In the Domesday Book (completed in 1086), Faversham was one of only 42 places in England where a market was recorded, according to Sidney and Beatrice Webb in The Manor and the Borough (1908).
A Charter of Incorporation by Henry VIII in 1546 granted, amongst other items, the privilege of a market three times a week and on half-holidays, and a fair in February and August. This was reaffirmed by a Charter of Re-Incorporation by James II in 1685.
Faversham was also granted certain rights by the monarchy, one of which states that a new market town could not be established within the distance it took to drive a herd of sheep to market in one day, probably in the region of 6 miles. This distance is still law in England today.
You’ll be part of an age-old ritual, for Faversham’s Market is the oldest in Kent, going back at least 900 years. It won’t surprise you that the setting’s well-nigh perfect, with a backdrop of picturesque old Tudor and Georgian buildings, all beautifully kept – bring a camera, if you can. The Market Place is an excellent place to sit and enjoy a drink, be it pint or coffee. Historic doors open-up to reveal a wealth of original features, with pubs and cafe’s offering visitors a warm and friendly welcome.
Conjure up famous figures from the past as you browse and buy. The scene you see has changed so little it would still be recognised by Shakespeare, who acted here, and Queen Elizabeth I, who visited the town in 1572. Royal visits never come cheap: the Council presented her with a silver cup costing £27.10 (the equivalent today of over £4,000). Putting her and her maids up for a couple of nights cost another £7,000. Others who have visited Faversham include James II, and John Wesley who preached here in 1738.
Faversham had a cattle market between 1864 and 1955, which operated opposite the Recreation Ground. This is why the Market Inn is sited next to the Recreation Ground and not in the Market Place. The site is now Bob Amor Close, named after Bob Amor, Mayor of Faversham from 1959 to 1961. The small wall at the entrance to the cattle market is thought by some to be a defence wall or gun position but was more likely to be the rear wall of a loading stand for milk churns. The three blind holes in the wall suggest they are possibly joist holes to support the loading platform.