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"HIGHAM, a parish in the hundred of Shamwell, lathe of Aylesford, county Kent, 4 miles N.W. of Rochester, and 5 E. of Gravesend. It is a station on the North Kent railway. The parish, which is bounded on the N. by the Thames, is mentioned in Domesday Book as Heckham. It has the remains of a Benedictine nunnery, or abbey, founded in 1151 by King Stephen, and subsequently given to St. John's College, Cambridge. There is a barrow near the railway station, and an ancient causeway across the marshes to the Thames. Here are numerous market gardens and orchards, and about 20 acres of hop-grounds. Gad's Hill, mentioned by Shakspeare in his play of "Henry IV.," is in this parish. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester, value £518, in the patronage of St. John's College, Cambridge. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient flint structure, with a tower containing two bells. A few years back it was thoroughly restored. In the interior are an old font, some singular tiles, and the tomb of the prioress, Joan, bearing date 1328. A new church has recently been erected. The charities produce about £4 per annum. Here is a National school for both sexes."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]

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Historical Geography

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