Royal Visits

Edward I Anne of Cleves Henry VIII The Queen Mother

Edward I, 1295

According to the "Itinerary of Edward I," the king stayed at Rainham for two days in 1295, and again in 1302, but this time only for one day. It is said that he stayed at Sileham Court, the modern day Siloam Farm.

Anne of Cleves, 1540

The 16th century historian Holinshed wrote "from Canterburie Ladie Anne Cleve came to Sittingbourne, and laie there that night. As she passed towards Rochester on New Years Even, on Reinham Downe met her the Duke of Norffolke."

The fourth of Henry VIII's wives had just entered England and was on her way to meet her new husband at Rochester. The marriage was a disaster and ended after just a few months. Although considered rather plain and plump, and having been dubbed "The Flanders Mare," Anne is generally held to have been no fool, and ended her days living on lands granted to her by Henry.

Anne of Cleves, from a miniature by Holbein.

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Henry VIII

"Bluff King Hal" didn't come to Rainham in 1540, but he did stop over in the village one night in 1544. A letter dated the 12th July that year remarks how "His Majesty dineth now at Gravesende, and intendeth to lie this night at Reynam." Exactly where he rested is not recorded. Bloors Place is a possible location, though Sileham Court would perhaps have been more likely. However, it is worth noting that an archway in Bloors Place is carved with a lion holding a crown, a possible indication that a monarch once rested there. Queen Anne, wife to Richard III, is also thought to have visited the village, and the carving has sometimes been attributed to her presence.

The carving in Bloors Place, said by some to commemorate a royal visit.

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Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

It is a little known fact that Berengrave House was once occupied by the Bowes Lyon family. The Queen Mother was Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, and her brother rented Berengrave as a summer residence in 1926. It is said that the Queen Mother stayed there around this time.

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