Rochester (Kent)

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Coordinates: 51 ° 23 '  N , 0 ° 30'  E

Map: United Kingdom
United Kingdom
View of the Medway from the Norman Keep

Rochester [ ˈɹɒtʃɪstə ] is a town and former city in the English county of Kent with about 24,000 inhabitants. This small but old town lies at the last ford of the River Medway before its mouth, about 50 kilometers from London . In addition to many older buildings, Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral stand out. Many of the downtown buildings date from the 18th century.

Rochester and the neighboring towns of Chatham and Gillingham are as "Medway Towns" together to the administrative unit Medway . The population is around 250,000. On the other side of the river is the Strood district.



There is multiple evidence of Neolithic settlement near Kit's Coty House , a ruined long barrow. The actual city foundation goes back to the Romans. In 43 AD they founded a fortified city with a bridge over the Medway, their name possibly being Durobrivae . It is also claimed that Aulus Plautius built a small fort here that only existed until the Kent area was secured. After 190 the settlement was secured by earth walls, which were replaced by stone fortifications after 225. Remnants of it are still preserved.

middle Ages

Since the Anglo-Saxon conquest in the middle of the 5th century, Rochester has been inhabited by Romano-British, Jutes and Saxons . In 604 Augustine of Canterbury sent Justus to build a cathedral near Rochester. With a height of 12 meters and about 9 meters wide, the apse can still be seen in today's cathedral. Rochester became the second bishopric on the British Isles after Canterbury . In 676 Rochester was sacked and sacked by Æthelred of Mercia . During the Viking Age , the city was sacked by the Danes in 842 and 884. In 877, Alfred von Wessex ordered ships to be built to fight the Danes. This ushered in the era of shipbuilding in the cities on the Medway. Rochester acquired the coin rack in 930 . The appearance of the city was significantly influenced by Bishop Gundulf from 1077 onwards . Three years after taking office, Gundulf began building the new Rochester Cathedral between the Roman Wall and Watling Street , on what was left of the former cathedral. The cathedral was completed in 1130. In 1087 Gundulf began building the fortification. In 1215 the city was conquered by John without Land and attacked by Simon V. de Montfort in 1264 . In 1461 the first mayor was elected.

Modern times

On June 11, 1667, the Dutch set fire to the Medway. In the second Dutch war, the Dutch broke through the chain at Upnor in the attack in the Medway under de Ruijter and reached the bridge at Rochester and set the English fleet on fire. Samuel Pepys , who was in charge of the navy in command of the naval port, describes the last successful invasion of mainland Britain in his diaries. Treasures from the looting can still be seen today in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam . In 1687 the guild hall was built.

Rochester had been a city since 1211 . When it came to the Borough of Medway in 1974 , this status was officially transferred to the new administrative unit. With its dissolution on the occasion of the establishment of the Unitary authority of Medway in 1998, however, the city status was lost because no precautions had been taken to preserve it, and the Unitary authority can no longer call itself the City of Medway.


Rochester Castle. Engraving by GF Sargent c. 1836.
Rochester Castle 2011
  • The cathedral of Rochester was built from 1080 to 1130. The shrine of St. William was one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in England until the Reformation. In 1343 the central tower of the cathedral was built.
  • The Norman castle complex Rochester Castle , built from 1087, rises on a hill above the city and the Medway. Its walls partly follow the Roman wall. The mighty keep is about 38 meters high and measures 23.5 × 23.5 meters.
  • On May 20, 1660, Sir Francis Clarke entertained King Charles II on the evening of his renewed accession to the throne. His house, called the Restoration House Crow Lane, became the Satis House in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations .
  • In December 1689, King James II spent his last night as king at Abdication House on High Street.
  • The 16th century Eastgate House, one of the oldest houses in the city, housed the Charles Dickens Museum from the 1980s, which closed in 2004. During this time, the High Street was also redesigned in Victorian style.


Web links

Commons : Rochester (Kent)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. London Gazette . No. 46243, HMSO, London, March 21, 1974, p. 3651 ( PDF , English).
  2. ^ Error costs Rochester city status . In: BBC News , May 16, 2002. 
  3. ^ ASA Adjudication on Medway Council . March 16, 2011.