The Gazetteer


Charing - Hooden Horse - a display by the East Kent Morris Men on the Spring Bank Holiday in front of the Bishop's Castle followed by a meander up the street to the Wheel Inn, Westwell. At one time Invicta the Hooden Horse chased the vicar and the side danced on the church tower but the roof became unsafe.

Deptford - Jack in the Green Festival on the first weekend in May. Find out more on the festival web-site.

Faversham - International Hop Festival, August / September - a celebration of the hop harvest when thousands of Londoners went to Kent for a working holiday. Contact +44(0)1795 585601.

Folkestone - Blessing the sea and fisheries. At high tide on the Sunday nearest St Peter's Day (June 29th). A procession at 3pm with Sea Cadets' band, bagpipers, Salvation Army and local school children, to the old fishing harbour where there is a service and the sea is blessed with holy water and incense. There was once a large fishing industry here and the service was attended by local fisherman.  Contact St Peter's Church +44(0)1303 254472.

Hastings - Blessing the Sea, in June. Contact All Saints Parish Office +44 (0) 1424 422242 for dates.

Margate - Blessing of the Sea. The Greek Orthodox Church organise this ceremony in early January which is attended by mayors from across the Kent coast, the Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church and other diginitaries. After a morning service the party parade with music down to Margate sands where the blessing takes place and a cross is thrown into the sea. Lunches and speeches follow in the Winter Gardens. The date changes from year to year - contact the Greek Orthodox Church for details +44(0)1843 294477.

Parish Maps of Kent

Barfreston, Blean, Bobbing, Canterbury, Chartham, Cranbrook, Elham, Farningham, Goudhurst, Hackington, Higham, Nonington, Ospringe, Shoreham, Snowdown, Tenterden, Tyler Hill, Wilmington.

Rochester - Sweeps Festival in May. This originates from the Industrial Revolution when chimneys were swept by small children, or Climbing Boys. Chimney sweeps would perform in a colourful processions on May Day and collect money at a time of year when work was scarce. Jack-in-the Green was the central character in the procession and helped them to raise money without begging. After the Climbing Boys act of 1868 and the development of the chimney sweeps' brush climbing boys became redundant and the Sweeps' Day was no longer celebrated. In 1980 the Rochester Sweeps' Procession was revived. Now the Festival lasts for five days with music, ceremonies, exhibitions, dancing and the Sweeps' Procession. Contact TIC +44(0)1634 843666. Also, Admiralty Court, on the first or second Saturday in July, a court is held on a barge to regulate the governing and improvement of the oyster fishery on the River Medway. Contact Paddle Steamer 'Kingswear Castle', +44 (0) 1634 827648.

Strood - Medway Barge Sailing Match - magnificent barges tacking up and down the river under full sail. The Paddle Steamer 'Kingswear Castle' will be sailing amongst them taking passengers, beginning at Strood. Contact Paddle Steamer 'Kingswear Castle' +44(0)1634 827648.

River Thames - Thames Barge Sailing Match. On the second Saturday in July. This race was first organised 1863 by Henry Dodd as a sporting event but also to promote sailing barges and to highlight "what a sailing barge can do in the way of speed". There will be more than a dozen Thames Sailing Barges starting at the Lower Hope between 0700 and 0730 and ailing east to finish at the Clarendon Royal Hotel, Gravesend in the afternoon. See the match's web-site for detailed maps of the course, advice on where to see the match from land water, and a history or the match, or contact +44(0)1227 265568.

Whitstable - Oyster Festival and Blessing of the Waters. Held over the period which includes St James Day (25th July) - St James being the Patron Saint of Oysters and Oyster Fisheries. On the first Day of the Festival, Landing the Catch is carried out by Whitstable Sea Cadets - the first catch of oysters is blessed and presented to the Mayor. The catch is then paraded through town accompanied by the civic party, shire horses and Dray, and musicians, and delivered to restaurants, pubs, and cafes. There is also music, workshops, oysters for sale, boats in the harbour to board and trips on a sailing barge. On Thursday evening of the Festival, the Men of Kent and Kentish Men present the annual ceremony , the Blessing of the Waters on the seafront. The festival ends with fireworks over the sea on Sunday night. Contact the Festival Office on +44(0)1227 265666.

Apple Day, October 21st

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