Kent & Sussex Courier Has printed on face Book the roadworks for the summer and there is one that could have held us up while going to and through the hospital but this will hold up my Motor Home friends on their way to and from Dover So hope it all clears before next week.
M2 junctions 4 Gillingham to 6 Faversham, Kent: Joint and bearing replacement
The church had difficulty in placing vicars at Seasalter. It was regarded by the clergy as an unhealthy place and many barely lasted a year in the position.
One man did remain in the job, however, from 1711 to 1764, Thomas Patten.
The fact that the Church of England had not been able to find a vicar prepared to stay for long in this remote part of Kent, should raise questions concerning the motives behind Reverend Patten’s tenure of 53 years.
Thomas was frequently condemned by the Bishop and shunned by his colleagues, but it seems his parishioners were fond of him.
Revd. Patten referred to himself as the Bishop of Seasalter and his tiny church was no less than a “cathedral”.
He was a man with a frosty temperament and a sharp tongue. Some indication of his character can be found in the parish registers. Here, he makes comments about the severe weather as well as giving us a lively commentary on his flock:
‘The summer of the year 1725 was the most dreadful for continued rains, cold and tempests, that ever any history mentions. Not a day from May to October without rain. The fruits of the earth spoiled. And according to their different religions, some grumbled, some swore, and a few prayed.’
His observations on parishioners were hardly flattering. Against one entry in the marriage register of 1734 we read:
‘John Ponney of Canterbury, Huntsman to that ancient Corporation, and Elizabeth Johnson, daughter to the Devil’s vicegerent, commonly called a Bailiff, were tramelled by licence at the Cathedral of Seasalter, June 6, 1734.
Tom Taylor and his betrothed are also the subjects of the Reverend’s sardonic pen:
‘Old Tom Taylor, the great smoaker of Whitstable, and a deaf old woman called Elizabeth Church, were married at Seasalter with two rings. Oct 29, 1734. Si quis ex successoribus nostris hoc forte legat, rideat si velit.’
And in another comment from the records of 1744 we are introduced to:
‘John Honsden, widower, a young gape-mouthed lazy fellow and Hannah Matthews, hot ‘apont, an old toothless hag, both of Feversham were trammelled by licence in the Cathedral at Seasalter June 6th 1744. A Caspian bowl of well-acidulated Glimigrim.’
On his death, Archbishop Thomas Secker, a moderate and modest man by all accounts said:
‘Thomas Patten – described as “half mad, impudent, poor” and who died on 9 October, 1764, aged 80 – had been vicar of Seasalter since 1711 and perpetual curate of Whitstable.’
Reverend Patten was certainly eccentric. He was also brazen. He wore ragged and dirty clothes to embarrass his Bishop into increasing his stipend and lived quite openly with his mistress. But whatever we make of his behaviour, the parishioners appear to have found some redeeming features in their minister. Nor were the people beyond the ability to manipulate him when the occasion demanded it. The dear reverend often ended his sermon early if a parishioner made an offer to imbibe him at the local Blue Anchor.
Thomas Patten was put in place at the “Cathedral of Seasalter” to be the eyes and ears along that part of the coastline, the surrounding marshes and forestland.
He took his duties seriously.
Revd. Patten was not above employing stern measures against smugglers who ignored his presence – especially when they refused to pay a tithe for landing their contraband on his coastline. On one occasion in early 1714, a group of 130 men landed a cargo and Patten reported them to the local customs authorities in a letter. This had two effects:
First, it made smuggling along that part of the coast more hazardous and dangerous for gangs. The authorities’ attention had been drawn to the location. (The Seasalter Company carried on untroubled because they had family members in the local preventive services.)
Second, it reinforced the disguise of this fiery-tongued vicar in the community. Who, after all, would suspect a half-mad man of the cloth to be ministering to an extraordinarily well-organised gang of smugglers?
Rays Blog for today
A walk round the garden today reminded me I have more flowers than I realized. Just take a closer look. Although we woke to wet heavy rain. Its turned into a bright sunny day. I walked round the garden to see a lot of Mavis handy work. I don’t know a weed from a rose. Having fixed our dripping tap yesterday it was a pleasure to not wake up in the night to the drip drip drip and a bowl full of water. [ 54 more words. ]