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     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 5  1863  page 306

By JOHN BRENT, JUN., F.S.A.  continued

past Sarr, and passed out east of Reculver into the northern sea.1 Twine especially commends the haven as "statio firmissima navibus et gratissima nautis;"" and adds, that credible persons yet living in his time "have often seen, not only small boats, but vessels of good burden pass to and fro upon this Wantsume;" 2 which seems, indeed, as long as it was a practicable passage, to have been the invariable route for vessels between London and the South, instead of the longer and less sheltered passage by the North Foreland.
   "Sarre," as Leland tells us, "was the common ferry when Thanet was full iled." The present marshes between Chislet and Upstreet on one side, and between Sarr and St. Nicholas ad Vadum on the other, were a part of the Wantsume fast silting up even in Saxon times, and leaving numerous islets and shallows capable of being waded over at low tide. Bede relates that the estuary at Sarr was about 

three furlongs wide; and an ancient manuscript map, which belonged to the Abbey of St. Augustine, and is engraved in Lewis’s Thanet, gives a quaint drawing of a primitive boat, in which a man is represented ferrying a monk over the stream; while another man, staff in hand, wades up to his knees —the boat not being able to come close to the shore on account of the shallowness of the water—and carries another monk to it upon his shoulders. Edbert, by the charter above-mentioned, gave the tolls of the two ferry-boats at Sarr, till then payable to himself, to the Abbey at Minster, and these tolls, we learn, were still collected in the time of Edward III. In the reign of Henry VII. the waters had so much subsided that the ferry fell into disuse, the inhabitants obtaining an Act of Parliament for building a bridge, and probably then constructing
1. See Lewis’s ‘History of Thanet,’ p. 7, etc., referring to the ~ Chronicle.
2. ‘De rebus Albionicis Comment.’ lib. i. 27, quoted by Lewis. 1. c.

Page 306  (This page prepared for the Website by Christine Pantrey)             

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