St Mary's Island History Group

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St Mary's Island is a wealth of stories -- of people, heritage, new life and hope.


Welcome to our web site  that is growing as our Group grows.


We have already had some very successful meetings and set up some contact groups.


We have identified research that we want to do on this Island as well as present its many layers of history.



Take time to read our latest Newsletter and we will then look forward to meeting you soon.



Our Twenty Years and more booklets

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There is a further booklet in the St Mary’s Island History Group series where we have drawn together history on the Dutch Raid on the River Medway of 1667. This is a compilation of information with some illustrations describing some of the history leading up to the raid and various accounts of how the Dutch came around the coast and up the Medway over several days. See more about Medway in Flames below.

We also have our booklet on the Medway Hulks -- the de-masted hulks of warships fitted out to take hundreds of convicts and prisoners of war. They floated in the River Medway and off Sheerness with each having a crew of guardians and the convicts coming ashore to work.

We already have sold over a hundred copies of the booklet produced alongside the 20 Years of St Mary’s Island Exhibition.

To get your booklet copies, priced £1, telephone Brian Portway on 01634 891708 or send us a contact message through our web site.  Or see us at the meeting. We meet at St Mary's Island Community Centre, Islandf Way West,  Chatham  ME$ 3EP



Medway Raid latest news



From 8 to 17 June there are to be events associated with the 350th commemoration of the Dutch Raid on the River Medway. They culminate in a whole day of activity on Saturday, 17 June, with fireworks, lights and projection centred on Upnor Castle. So our Island is going to be quite a grandstand view.

View these two videos on the web via Youtube. Copy the addresses and paste into your browser.

There appear also to be wishes to have ships in Basin 2 and we await news with interest.  What we do know is that there are expected to be up to 200 yachts from Holland coming to the Medway for the events! A living descendant of Admiral de Ruyter has a web site devoted to the events which forecasts ships coming to visit.

Especially after ‘Samuel Squeak’ has been across there – he is the mascot for the events especially aimed at getting young people interested in their local history. Samuel was apparently there on the day(s) of the raid observing from where the ship ‘rats?’ usually would and will be telling the tales.

There is to be a special exhibition at the Historic Dockyard and the Guildhall Museum plus more displays at Upnor Castle itself.

The Dickens Festival  will be 9 to 11 June so it can be an extra start to the proceedings although two centuries apart.

Concerts, sports festivals, business events, family activities and a commemoration service are all on the timetable.

Saturday, 17 June, will activities all along from the dockyard to the Outlet Centre and basins from around 2.00pm. Sail pasts and river activities will begin about 5.00pm and the ‘Medway in Flames’ from 9.30pm.  


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Our next meeting is on Monday, 15 May, 2017, which is our Annual General Meeting. That is four years now gone very fast. . . . .

Our speaker is Robert Poole on 'Defending The Thames' which we are told will also include the Dutch raid on the Medway in 1667.  7.30pm  Visitors welcome £2

AGM time