14 August 2011

Egypt Bay – feedback from Malcolm Coomber of High Halstow

Following my recent post about how Egypt Bay got its name, I’m really pleased to report an interesting development!

My thanks go to Malcolm Coomber, from High Halstow, who got in touch with a possible explanation . . .

Dear Tony,

In response to your enquiry about how Egypt Bay got its name, I may have come up with a long shot that might be worth exploring.

I have a book called ‘The Hoo Peninsula’, written by local historian Philip MacDougall in 1980, which mentions Phoenician artefacts being found in Hoo and Higham.

This book states the following:

"During pre-historic times Hoo St. Werburgh was probably a fairly important settlement. The discovery of a Phoenician coin at a point just south of the present village also suggests that Hoo may also have been a small trading centre. The coin was discovered in 1903 and is said to be a drachma dating from the reign of Philip of Macedon. This particular king will probably be better recalled if one remembers that he was the father of Alexander the Great.

The importance of the coin demonstrates that Kent had trading links with the Phoenicians, traders who ranged far and wide bringing with them such saleable commodities as silver, high quality pottery and wines. Perhaps, indeed, it was the Phoenicians who brought the imported pots found near Cliffe. It should be pointed out that these pottery fragments do not come from so far east but would have been collected by the Phoenicians on their journeyings.

Hoo is not the only place in North Kent where Phoenician coins have been found. Not very long ago a number of such coins were unearthed at Higham. They were all contained inside a hollow flint purse."

The Phoenicians came from a land called RETENU (CANAAN) which had a direct boundary with EGYPT.

Just a thought! Did they sail up the Thames to trade and come across what we know as Egypt Bay, and named it such due to the unlikely event of finding a sandy beach in an unlikely spot on the River Thames? Stranger things have happened!

Best wishes - Malcolm.

Many thanks Malcolm for getting in touch and sharing your thoughts. A possibility certainly worth looking into!

Personally, I hope he’s right. Having been to Egypt and spent time exploring the Nile near Luxor, it would certainly be nice to think the two distant, but equally tranquil, locations were somehow connected.

I'm also grateful to everyone who got in touch to share stories about enjoyable walks around this bit of the peninsula.

Use the contact page to let me know if you have any views on how Egypt Bay got its name.