The Medway area has a long and varied history dominated originally by the city of Rochester and later by the naval and military establishments principally in Chatham and Gillingham.
Rochester was established on an Iron Age site by the Romans, who called it Durobrivae (meaning “stronghold by the bridge”), to control the point where Watling Street (now the A2) crossed the River Medway. Rochester later became a walled town and, under later Saxon influence, a mint was established here. The first cathedral was built by Bishop Justus in 604 and rebuilt under the Normans by Bishop Gundulf, who also built the castle that stands opposite the cathedral. Rochester was also an important point for people travelling the Pilgrims’ Way, which stretches from Winchester to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury. The Pilgrims’ Way crossed the Medway near Cuxton.
In Rochester, parts of the Roman city wall are still in evidence, and the city has many fine buildings, such as the Guildhall (today a museum), which was built in 1687 and is among the finest 17th-century civic buildings in Kent; the Corn Exchange, built in 1698, originally the Butcher’s Market; the small Tudor house of Watts Charity endowed by Sir Richard Watts to house “six poor travelers” for one night each; Satis House and Old Hall, both visited by Queen Elizabeth I, built in 1573. In Medway there are 82 scheduled ancient monuments, 832 Listed buildings and 22 conservation areas.
On this special 1 hour trial flight you will view from the air: