Towns seated on the THAMES. 42

Towns seated on the THAMES.

A further Account of this famous River of Thames, as to so much as the Lord Maior of London is Conservator of : With a short Description of the divers Towns, and Places, within the said Limits that are seated on its Banks; on either side, in Kent, Essex, Middlesex and Surrey .

THE Lord Maior then is Conservator of the River of Thames from the Mouth thereof, which is at the Block Houses almost against Gravesend in the East, to a Place called Colme Ditch in Surrey, a little above Stanes Bridge in the West. Where is a Stone erected with the City Arms carved thereon, and is called London Mark Stone. The Distance betwixt which two Places according to the Course of the River is above 60 Miles.

The Extent of the Lord Maior's Jurisdiction of the River Thames.

R. B.

The Banks of this River, which severeth the Counties of Essex and Middlesex from Kent and Surrey, afford such Variety of Objects, as good Towns, fair Buildings, two of the King's Palaces, viz. Greenwich in Kent, and Hampton Court in Middlesex; besides all the South side of the City of London; also the infinite Number of Ships and Vessels of all sorts continually floating upon the River, that a German Poet thus writes concerning it:

Tot Campos, Sylvas, tot Regia Tecta, tot hortos,
Artifici excultas dextra, tot vidimus Arces,
Ut nune Ausonio Thamisis cum Tibride certet.

We saw so many Woods and Princely Bowers,
Sweet Fields, brave Palaces, and stately Towers:
So many Gardens, drest with curious Care,
That Thames with Royal Tyber may compare.

And another Stranger, to the like Purpose.

The pleasant Object of sweet Verdant Bowers,
Enveloped with Flora's fragrant Flowers:
The goodly Prospect of Skie-kissing Hills,
Of fertile Plains, vein'd o're with purling Rills,
More ravish'd not my Senses with Delight,
Than did the Banks of Thames transport my Sight.

Of the most remarkable Objects, I shall give the Reader a brief Account; beginning at Gravesend in Kent, and Tilbury Fort in Essex, where the Lord Maior's Jurisdiction begins.

1. GRAVESEND: Seated on the Southern Bank of the Thames: a Place of great Resort, as being the common Landing Place for Strangers and Seamen in their Passage to London; as likewise the accustomary Place of taking of Shipping, and the ready Road for France. All which doth occasion it to be well inhabited and resorted unto, and sufficiently furnished with Inns, Taverns, and other Houses of Entertainment: And its Markets, which are Wednesdays and Saturdays, are well provided with Provisions. Yet all Things want for no Price. It is a Maior Town. Here is all Conveniency for Travel for its Inhabitants either by Water, or by Land in the Stage Coaches, or Hackney Horses, which are always to be had either to London, or Rochester, or elsewhere.


2. The BLOCK HOUSES, called Tilbury Fort; the one near Gravesend in Kent, and the other opposite to it in Essex, near Tilbury, a small Town; of chief Note, for Queen Elizabeth's coming hither to view her Camp, after her defeating the Spanish Armado on St. James's Day, in the Year 1588. These two Forts are well stored with Ammunition, and Guns, continually mounted and loaded, so that no Ship or Vessel can come in, or go out of the River without their Permission. Of these Forts, that in Essex side is by much the greater; lyeth more open, and better to command Vessels: And here is always kept a Garison of Soldiers for its better Security, with a good Tract of Ground walled in.

Tilbury Fort.

3. GREEN HITH: Seated on the Kentish side; of chief Account for its Chalk Pits; many Hoys and small Vessels being employed to carry the same to London, and other Places; of this Chalk, Lyme being made, so useful in Building.


4. GRAYES: An indifferent Market Town, and of some Account for Calves and Poultrey. A little further Westward is a Place called Stone-Ness, which is at the Entrance into that Part of the River called the Long Reach.


Stone Ness.

Long Reach.

5. DARTFORD CREEK: So called from the Town of Dartford, not far distant. This Town is very good, and well inhabited and furnished with Inns and Publick Houses; as seated on the high Road from London to Rochester, and so to Dover and elsewhere: and by reason of the Creek that falleth into the Thames, is a great Conveniency of transporting Commodities to London. Which makes its Market, (which is on Saturdays) to be considerable, and much resorted unto by Mealmen and Cornchandlers. In the Reign of King Richard II. Anno 1381. Tyler's impious Rebellion began here, occasioned by an Abuse which a Collector of the Poll Money offered to the Daughter of one John Tyler of this Town, who made himself Captain or Head of the Rabble; and before they were dispersed, committed great Spoils: he took the Name of Jack Straw. This Story is sufficiently taken Notice of in our History.

6. About a Mile more Westward from Dartford Creek, is CRAYFORD-NESS.

Crayford Ness.

7. ERITH: A Town of no great Account. Opposite to this Town in Essex, is a Place called COLD HARBOUR.


Cold Harbour.

8. RAYNHAM CREEK: On the side of Essex. Next to it is Dagenham Creek. About a Mile and a half more Westwards, is the Halfway Tree in Essex side; and over against in Kent, is the Halfway House, so called, as seated in the midway betwixt London and Gravesend.

Raynham Creek.

Dagenham Creek.

Halfway Tree, and House.

9. BARKING CREEK: And two Miles further Westward, and on the same side is a lone House, called the Devil's House; for what Reason, I know not.

Barking Creek.

Devil's House.

10. WOOLWICH: Seated on the Kentish side, low, and not over healthful; but by reason of its Dock, and Storehouses for the Navy Royal, is a Place well Inhabited, especially by those that have their Dependance thereon. And in this Dock hath been built the best Ships of War; amongst which the Royal Sovereign, Anno 1637. being in Length by the Keel 127 Foot; in Breadth by the Beam 47 Foot, and in Depth 49 Foot; her Draught of Water 21 Foot: her Burthen in all 2072


The Royal Sovereign, and its Dimensions, &c.