate of "Queen's Court," which also owned a tide mill situated in Rainham Creek. Bloors Place, built around 1450, is said to be the oldest house in the parish. "Macklands" farm was first noted in 1201, "Merescourt" in 1197, and Siloam farm was recorded as "Syleham" in 1226, "the home near a miry place."


Bloors Place, said to be the oldest house in the parish

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Situated in the fertile fruit growing region between Rochester and Sittingbourne, the fields and orchards of Rainham have long been used for producing hops, cherries, plums, apples and, according to Hasted, some of the "finest wheat" in the kingdom. Apart from farming, the earliest industry was brick making. A cement works was begun in 1913, which took chalk from the pit in Berengrave Lane. However, the gradual lessening of local resources and the problems of handling large cargoes at the local wharves resulted in the decline of this industry.


One of lower Rainham's surviving hop fields

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