The Isle of Sheppey is a small (94 km²) island of the northern coast of Kent in the Thames Estuary, some 40km to the east of central London. It is connected to the mainland on its south side by the Kingsferry Bridge carrying road and rail traffic, the central section of which lifts on four columns to allow shipping to pass. The bridge was built in the 1960's, and replaced an earlier draw bridge that was constructed in 1904 and is the only road access to the island, an oversight which results in massive traffic delays caused by the neccesity of raising the bridge to allow ships and boats to pass along the river swale. A new fixed link is under construction and will invariable move this traffic poroblem further into the island. Construction of a second road bridge began in early 2004.

There was, it is said, during the reign of Edward I, according to Charles Igglesden, a bridge connecting Sheppey to the main land at Elmley, called the Tremsethg Bridge, but which was lost in a freak tidal wave, it was never replaced.

Sheppey is located in Swale Borough, named after The Swale, the narrow channel separating it from the Kentish mainland.

Sheppey is a word derived from the ancient Saxon 'Sceapige' meaning 'isle of sheep' but the small island is still called the 'Isle of Sheppey'! The same form of common rendering that compels some to speak of 'the magna carta' (magna being 'the great').

The largest town on the island is Sheerness. There are about 200 recorded shipwrecks around the coast of Sheppey,

the most famous being the S.S. Richard Montgomery, a liberty ship that grounded on sand banks loaded with bombs and exposives during the Second World War.

Sheerness was the focus of an attack by the Dutch navy in June 1667, when 72 hostile ships compelled the little 'sandspit fort', to surrender and landed a force which for a short while occupied the town. 'Pepys at Gravesend remarked in his diary "we do plainly at this time hear the guns play" and in fear departed to Brampton in Huntingdonshire'.

The Port of Sheerness contains at least one Grade 2 listed building, the old Boat House. Over 140 years old, it is the first multi-storey iron framed industrial building on record in the UK. Decorated with ornate ironwork from the period it was built in 1866 and featured operating rails extending the length of the building, for the movement of stores, much like a modern crane.

The dockyard and fort at Sheerness today are a significant feature of the Isle of Sheppey's economy, which includes the extensive export-import of motor vehicles, and a major Steel works, with extensive railway fixtures. Unfortunately the island is suffering from an economic recession, and these industries are not as extensive as they have been.

Bluetown, an outlying residential area overlooking the sea was chiefly designed for various government officials.

Three miles across the estuary channel of the Swale lies Whitstable. The Swale channel was the point of departure selected by Charles II, when departing in some haste 'from the Protestant deliverance of the nation' by William of Orange in December, 1688.

A hoy having been chartered the fugitive king landed at Elmley, only to be mobbed by local fishermen, seeing in his noble manner, on such an humble vessel not their king but the notorious Jesuit Father Petre, locally hated, and so took from him his money, watch and Coronation ring. At length he was recognised by one of the assailants and the group took him in custody Faversham, where he was detained.

Other towns include Minster which has a pebble beach and Leysdown-on-Sea which has a coarse sandy one. Both towns are moderately popular day destinations.

The Isle has a long history of aviation development in England. It was home to Lord Brabazon's Royal Aero Club which formed in Leysdown in 1901 to popularize balloon flying. The club took to the aeroplane with relish, and soon Short Brothers set up shop there to build six licensed Wright Flyers for them, moving the next year a few kilometres away to Eastchurch where a new aerodrome had been built for the club.

The Eastchurch Airfield played a singnificant role in the history of British aviation from the year 1909 when Frank McClean acquired the property of Stonepits Farm, situated in the marshes across from Leysdown, converting the land into an airfield for members of the Aero Club of Great Britain.

The Short Brothers, Horace, Eustace and Oswald, were to build aircraft to be teated at the site, later Moore, Brabazon, Professor Huntington, Charles S Rolls and Cecil Grace all visited and used the services of the Flying Club. Wilbur Wright and his brother Orville came to the isle of Sheppey to visit the new flying grounds of the Aero Club.

A Stained glass window in the south side of All Saints church, at Eastchurch was dedicated to Rolls and Grace, who were killed in July and December of 1910 respectively.

Shurland Hall is named after its first owners, the De Shurland family, it was in use during the reign of king Henry VIII who visited it. In 1188 Adam De Shurland posessed a mill with over a thousand acres of mixed land, mostly marsh with a small meddow and rented a number of cottages thereabouts. During World War I troops were billeted at the great Hall, but it suffered considerable damage as a result. "There has been no record of anyone living in the Hall since, although "listed" it is looking in a very sorry state".

Henry the VIII, requiring the River Medway as an anchorage for his navy, ordered that the mouth of the river should be protected by a small fort. Garrison Fort was thus constructed in 1545.

The Isle of Sheppey is also famous for the London Clay fossils found there.

The garden in the centre of the round-about on the main road opposite the Queenborough Corner has been dedicated to Screaming Lord Sutch, who was to brighten up the politics of the UK with the "Monster Raving Looney Party".

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