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MEDWAY, a river in the south-east of England. It rises in the Forest Ridges, S.W. of East Grinstead in Sussex, and, increased by many feeders from these picturesque hills, has an easterly course to the county boundary, which it forms, turning northward for a short distance. Entering Kent near Ashurst, its course becomes north-easterly, and this direction is generally maintained to the mouth. The river passes Tonbridge, receiving the Eden from the west, and later the Teise and Beult from the south and east, all these streams watering the rich Weald (q.v.) to the south of the North Downs. These hills are breached by the Medway in a beautiful valley, in which lies Maidstone, generally much narrower than the upper valley. The characteristic structure of this part of the valley is considered under the heading DOWNS. Below Maidstone the valley forms a perfect basin, the hills descending upon it closely above Rochester. Below this city the river enters a broad, winding estuary, passing Chatham, and at Sheerness joining that of the Thames, so that the Medway may be considered a tributary, and its drainage area of 680 sq. m. reckoned as part of that of the greater river. The length of the Medway is about 60 m., excluding its many lesser windings. The estuary is navigable for sea-going vessels drawing 24 ft. up to Rochester Bridge. A considerable traffic is carried on by small vessels up to Maidstone, and by barges up to Tonbridge, the total length of the navigation being 43 m. The marshy lowlands along the course of the river have yielded extensive remains of Roman pottery, a plain ware of dark slate-colour.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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