Rochester 2007

Rochester 2007


Social and fundraising events

Visits and Pilgrimages

ROCHESTER – MAY 7th 2007

What a memorable time we had on our day trip to Rochester, full of contrasts.  Firstly there was the informative walk that Peter (see report below) organised for us around the streets of the city pointing out places and things of interest that we might have otherwise missed.  Thank you Peter!

After the walk we ambled down the High Street, stopping to watch the various groups of Morris Dancers in full swing with their wonderful toe-tapping music, intriguing and often complicated dance routines, dressed in their colourful and flamboyant outfits.

Some of us had a picnic lunch on the green at the side of the Cathedral, others preferred to buy something from the many stalls that lined the road or go to one of the many pubs or restaurants.  All around us was a cacophony of sound, the music from the Morris Dancers and Sweeps, music from the fairground that was set around the castle, laughter and clapping from the many hundreds of people who had flocked to this city for the Festival.

After lunch the East Wickham Singers, many of whom are members of our own church choir entered the Cathedral for their rehearsal.  This is the second year running that they have been privileged and honoured to sing Choral Evensong in this magnificent building.  The rehearsal was not without its problems and we hoped that all would be fine come 3.30 p.m.  Apparently whilst we were practising there was a heavy downpour of rain and many of our friends, relatives and members of the congregation, who had come to support us, had a good soaking.  After our doubts and anxieties, the service went off without a hitch.  A member of our ‘support team’ later informed me that she thought that the singing was beautiful and that we get better each time she hears us.  We all felt that the singing had gone well but it is often difficult to know when singing within the body of a choir.  Our esteemed conductor on this occasion was Nick Kerwin, very ably supported on the organ by Doug Snow.

Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\boattrip_small.jpgFollowing the service we made our way to the pier to catch the boat for a trip on the River Medway.  Fortunately the rain had cleared; the sun was shining although there was a chilly wind.  Some of the party braved the weather by sitting up top; others sought the sheltered area below.  It was very relaxing just sitting there watching the countryside drift by, warming ourselves with hot tea or coffee.

Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\rochester meal_small.jpgUpon landing some of our party made their way home whilst those who remained (approx. 30) made their way to an Italian restaurant for a lovely pre-booked evening meal.  A perfect end to a perfect day!

A big thank you goes to Michael for all the hard work and organisation he carried out to make the trip to Rochester the success that it was.

By Christine  – Member of St Michael’s and All Angels Choir and of the East Wickham Singers

The walk around Rochester - We started from the Huguenot hospital in the High Street. A little way along the street, the Poor Travellers House was just opening and we were invited in for a very interesting talk about the House which had been endowed by Richard Watts in 1579.

By now, the sweeps and Morris dancers were gathering for the Sweeps festival and we left the High street to walk through the 15th century Deanery Gate alongside the Cathedral before returning to the High street where we passed the Old Coin exchange, Guildhall and the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel.

This brought us to the Esplanade which runs alongside the river Medway and, after passing the side of the 14th century Bridge Chapel, we climbed up the steps to the grounds of Rochester Castle which was occupied by a fair. After admiring the Castle Keep which is the tallest in England, we struggled to find the former home of Richard Watts before travelling along the southern perimeter of the Cathedral grounds to reach the Vines. This was where the monks had had their vineyard but now it is an open space with an avenue of plane trees.

We then turned left into Crow Lane where we passed the Restoration House where Charles II stayed on his return to England following his exile during the Commonwealth. This led us back to the High Street and our starting point.

This was a very enjoyable short walk with much to see as I have not included all the sites of interest in the above account. The properties with Dickensian connections all had information plaques on their walls as did many of the other historical buildings that we passed.

(submitted by Peter)

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