1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sheppey

SHEPPEY, an island off the Kentish coast of England, included in the north-eastern parliamentary division of Kent. It is the largest of the several low islands which are separated from the mainland by the ramifying creeks about the mouth of the river Medway. The strait isolating Sheppey is called the Swale; it is about 3 m. broad at its eastern end, but narrows to some 300 yds. at the west, where it is crossed on a bridge by at branch of the South-Eastern & Chatham railway, and by a road. There was formerly a ferry here, as there are at two other points. Sheppey is low-lying, with one small elevation slightly exceeding 200 ft. near the north coast, which presents slight cliffs towards the shallow sea. These are frequently encroached upon by the sea, while the flat shore on the south is protected by embankments. Sheppey is 101/2 m. in extreme length from E. to W., while the greatest bread this about 5 m. On the south, narrow branches of the Swale, formerly wider, divide the isles of Harty and Elmley from the main island, of which, however, they now practically form part. Sheppey is for the most part treeless but very fertile. bearing much grain and fruit; its name, meaning the “island of sheep,” is still appropriate, as great flocks are bred. On the west are the port of Queenborough and the naval station of Sheerness. From here the Sheppey light railway runs east through the island, serving Minster and Leysdown, which are in some favour as seaside resorts. The London clay, of which the island is composed, abounds in fossils.