Men of Kent and Kentishmen/Henry VIII, King of England



May be claimed as a Kentishman, seeing that he was born at Greenwich in 1491, and baptized at the Parish Church, by Fox, the Bishop of Exeter. At Greenwich also he married Catherine of Aragon, and Anne of Cleves, and many other events of his life are associated with the county. At Hever Castle, near Tunbridge, it was that he first met, and subsequently visited, Anne Boleyn during the troubled days of his courtship. It was at Dover that in 1520, he embarked in his "grete shippe" the Harry Grace-de-Dieu, for the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and where, subsequently, he met Charles V., of Germany, to ride with him in state to Canterbury. At Dover, too, he commenced the famous pier which he did not live to finish, but which extended into the sea 20 rods farther than the present pier-heads. The Castles of Deal, Sandown and Walmer may also be considered as monuments of this King, being originally of the series of "platforms and block-houses," built along the coast by him in 1539, when it seemed probable that England would have to stand single-handed against a combination of the great Continental Powers. At the Crown Inn at Rochester, before meeting her in public at Blackheath to conduct her to Greenwich, Henry obtained a private inspection of Anne of Cleves, and bestowed upon her the well-known epithet, (still remembered, less as a stigma on the queen than an indication of the coarseness of his own nature); at many places in the County the King stopped in his progresses. At Charing, which subsequently was resigned to him, he visited Cranmer, and at Hardres Court (now a farm house) his hunting knife was long shown, as a memento of his stay there two days, on his return to France.