New Hythe:  Abbey Meads

Denis Anstey

Graphic showing
              location of Abbey Meads

The graphic above is based on an image from the British Library of the 1797 1st edition ordnance survey map. ┬ęThe British Library, c07805-06 MAPS OSD 120.

It illustrates the meanders and oxbow of the Medway between Aylesford and Snodland at a time before canals were dug in order to straighten the river to improve navigation.

The focus of attention is Abbey Meads.  This consisted of a farmstead enclosure and a larger enclosure for the land.  The whole site was within the marshland of the river and partially set in the meander at Burham Parsonage.

Nearby was the village of New Hythe (New Harbour).  In fact not so new for an early reference c1220 identifies the village.  The feoffment records the Abbess of Malling to Rochester Priory one acre of meadow at Newhythe there near the river Medway.

At the dissolution of Malling Abbey in 1548 the site passed into private ownership and survived as a farm until the 1970s when it was lost to mineral extraction.  In the l9th century the meander via Burham Parsonage was lost when a canal was dug in order to straighten that part of the river.

Research continues to try and establish the age of the site and when it became part of Malling Abbey.

Was this site, an enclosure set in marshland, an early religious house predating the monastery?