On 17 July 1860 Charles Dickens’ daughter, Katey, was married at the parish church in Higham.

Quote from The Letters of Charles Dickens - Charles Dickens to Cerjat 3 May 1860

My second daughter is going to be married in the course of the summer to Charles Collins, the brother of Wilkie Collins, the novelist. The father was one of the most famous painters of English green lanes and coast pieces. He was bred an artist; is a writer too and does The Eye-Witness in All the Year Round.

The entry in the parish register held at Medway Archives Centre shows that Charles Dickens and his great friend and biographer, John Forster, witnessed the occasion. Chauncey Hare Townsend was a third witness, with his signature being verified at a later date by  Gladys Storey, a friend of Katey Dickens in her later life and writer of ‘Dickens and Daughter.’

Quote from The Life of Dickens by John Forster

All the villagers had turned out in honour of Dickens and the carriages could hardly get to and from the little church for the succession of triumphal arches they had to pass through. It was quite unexpected by him; and when the feu de joie of the blacksmith in the lane, whose enthusiasm had smuggled a couple of small cannon into his forge, exploded upon him at the return, I doubt if the shyest of men was ever so taken aback at an ovation.

St Mary’s Church Higham (RGHM CL 846)

St Mary’s Church Higham (RGHM CL 846)