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This splendid building with its oak frame and beams is a medieval Hall House dating from about 1330. The Hall was the main bar area and part of the jettied ends was in the Club Room. Though not visible from the ground floor, it has arched tie-beams and two large curved brackets to the posts forming a pointed arch, with a crown post, collar purlin and brackets at either end. The inglenook fireplaces would have been put in much later, in the 1600s, and would have given the residents a vastly improved lifestyle – free of smoke and with better cooking.

Abbey Street itself was laid out as an impressive roadway to the Royal Abbey founded in 1147 by King Stephen and his wife Queen Matilda. No doubt some rich merchant seized the chance to create a house here with easy access to the Creek and then by water to London and the continent. The great trade at the time was the export of wool, along with import and export of fish, oysters, timber and grain. Later, Favershams economy depended on ‘the four Bs’ – Bricks, Barges, Bangs (explosives) and Beer, all of which are still manufactured in the town today.

 

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Abbey Street lies on a broad gravelly ridge leading north eastwards towards the sea. A Celtic of Belgic farmstead, a Roman Villa, the parish church of St Mary of Charity and of course the Abbey all lie within a few hundred yards of the Phoenix Tavern. Of the Abbey very little now remains except part of the Gatehouse and the Guest Hall, but the wealth of fine oak houses here are still a joy to visitors and local residents alike.

Some ancient houses along this ridge had wells of no great depth with fresh sweet water – hence two famous breweries almost next door in Court Street: Shepherd Neame and until a few years ago the old Rigden’s Brewery, latterly Fremlins and then Whitbread. Whitbread’s records show this building as a tavern in the early 18th century, and it is mentioned as a Public House called The Phoenix in a deed of sale in 1877. It is likely that in the early days the beer was brewed on the premises – probably by the lady of the house – as Faversham was famous in the 1700s for its brewesters (female brewers).

The name Phoenix indicates a fabulous bird from Oriental myth, which lived 500 years, then having burned itself, rose alive from the ashes. Maybe a fire in part of the building inspired this exotic and unusual name but either way we are now in full flight!

 



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The tradition of a true British pub, first class drinking and dining, good service and a warm welcome.

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The Phoenix Tavern
Abbey Street
Faversham
Kent
ME13 7BH

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