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Strood is a town in the unitary authority of Medway in South East England. It is part of the ceremonial county of Kent. It lies on the north west bank of the River Medway at its lowest bridging point, and is part of the Rochester post town.

Strood was part of Frindsbury until 1193, but now Frindsbury is considered part of Strood. Strood’s history has been dominated by the river, the bridges and the road and rail links they carried. It is now a mainly residential suburb of Rochester, and a commuter town for London.

Strood was part of Frindsbury until 1193. It was named “Strodes” in the Textus Roffensis, though most early records use the spelling Stroud. The name Strõd or Strõþ refers to a marshy land overgrown with brushwood.

The Romans built a stone bridge and laid a road on a causeway across the marshy ground. The foundations were about 8 ft below the level of the 1856 road. The road went up Strood Hill, and was called Watling Street, as it still is today. This is the A2 road . There is further evidence of a causewayed road leading along the bank towards the Frindsbury Peninsula leading to a villa, was found in 1819. The present road and field pattern suggest that there was a substantial Roman agricultural settlement centred near Frindsbury.

In 764 AD Offa King of Mercia and Sigered King of Kent granted to Eardulph lands in Easlingham (Frindsbury). In 840, 994, and 998 AD Strood was pillaged by the Danes.In 960 AD a wooden bridge was built across the Medway. A small wooden church was erected at Strood in 1122, as a chapel of ease in the parish of Frindsbury. Land was granted in 1160 to the Knights Templar by King Henry II. The Manor House was used as a Lodging House.

In 1193, Strood became a parish. It was run by the monks of Newark Hospital, and had its own burial grounds. Corruption in the finances of the Newark Hospital set in and worsened until reforms were put in place formally in 1330 by the Bishop of Rochester Hamo de Hethe.In 1291 there was an affray at Newark Hospital between the Monks of Strood and the locals from Frindsbury.

In 1264 Simon de Montfort laid siege to Rochester Castle from the Strood Side. In the action the wooden bridge was destroyed by fire. In 1293 The Strood Quay and Strood Wharf was built by Bishop de Glanville. Rents went to Newark Hospital, ships used this wharf as the one at Rochester was in disrepair. The bridge continued to be out of use, so ferries had to be used. In 1309, a harsh winter, the bridge was damaged by ice. In 1387 a stone bridge was built by John de Cobham and Robert Knolles. In 1460 Edward IV appointed a mayor of Rochester with jurisdiction over part of Strood.

Strood was owned by the Rochester monastery from the 18th year of Edward III’s reign until the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, after which time as part of the Hundred of Sharnel(Shamwell) which included Cobham, it was passed to George Brooke, Lord Cobham. His grandson Henry Brooke lost his estates to James I in 1603 through a false charge of treason, although he escaped with his life.The Temple Manor thereafter was granted to Sir Robert Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury (son of William, Lord Burleigh), who later became Lord Treasurer of England under Queen Elizabeth, and married Elizabeth, sister of Henry, Lord Cobham.

1554 Thomas Wyatt of Allington, heard that the queen intended to marry a Catholic and gathered an army with intention of marching to London. He took Rochester Castle and The Bridge. There was to have been a battle at Strood, but the Queens men deserted. The rebellion fizzled out and Wyatt was executed along with captain of the deserters.

In 1769, under authority of the 1768 Paving Act, a tollgate was erected at The Angel Inn on North Street in Strood, to pay for improvements to the parish. Near the church, some time after the Newark hospital had been replaced, a workhouse was built, funded by the Watts Charity in 1721.Hasted, in his study of Kent (1778–99), said Strood’s inhabitants were chiefly seafaring or fishermen, and engaged in dredging oysters.

An annual fair was instituted in 1206 during the seventh year of King John’s reign to the priory of Rochester, to be held on 26 August, which continued well into the 18th Century, according to Hasted, the Kent historian. It was traditionally held over three days, and associated with Christian celebration of the Assumption (15 August). The Strood Fair was held regularly into the 1970s. The land used for the Strood Fair was sandwiched between Grange Road and Station Road, adjacent to Strood railway station. It was for many years part of a dairy farm, though by the 1970s the farm building had been turned into a motor repair business. The fair ground was passed on to the people who ran the Strood Fair. It was then used by them to stay through the winter months. Gradually the number or fairs held on the land dwindled.

The land is still occupied as winter quarters by the Showman’s Guild with its running costs supported by an annual fair on the site. In June 2007, the motor repair building was demolished to be replaced by flats. Today’s market is held on a Tuesday and Saturday, and a boot fair is held on a Sunday.

Gilbert de Glanvill, Bishop of Rochester, in 1190, early during the reign of Richard I founded a hospital in Strood, east of the church,[3] which was afterwards called the Newark or Stroud Hospital, the Yoke or North Yoke being a small manor in Strood. Newark Hospital was important in raising the profile of Strood, however there was constant concern about it financial management, and the rivalry between it and the Rochester Priory.

The location of the former Newark Hospital is now mainly a car park behind Strood High Street. The 19th century railway embankment carrying the Chatham Main Line cuts across the back of the old hospital site. Strood Market is held on part of this land, but is relocating to make way for a food store. An archaeological dig of the site was done in the 1970s.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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