is a historic small city in Kent
, located at the lowest bridging point of the River Medway approximately 30 miles (50 km) from London
. It is home to a number of important historic buildings, the most prominent of which are Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral. Many of the buildings in the city centre date from the 18th century.
The city was for many years the favorite of Charles Dickens who lived nearby at Gads Hill, a fact that is celebrated in the annual Dickens Festival. The 16th century Eastgate House, one of the city's older surviving houses, has been the home of the Charles Dickens Museum since the 1980s, a decade in which the High Street was redecorated with Victorian-style street lights and hanging flower baskets in order to give it a more historic atmosphere. The city also has revived the annual Sweeps' Festival, this is has ancient roots relating to the Green Man, and is celebrated by a large gathering of morris dance sides.
During World War II the Short's Aircraft Company manufactured flying boats at its factory on the Medway not far from Rochester Castle.
Rochester and its neighbours Chatham and Gillingham form a single large urban area known as the Medway Towns with a population of about 250,000. However Rochester has always governed land on the other ride of the bridge in Strood, and in recent times included the parishes of Cuxton, Halling and Cliffe, and the Hoo peninsular. Watling Street passes through the city,and to the south the Medway is bridged by the M2 motorway and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
All this is evidence of an important and thriving continuous civic life.
- Pre-Roman - Evidence of neolithic settlement nearby at Kit's Coty. Belgic remains were found in 1961 by R.E.Chaplin under the Roman levels. Coin moulds suggest that this was a centre of some importance.
- AD43- Romans found a fortified town by a bridge- they called it Durobrivae (one theory). Alternatively, Aulus Platinus set up a small fort, which was not needed long, as Kent was soon settled. The Roman settlement, provides us with the present High Street and Northgate/Boley Hill.
- AD190+ - Systematic earthen fortifications were established.
- AD225+ - This was replaced by stone, which is still extant. There is evidence that the Romans bridged the river at the same point as the present bridge, and constructed a causeway 14ft wide, over the marshy groungd the Strood Side of the river.
- AD410 - AD604 Tradition states that Rochester was continuously occupied by Celts, Jutes and/or Saxons. The Jutish brothers Hengist and Horsa landed at Ebbsfleet in AD449, and defeated the Britons at Aylesford. Jutish traditions were different from the Saxons
- AD604 Augustine sends Justus to found a cathedral at Rochester, 42 ft in height and 28ft in width, the apse is marked in the present cathedral. This was the second see after Canterbury.
- AD676 Rochester was sacked by Ethelred of Mercia.
- AD842 Sacked by the Danes
- AD877 Alfred of Wessex orders the building of ships to fight the Danes. This could be the start of Medway's military shipbuilding history.
- AD884 Under seige from the Danes again
- AD930 Rochester has a right to mint coins.
Rochester Cathedral may be one of Englands smaller cathedrals but it demonstrates all styles of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Also Rochester has been a player in all important events of English history.
- AD1077 Gundulf is consecrated as Bishop.
- AD1080 Gundulf commences the new cathedral, on the site between the Roman Wall and Watling Street, over the previous cathedral.
- AD1087 Gundulf commences building the Norman Castle. Its curtain wall follow roman walls, and its keep is 113 ft high, 70 ft x 70 ft in breadth.
- AD1130 The Norman cathedral is complete.
- AD1215 Seiged by King John. It fell 30th November.
- AD1227 Completion of Early English Quire at the cathedral.
- AD1264 City attacked by Simon de Montfort.
- AD1343 Central Tower at Cathedral raised.
- AD1461 The first mayor
- AD1470 The Great window at the cathedral is built.
- AD1504-1535 St John Fisher, bishop. 1535 appointed cardinal and executed by [Henry VIII] because he refused to sanction the divorce of Catherine of Aragon
- AD1547-1550 [Nicholas Ridley], bishop. 1554 executed by Queen Mary for demands of faith (Protestant Martyr).
- AD1559 Construction of Upnor Castle to protest the Chatham Dockyard. Upnor is a esturine water castle.
- AD1560 Sir Francis Drake born in Devon,was six and moved to Upnor when his father was made Vicar of Upnor.
- 20 May 1666 Sir Francis Clarke entertained King Charles II on the eve of his [restoration] to the throne. His house Restoration House Crow Lane, became Satis House in Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.
- Dec 1689- King James II spent his last night as King at Abdication House in the High Street.
- 11 June 1667 Dutch Raid on the Medway. In the Second Dutch war the Dutch under de Ruijter broke through the chain at Upnor and sailed to Rochester Bridge capturing and Firing the English fleet. Samuel Pepys who was responsible at the Navy Board describes the last sucessful invasion of British soil in his diaries. Tophies from the raid are in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
- AD1687 Construction of the Guildhall- the ceiling being given by Sir Cloudesley Shovel.
- AD1765 HMS Victory was launched in neighbouring Chatham, it became the flag ship of Admiral Lord Nelson at Trafalgar.
Rochester is part of the Medway Towns
Medway Council Official Site 
Rochester, The evolution of the City. Ronald Marsh. 1974 p&p Medway Borough Council.
City of Rochester upon Medway Visitors Guide 1996.
Rochester Cathedral, Pitkins Guide ISBN 0-85372-669-8
The Dutch Raid, p&p City of Rochester Society 1998.