Saturday, 29 May 2010

Rochester Cathedral, England

Another postcard from England! This one is from Carly who visited Rochester recently.

This card shows the Cathedral and Deanery in Rochester. Rochester is a town and former city in Kent, England, about 48 kilometres from London. The town is known for its cathedral and castle, and for an epic siege in 1215. It has a population of 27,000 (in 2001).

The Romano-British name for Rochester was Durobrivae. This is commonly translated as 'stronghold by the bridge' or 'stronghold by the bridges'. This could have been a Belgic Settlement or oppidum, but there was no bridge in AD 43. It was also known as Durobrovum and Durobrivis, which could be a Latinisation of the British word 'Dourbruf' meaning swiftstream. It is recorded as Durobrivis c.730 and Dorobrevis in 844.

As the name for the city of Rochester contains the Latin word 'castra', which is present in the names of many cities that were once Roman camps, it is assumed that Rochester was a fortified Roman town, but no evidence has been found of such fort. The Roman street pattern suggest that it was a line of shops and houses built alongside a road, and systematic fortification did not take place until after AD 175.

Like many of the mediaeval towns of England Rochester had municipal Freemen whose civic duties were abolished by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. However, the working guild of Free Fishers and Dredgers continued and still have rights, duties and responsibilities on the Medway, between Sheerness and Hawkwood Stone. This authority is effected through their attendance at the Admiralty Court as the jury of Freemen responsible for the conservancy of the river through current legislation. The freedom is passed through 'servitude' ie apprenticeship to a working freeman. The annual ceremonial beating of the bounds on the river takes place after the Court, usually on the first Saturday of July.

It took me a while to find any info about the stamp, but it would seem to be from a set of 5 stamps issued in 2002, with the theme "occasions". This one depicts "moving home". I really, really like this stamp, and it's always a treat to see older stamps like this as they are so difficult to find (heck, even stamps from last year can be difficult to find in England! :p).

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