Grant of Henry VI for the Bridge Chapel, 1442
To support the three chaplains in the chantry chapel founded in 1393 by Sir John de Cobham, Henry VI granted to the Bridge Wardens on 24 March 1442 an annual rent of £5 which the Abbot of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, currently paid to the Exchequer out of the rent of the Hundreds of Ryngeslowe, Dunhamford, and Blengate.
Wardens' Account Roll, 1399-1400
"Account of Robert Rowe and John Wolcy, wardens of Rochester Bridge concerning the receipts and expenses of the said bridge made through them from the twentieth day of December in the first year of the reign of King Henry IV until the same day next following in the second year of the said king, namely through one whole year, concerning all revenues, rents, and income of lands and tenements belonging to the said bridge with all other monies by them received during the above said time as hereafter will appear in this roll." For almost 200 years the bridge wardens kept their annual accounts on parchment or paper rolls like this one for the years 1399 to 1400.
Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1588
This Deed of Confirmation, dated 21 November 1588 and sealed the great seal, reconfirms the ownership of the lands and tenements granted to the Wardens and Commonalty of Rochester Bridge by Richard II on 6 February 1399 and confirmed by Henry IV on 5 November 1401.
Sir Roger Manwood's History, 1586
After the reformation of the Rochester Bridge administration by the Rochester Bridge Act, 1576, Sir Roger Manwood, MP for Sandwich and lord chief baron of the Exchequer, compiled the very first history of Rochester Bridge: "A true discourse of the auncyent wodden and present stoned bridge at Rochester, and of the landes proper & contributarie therto, and of the verie causes of the decaye of the said stone Bridge; & for the course taken for reformation therin".
Wardens' Accounts, 1604
From 1576 to the present day the Wardens and Assistants of Rochester Bridge have maintained an unbroken series of annual accounts. This account book is open to the rental of the bridge estates made 400 years ago on 31 May 1604 . On the left-hand page appear the signatures of the Wardens and Assistants approving the past year's expenditure of £375 19s. 2½d.
Among the early accounts of the Wardens and Commonalty of Rochester Bridge is a series of paybooks or "Prick Books" which list month by month the lightermen, carpenters, and masons employed, their rates of pay, the cost and quantities of materials used, and a description of the repairs carried out. This volume is open to the beginning of the accounts for May 1642. The workmen were paid by the tide, and each day they received a "prick" or mark above the line in the morning and below the line in the evening for each tide worked. Note the signatures or marks of the workmen written in the book to signify that they had received their pay. At this time a carpenter could earn 2s. a day and a sawyer 2s. 8d. for every 100 feet of timber cut. Among the other expenses listed for the month is 1s. "spent in bread and beere upon the Carpenters and Lightermen when they went to bring up the Tymber".
Langdon Manor Estate Map, 1699
Every seven years the tenants of the Wardens and Assistants of Rochester Bridge were required to produce a terrier, or estate map, of the lands and tenements in their possession. This map, showing part of the bridge estate near Faversham, is entitled, "The Plott & measurement of ye mannor of Langdon for ye most part within ye parish of Feuersham & Some part in Graveney Goodneston & Hearnehill in ye County of Kent being parcell of the proper possession belonging to Rochester Bridge Anno Dom: 1659... Originally measured & drawn by Tho: Boycote 1659, & now new Drawn with ye measurment of ye Second third & fourth field by me Francis Hill 1699".
Rochester Estate Map, 1717
The Bridge Wardens owned numerous properties on either side of the bridge and along the Rochester High Street. This eighteenth-century estate map is entitled "A PLOT of all and every the Messuages and Tenements belonging to Rochester Bridge, in ye County of Kent, Situate in ye City of Rochester with the names of ye Tenants holding the same by lease from the Wardens & Assistants of the said Bridge, As they were surveyed Anno Domini 1717. By George Russell of Rochester". Prominent landmarks include Rochester Bridge and Rochester Castle.