The wonderful characters in Quiz Trails ...
When making the Quiz Trails we thoroughly enjoy researching and learning so much more about wonderful characters …
- Folkestone with Lord Rokeby who gave coins to paupers
- Sevenoaks with HG Wells who’s two wives couldn’t cope with the ‘strength of his desires’!
- Canterbury with John Nichols Thom, who gave himself the name of Sir William Percy Honeywood Courtenay, Knight of Malta.
One of our favourite eccentrics was The Reverend Thomas Patten – in the Whitstable Quiz Trail. We discovered a man who we would love to have witnessed – who must have been the talk of the town for miles around.
In the late 1600s and early 1700s the church found it difficult to find vicars for Seasalter that would last more than a year. They kept coming and they kept leaving. That was the case until 1711 ... when along came Reverend Thomas Patten who became ‘The Vicar of Seasalter’ and the ‘Perpetual Curate of Whitstable’ ... he stayed for fifty three years.
Patten, an eccentric, openly lived with his mistress, didn’t pay his debts, wore dirty clothes and drove to church in a butcher’s cart. During sermons he would talk and talk and talk ... until one of the parishioners held up a lemon - which was a sign that the vicar’s drinks were on them - whereupon the sermon would be brought to a very prompt end and they would head off to the pub over the road.
He made outrageous entries in the parish registers - such as ...
“1744 John Halston, widower, a young gate-mouthed lazy fellow and Hannah Matthews, an old toothless wriggling hag married by license at the Cathedral of Seasalter”.
He called himself the ‘Bishop of Whitstable’ and ‘The Bishop of Seasalter’ which enraged the Archbishop of Canterbury, however the church were unable to curb his eccentricities. He would refer to his small church as ‘the cathedral’.
Patten took advantage of the smuggling trade going on under his nose by The Seasalter Company. He worked out a way of taking a cut, by informing the smugglers when the authorities were about. The vicarage was kept well stocked with wine, brandy and tobacco.
Reverend Thomas Patten lived to the age of 80 (quite an age for back then!), having served as vicar for 53 years and died in 1764.
In all of our Quiz Trails we make sure the local characters are included! The Whitstable Quiz Trail is available – 20 pages – a fun trail and packed full of local history!