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Margate is seventy-two miles from London by land. The post-towns, through which you pass, are Dartford, Rochester, Sittingbourne, and Canterbury; but Rochester and Canterbury, and their vicinities, are well worth the attention of the traveller, if he should have so much time to spare.
Kent is not only eminent for the beauty of its prospects and fertility of its soil, but it produces much "eventful history,” which is to be met with even on the road to Margate.
At Dartford, the marriage-solemni-". ty between Isabella, sister of Henry III. and Frederic, Emperor of Germany, ' was celebrated. King Edward III. founded a nunnery in this town, which became famous for the dignity of its
devotees. At the time of the reformation, King Henry VIII. converted it into a palace for himself and successors. Queen Elizabeth, in her way from Rochester to Greenwich, resided in this palace two days; it was alienated from the crown in the reign of James I. The Knights Templars also had a mansion in this town. The ärst paper-mill was erected here by Sir John Spelman, in the reign of Charles the First.
Near the road from Dartford is a large common, called Dartfordbrink, where Edward III. held a solemn tournament in the year 1331.The strife between the families of York and Lancaster began here, A. D. 1452, when Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, brought together on
this spot an army of ten thousand men.
The country about Greenhithe and Swanscomb is famous for being the rendezvous of the Danish freebooters. The latter place derives its name from a captain of those barbarians, called Swein, who there pitched his camp, which was named Swein's Camp.
Near the twenty-seventh mile-stone is Gad's Hill, supposed to have been the scene of the robbery by Sir John Falstaff and his party, mentioned by Shakespeare in his play. of Henry IV.
Kilburne, who seems to have been a much better topographer than orthographer, if we mayjudge by the multitudinous errata which he has prefixed to his work, furnished the world with a survey of Kent in the reign of
Charles I. Speaking of Rochester castle, he says, “ Julius Cæsar, about 1700 years since, in the time of Cassibelanus, Governour of Britain, commanded the same to be built, according to the Romane order, to awe the Britains, and called it the Castle of Medway, but by time and tempests it fell into decay. Oese, or Uske, king of Kent, about 1150 years since, caused Hroff, one of his chief counsellors, and lord of this place, to build a new castle upon the old foundation, and hereupon it took the name of Hroffes Cester.
66 About 350 years
350 years afterwards, Hasting the Dane besieged and much impaired it; when it lay desolate till the time of King William the Conqueror, who caused it to be new built,
and put 500 souldiers for a guard therein; to which Odo, Earle of Kent, and brother to that King, was a great benefactor.
“ In the year 1088, and in the time of King William Rufus, Odo and other Barons held this castle against him ; it being then accounted. the strongest and most important castle in England: and his subjects being backward to assist him, he proclaimed every one a niding*, (which was then a word of high reproach,) that came not to his assistance; whereupon multitudes came, and the resistants were forced to yeelde the castle to the King; and Gundulphus, a Norman, then Bishop of Rochester, repaired and for
Supposed to have meant a dastardly foolish fellow, or perhaps our idiot or ninny is derived from it.