Friends of the Trust enjoy excursion to Faversham

Yesterday (9th August), members of the Friends of the Trust (FCAT) went on an excursion to Faversham in Kent.

Trust volunteer and member of FCAT Maureen writes:

‘… Yesterday, 34 members of FCAT enjoyed a pleasant, sunny day in Faversham.

After coffee at the Ship Inn, our first visit was to Maison Dieu (the ‘house of God’), the museum of the Hospital of St Mary Ospringe. King Henry III claimed to be its founder, and it was founded by 1234. Built next to a stream, the hospital was a popular stopping-place for Royal retinues and, possibly, all the kings of England from Henry III to Edward V stayed there. Monks, priests, and lay brothers and sisters at the hospital also cared  for Canterbury pilgrims, many of whom were old, sick or poor. Many buildings in England were destroyed at Henry VIII’s Dissolution in 1538, but the hospital survived. It was, by then, a leper hospital and also suffered regular flooding, so local people were reluctant to re-use its ‘infected’ stone.

Anna Wilkinson, the curator of the museum, gave alternate groups an interesting description of Roman occupation in the area, while others  looked at the many, excellently preserved examples of pottery and artefacts from nearby Roman burial grounds.

Members were able to explore the town and market for two hours, before moving on to the Abbey Barns, to see archaeologists excavating the site of a Roman villa and bath-house. Archaeologist Dr Paul Wilkinson gave us a guided tour and explained how it was one of over 24 such villas adjacent to and along Watling Street, built next to natural springs. We were shown a recently-found Roman coin and  strips of copper fasteners for a garment or purse.

We were grateful to Antony Millett, of the Faversham Tourist Information Centre, for accompanying us and helping our able Kings’ coach driver Tim to negotiate the narrow streets and difficult parking areas. Our particular thanks go to  Brenda May of FCAT, for organising such a full, interesting day …’

Many thanks to Maureen for writing the report and Trust volunteer and FCAT member Shirley for taking the photo.s.

The images show Faversham, and members of FCAT at the site of the Roman villa.


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