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Medway's literary legacy

Jack Cogger
3rd March 2022

Medway is home to some of the most iconic and important pieces of literature and writing in our country’s history. From the cobbled streets of Rochester acting as an inspiration for many of Dickens' most famous novels to the historic manuscripts contained in the Textus Roffensis which helped shape early English law. To celebrate World Book Day, we want to explore a few of these treasures a little further.

The famous Textus Roffensis

It was written and is now housed in the Cathedral

Textus Roffensis
Those unfamiliar with the local history might not know about this old medieval text which is located at the very heart of Medway at Rochester Cathedral. The Textus Roffensis (otherwise known as the Rochester Book) is a combination of two books with the oldest dating all the way back to the year 600! Amazingly this book contains the first known piece of English law pre-dating even the famous Magna Carta of 1215. You can see this renowned book in Rochester Cathedral and learn more about its importance, not just to Kent but the whole of England.

Learn more about this historic book here

Charles Dickens took inspiration from Medway

Dickens Novels
We couldn’t do a piece on famous books and authors without mentioning the legendary author and novelist that is Charles Dickens. Dickens is synonymous with Rochester and wider Medway; he drew inspiration from all over the area and became one of the most renowned writers of the English language. While many know of Dickens and his extensive range of novels, many of the inspirations that directly influenced his works often go unnoticed.


Check out this blog where we uncover Dickens' inspirations and where you can visit them today.

The iconic Baggins Book Bazaar

Thousands of books await within

Baggins Book Bazaar

Baggins Book Bazaar has been a staple on Rochester’s Highstreet for decades now. Named after the famous hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from famed author J.R.R Tolkien, which is now both a defining book series in the fantasy genre and one of the most popular film franchises of all time. If you find yourself wanting a good book to read then Baggins has plenty of options, considering it is the largest second-hand book shop in the country it has just about a book for everyone. They even have a book from the 1700s among their collection.

The popular show Call the Midwife was based off of a memoir

The show now has a tour at the Dockyard

Call the Midwife

Many books have been transported from page to screen for us all to enjoy. As just mentioned, film and television franchises can be adapted from famous literature, just like what happened to Tolkien’s books. However, did you know that the famous television programme Call the Midwife was originally a book by author Jennifer Worth? Not only that but the classic show is filmed right here in Medway. You can visit the set of where this period drama is filmed at the Historic Dockyard and see just how stories can transcend beyond the written word to the great productions that we become immersed within.

Visit the Dockyard set today.

These are just a few examples of famous books and locations which have either inspired authors or been inspired by them. Why not visit some of these locations and become inspired yourself? You never know there could be an author in you too.

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