We’ve already toured the quirkier corners of Buckinghamshire and Essex. Next up: Kent.
1. It gave birth to the first Western samurai
The unexotic surroundings of Gillingham provided William Adams with his first glimpse of the world. But by the time he left this mortal coil he was Miura Anjin, the first Englishman to visit Japan and the first Westerner to be honoured with the title of “samurai”.
Born in 1564, Adams learned shipbuilding, astronomy and navigation before entering the Royal Navy. He served under Francis Drake, and faced the Spanish Armada, before seeking riches with the forerunner to the Dutch East India Company. A long and arduous journey halfway around the world ended with his ship,…