Ferry Lane | 365/2011 Day 260

For centuries there was a ferry crossing the river whenever hired to do so from Wouldham to Halling and it may be that there was, before that, a ford across the river at this point, possibly where Romans and Britons fought for the way to London.

Ferry Lane | 365/2011 Day 260

The ferry service ended in 1963, when the Stevens family, who had operated it for many years, gave it up. Mr Stevens, the last ferryman, is reported to have said he was glad to be redundant after working 18 hour days. At the time taking a bike across cost a halfpenny extra!

Medway band The Singing Loins have immortalised the area in their song Old Ferry Lane

Old Ferry Lane

There’s a bend in the river
Beyond my garden wall –
Collects the dreams, the broken dreams
From the bridge away upstream.
Where the swallow divers
With their broken hearts
Wash up at Ferry Lane,
Where the Pilgrims crossed.
Now the only ones
Are the ever lost.
When the tide goes out
Their pain remains,
Lapping soft
In old Ferry Lane.

There’s a sound from the river
Calls me when I’m in bed.
I hear the willows, the weeping willows
In the pillow beneath my head.
All the tears and anger
And the sunken hopes
Wash up at Ferry Lane,
Where the churchyard waits
Ever patiently
For the names and dates.
When the tide goes out
Their songs remain,
Calling me
To old Ferry Lane.

The Singing Loins