SITTINGBOURNE, an ancient town of Kent, is situated on a navigable creek of the Swale, and on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, at the junction for Sheerness, 7 miles south from the latter town and 45 east-south-east of London. It consists principally of one long street and the northern suburb of Milton, formerly celebrated for its oysters, the fishery of which used to employ a large number of the inhabitants. Brickmaking is a very important industry, and there are large papermills. St Michael's church, in the Early English and later styles, underwent extensive restoration in 1873 at a cost of nearly £3000. The principal other public buildings are the old town-hall, the corn exchange (erected 1859), and the museum. Public gardens 10 acres in extent have recently been laid out. The local government board was instituted in 1878. The population of the urban sanitary district (area 1004 acres) in 1871 was 6148 and in 1881 it was 7 85 6.
Sittingbourne, or Sedyngburne, received a grant of a market and two annual fairs by a charter of Queen Elizabeth. The style "guardian and free tenants," applied to the corporation in this charter, was subsequently changed to that of "mayor and jurats."
See W. A. Scott Robertson, Sittingbourne and the Names of Lands and Houses in or near it, Sittingbourne, 1S79.