Description Rochester is a town and former city in the unitary authority of Medway in South East England. It is at the lowest bridging point of the River Medway about 30 miles (48 km) from London. The town was for many years the favourite of Charles Dickens, who lived nearby at Gads Hill Place, Higham, and who based many of his novels in the area. The Diocese of Rochester, the second oldest in England, is based at Rochester Cathedral, and was responsible for the founding of King's School in 604 AD, which is the second oldest school in the world. Rochester Castle, built by Gundulf of Rochester, has one of the best preserved keeps in England or France, and during the First Barons' War (12151217) in King John's reign, baronial forces captured the castle from Archbishop Stephen Langton and held it against the king, who then besieged it.Rochester, together with neighbouring Chatham, Gillingham, Strood and a number of outlying villages, makes up the Medway unitary authority area. It was, until 1998, part of Kent and is still ceremonially associated via the Lieutenancies Act.