The capital of Kent, on the Medway, and in a tract of land of great fertility, among orchards, hop grounds, and woodlands.
Erith presents its picturesque church and wooded uplands to the right, and is a tempting village to loiter in when opportunity serves. A fine pier, at which the London Steamboats frequently call, has been constructed for the accommodation of those who embark or disembark here, and an “Arboretum” with extensive pleasure grounds, has been recently opened to attract visitors. Erith Church is a charming study for either artist or antiquary. The ivy which clings about the structure, and the masses of foliage that rise beyond, give it a very striking aspect. The structure consists of a nave and chancel, with a low tower and spire, and evidently has a venerable length of years, for besides the date of some of its monuments going back as far as the year 1420, it has been identified as the spot where King John and the Barons drew up their treaty of peace. In the south chapel is an alabaster tomb, much mutilated, to the memory of Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, and her daughter Anne, Countess of Pembroke, who both died in the reign of Elizabeth. Adjacent are some fine brasses in good preservation, though the inscriptions attached to them have been quite obliterated. They all belong to the Waldens, members of the same family. Belvidere, the seat of Lord Saye and Sele, is an elegant mansion, in a very romantic situation, commanding extensive views over the country round. It was rebuilt towards the close of the last century, and contains some fine apartments of true aristocratic splendour. From Northumberland Heath, a spacious tract of fertile ground in this parish, the metropolitan markets are largely supplied with Kentish cherries, and in the neighbourhood some handsome houses and villas have been lately erected.
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This ancient borough town, having been a British town before the Roman invasion, stands in a rich vale on the banks of the Medway.
Nature has eminently favoured this town by the salubrity of its air, the potency of its mineral springs, and the adjacent appendages of romantic and agreeable scenery.