Queenborough

Discover Queenborough

Sleepy Queenborough is built around a small harbour which evolved from a Saxon settlement. However, Edward III had the town renamed after his Queen, Philippa of Hainault. Queenborough Castle was built and completed in 1368 to guard the passage of ships along the Swale and it is possible that Edward III used the castle as a refuge from the Black Death. Sadly nothing remains except perhaps its spirit, as in 1650 the castle was demolished on parliamentary direction.  A plaque and well commemorates the spot. During this period, Queenborough was an important town for the export of wool, a significant crown revenue, but smuggling or avoiding the payment of taxes for import or export became widespread.

In 1667, the Dutch captured Queenborough. The occupation lasted only a few days and although the Dutch caused widespread panic, they were unable to maintain their offensive. Ironically, 300 years later in 1967 the town of Queenborough was officially handed back to England by the Dutch!

During the 17th century the town’s population was chiefly employed in the local oyster fishery and thereafter many generations found survival difficult when the tyrannical Mayor Greet seized control of the town’s oyster beds.

Lord Nelson learned much of his seafaring skills in these waters and legend has it he shared a house near the small harbour with his mistress, Lady Hamilton. Most of the buildings from this period are still standing but the church is the sole surviving feature in the town from medieval times. Today, the harbour offers an all-tide landing and moorings in the Swale that is ideally situated for London, the south and east coasts and the continent.

Grab a moment at one of the pubs or sample a cooked breakfast or afternoon tea and cake at Castle Connections, a Community Art Centre and Café built on site of the old Queenborough Castle.

Did You Know?

In 1571 Queen Elizabeth I granted Queenborough the right to return two members to Parliament, although there were only 23 houses in the town! This situation continued until the Parliamentry Reform Act of 1832, when the right to return two MPs was removed from what were known as “rotten boroughs”