Faversham is a remarkable, even paradoxical, place. An ancient market town and port, it is also an industrial centre, but with few of the problems that industry often brings in its wake. It enjoys excellent, up to date amenities, including modern schools, library, health centre, swimming pool, cinema, theatre and assembly hall, but though it has adapted to modern needs, it has done so gracefully and without forfeiting its strong individuality. In many other towns the price of progress has been devastation and the “concrete jungle”. In Faversham all of the traditional landmarks remain, and a return visit will be a joy, not a disappointment. There are friendly shops and plenty of pubs, mostly “listed”. Varied countryside is within walking distance and the seaside is a few minutes drive away.
For centuries, as a member of the Cinque Ports Federation, Faversham enjoyed autonomy and freedom from Government interference, (we wish it were so today!), and its independent tradition lives on. Local people take a pride in their town and buildings have been carefully and lovingly restored by their owners.
It may be a small town, but it has played a big part in the history of our nation. You must join us on our Walking with History walks to learn, and understand, more about us.
The Faversham Society was formed in 1962. Currently with approximately 1,000 members, remarkable given the size of the town, (19,316 at the 2011 census), its members all have one thing in common; they are all enthusiastic about their town and want to see it both prosper and maintain its dignity and traditions. The motto of the Society is:
Cherish the past; adorn the present; create for the future.
The society operates the Fleur De Lis Heritage Centre and Museum, incorporating the Visitor Information Centre and a gallery, situated at 10-13 Preston Street, Faversham, ME13 8NS. The museum tells the story of Faversham from the Stone Age to the 20th Century. There are kings and queens, merchants and manufacturers – but mostly a story of Faversham people and their everyday lives through the ages. What makes it most appealing is that it is NOT a look don’t touch place.
Also maintained by the society is Chart Gunpowder Mills. The oldest of their kind in the world, they have been restored from complete dereliction, have been totally overgrown and lost. These mills date back to the 17th century and provided gunpowder for Trafalgar and Waterloo. (Open at weekends and Bank Holidays from April to October).
The Stone Chapel, the ruined church of Our Lady of Elwarton, is a medieval chapel built on top of a Romano-British mausoleum. The chapel is located in what is thought to have been the Roman settlement of Durolevum, near the modern town of Faversham. It is open to all as an Ancient Monument at no charge.
Open House. 2019 sees the 50th year of this very special event which takes place annually on the first three Saturdays of July. Very many buildings, public, private and commercial open their doors to the general public for the benefit of the Faversham Society. Its success in Faversham has led to it being emulated in many other parts of the country, notably in York and London. Admission is via a handbook, which also gives detailed historical and architectural notes on each property.
Equally popular is the Open Gardens, (and Garden Market), which is Sunday 30th June 2019. The largest Open Gardens in the south-east, a variety of private gardens will be opening including sculpture, wildlife, waterside, walled, courtyard, formal and urban meadow along with a variety of community, charity and allotment gardens. Many of the gardens will be serving teas and several will have a children’s competition. They are all within walking distance of the town’s attractive central conservation area and Market Place and the brochure ticket contains a well designed map. In the central Market Place will be a popular garden market where a large number of stalls will be selling plants, food, gardenalia and other garden related items.
These weekends provide a very specific, and enjoyable, reason to return to this wonderful town.
There are other societies within the town that ensures that we have a vibrant Hop Festival, (weekend after August Bank Holiday), Faversham Carnival, Faversham Christmas Lights, Literary Festival, Hat Festival, Faversham Transport Weekend and many more.