Faversham Hundred Records

Faversham Hundred Records - Volume 4 (ISBN 978-0-9530998-2-5)


Through Eleven Centuries

By Patricia Hyde and Duncan Harrington

The book approx. 170 mm x 250 mm in size is sewn and hard backed. It has ten introductory pages and 281 pages of text with 24 photographs, maps and illustrations. The coloured dust jacket is based on a surviving 1608 map of the oyster fishery. (ISBN 0-9530998-2-2) Only 425 numbered and signed copies have been printed and are available at £28.50 plus postage and packing of £4.75 within the U.K
This volume is the result of years of research and provides for the first time a detailed history of oyster fishing through the vicissitudes of one company from the medieval period to the present day. The many disputes the company had with neighbouring fisheries, as well as information from other authorities, show us not only the development of the industry in Faversham, but also offer us a window into the problems that beset many other oyster grounds during the period. Over-fishing, pollution and the rigid, antiquated structure of the fishery led eventually to a long, slow decline at Faversham.
The first controlled fishery is heard of in the area of Seasalter, in a charter granted by Offa, king of Mercia, in 785 where a fish weir is mentioned. At the Conquest Faversham, Whitstable and Milton were all fisheries that were then royal manors, perhaps controlled by the crown, perhaps not. Our researches have shown that there is no doubt that King Stephen, in founding the abbey at Faversham in 1147 by granting them the manor and hundred of Faversham, founded the oyster fishery company. It may have been based on arrangements made when Faversham had been a royal manor, but we have no proof one way or the other.
Like so many businesses the records of The Company and Fraternity of Freefishermen and Dredgermen of Faversham and the eventual formation of the Faversham Oyster Fishery Company Ltd. in 1930 have left no complete archive. Despite this, through diligent research in many archives, we have been able to build up a comprehensive account. Twenty-five appendices, arranged in chronological order, provide transcripts of some of the more important documents and include lists of members taken from a variety of records. Comprehensive name and place indexes enable individuals to be easily located in these records.
Based on original documentation we hope that we have made clear what happened to what may well be the oldest controlled oyster fishery company.

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