18th cen­tury sea­far­ing his­tory

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

ex­port of wool, which was a sig­nif­i­cant crown rev­enue, but smug­gling or avoid­ing the pay­ment of taxes for im­port or ex­port be­came wide­spread.

In 1667, the Dutch cap­tured Queen­bor­ough but the oc­cu­pa­tion lasted only a few days. Although the in­va­sion caused wide­spread panic, they were un­able to main­tain their of­fen­sive.

Thank­fully, 300 years later, in 1967, the town was of­fi­cially handed back to Eng­land by the Dutch.

Dur­ing the 17th cen­tury, the town’s pop­u­la­tion was mainly em­ployed in the lo­cal oys­ter fish­ery and, there­after, many gen­er­a­tions found sur­vival dif­fi­cult when the tyran­ni­cal Mayor Greet seized con­trol of the town’s oys­ter beds. His elab­o­rate tomb can be seen in front of the Queen­bor­ough church­yard.

The town still re­flects some­thing of its orig­i­nal 18th cen­tury sea­far­ing his­tory, how­ever.

Lord Nel­son is said to have learned much of his sea­far­ing skills in these waters and, leg­end has it, he shared a house near the small har­bour with his mis­tress, Lady Hamil­ton.

Most of the town’s build­ings from this pe­riod are still stand­ing, but the church is the sole sur­viv­ing fea­ture from me­dieval times.

To­day, the town is still burst­ing with well-pre­served her­itage, as well as a range of fa­cil­i­ties to wel­come vis­i­tors.

The har­bour of­fers an all-tide land­ing and moor­ing in the Swale, and the Guild­hall Mu­seum tells the story of Queen­bor­ough and is home to many arte­facts.

Head to one of the lo­cal pubs for a mo­ment of respite or a bite to eat.

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