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Rochester later became a walled town and, under later Saxon influence, a mint was established here.The first cathedral was built by Bishop Justus in 604 and rebuilt under the Normans by Bishop Gundulf, who also built the castle that stands opposite the cathedral.Hoo St Werburgh, Cliffe, High Halstow, St Mary Hoo, Allhallows, Stoke and Grain are on the Hoo Peninsula to the north. Medway includes parts of the North Kent Marshes, an environmentally significant wetlands region with several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).Other similar areas of conservation include Ranscombe Farm on chalk grassland and woodland between Strood and Cuxton, with rare woodland flowers and orchids.Another warship built at Chatham that still exists is HMS Unicorn (a 46-gun "Leda" class frigate) laid down in February 1822, and launched 30 March 1824.She never saw active service and has been restored and is (as of 2005) preserved afloat in Dundee, Scotland.It was protected by a series of forts including Fort Amherst and the Lines, Fort Pitt and Fort Borstal.
The Chatham naval memorial commemorates the 18,500 officers, ranks and ratings of the Royal Navy who were lost or buried at sea in the two World Wars.Other notable sea-faring and naval figures, such as William Adams, were raised on the Medway but apprenticed elsewhere.The river was further protected by such fortifications as Upnor Castle which, in 1667 in varying accounts says it was partly successful in thwarting the Dutch raid on the dockyard, or the commanding officer fled without firing on the Dutch.It was here that HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, was built and launched in 1765.Sir Francis Drake learned his seamanship on the Medway; Sir John Hawkins founded a hospital in Chatham for seamen, and Nelson began his Navy service at Chatham at the age of 12.
The Chatham Division was based in Chatham until the closure of the Chatham Dockyard.