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History of Queenborough

Queenborough comes from the Old English ‘cwēn’ meaning a ‘queen, the wife or consort of a king’, with ‘burgh’ as a ‘fortified place’; therefore, the ‘queen’s borough’, named after Queen Philippa, wife of Edward III.

Edward III built
Queenborough Castle in 1365, to secure the passage of ships along the Swale, during the hundred year’s war with France. It replaced a much earlier, smaller castle and modelled on a French-style chateau of the period. It is believed the design of Queenborough castle influenced Thomas Cheney, in the construction of nearby Deal and Walmer Castles. In 1650, Parliament, declared the fortress as obsolete, and ordered its demolition; they shipped the stonework to London to pave the streets around Whitehall. 

Edward III had a supporting town built at the same time as the castle, which he named
Queenborough, after his Queen, Philippa of Hainault. The town had a broad High Street, which ran westwards from the main gate of the castle towards the banks of the nearby Swale. Queenborough had the rights of a free borough conferred upon it, with a governing body of a mayor and two bailiffs. Edward granted Queenborough a charter in 1366 and bestowed the duties of a royal borough two years later.

Queenborough parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The initial dedication to St James, caused confusion with the church at Warden, and therefore the rededication in the 15th century. Edward built the church around the same time as Queenborough town, on land within the parish of Minster, as a Chapelry of Minster Abbey. Following the dissolution, Holy Trinity became beholden to the parish church at Minster. In 1607, King James I, made Queenborough an independent parish. This enabled the townspeople to have christenings, marriages and funeral services in their own church, and use the churchyard for burials. Following an appeal, in 1636, the parishioners paid for sturdy buttresses to be added to the tower to strengthen the structure. In 1667, Anthony Bartlett cast and hung five bells in the tower. In 1721, Thomas King carried out further restoration, which included, raised paving, erecting a gallery at the west end and the painting of the ceiling by an unknown Dutch or Flemish artist.

In 1798, Edward Hasted described Holy Trinity church as a ‘handsome building, consisting of one isle and one chancel; it is decorated with a painted roof, and other ornaments, and very neatly kept. There is a high-raised seat in it, for the mayor and two bailiffs. The whole of it was raised, paved, and ceiled, and the gallery at the west end, erected by Thomas King, esq. the first time he was elected member of parliament in 1695. It has a square tower steeple at the west end, which seems much older than the church itself, and at the top of it there is a small wooden turret, in which hang five bells’. Late in the 19th century, the Victorians carried out a sympathetic restoration with new windows and interior fittings. In 1911, Mears and Stainbank augmented the bells to six with the addition of a treble…. more

Queenborough railway station opened on the London Chatham and Dover Railway’s Sittingbourne to Sheerness branch line, on 19 July 1860…. more

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