Lying at the mouth of the
River Medway, Rochester is a mixture of
fascination and history. Evidence of Roman
domination comes in the shape of Watling Street
which crosses the river at this point.
The city’s defences were later strengthened by the Saxons while the Normans felt it was so important they built Rochester Castle (only the keep remains today). The original cathedral was founded by Ethelbert, King of Kent, in 604 and consecrated by St Augustine. The present, impressive building was rebuilt by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, in the 11th century.
In later life writer Charles Dickens moved into a house at Gad’s Hill. Devotees of his work should head for the city’s Charles Dickens centre to learn more. The city features in his last novel, ‘Mystery of Edwin Drood’, and was Pip’s home in ‘Great Expectations’. Henry VIII founded the public school King’s School and the location of Britain’s first borstal is south west of the town.