Harty Church on the bank of the Swale
|OS grid reference||TR023663|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||ME12 4|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
Harty is a small hamlet on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent consisting of a few cottages, a church and a public house, the Ferry Inn (a Grade II listed building  ).  It is part of the civil parish of Leysdown.
The earliest recorded evidence of human occupation comes from a late Bronze Age hoard of axes, gouged bronze founder's appliances and metal. The find has wider importance from the information it gives into methods used for casting in the late Bronze Age.  Evidence of Roman occupation also exists; finds of tesserae, roof and flue tiles may indicate the site of a Roman villa. 
During the Middle Ages there were extensive salt workings. Remains today consist of groups of salt mounds which are the waste left over from the process.  Park Farmhouse is a Grade II listed building  dating from the 16 century.
In 1798 Edward Hasted recorded that an earlier form of the name was 'Harteigh' which he presumes came from the Saxon Heord-tu, an island "filled with herds of cattle".  Other forms of the name have been Hertei (1086), Heartege (1100), Herteye (1242) and the modern Harty by 1610.  Hasted also noted that the islet was part of the hundred of Faversham unlike the rest of the island of Sheppey which came within Milton Hundred.  There were also 4000 sheep and six cottages with 20 people, but of those 20 six were on permanent poor relief and another 3 occasionally so. 
Harty is a few minutes walk from the Swale National Nature Reserve. Public footpaths run from Harty, along the southern extent of the reserve to the hamlet of Shellness, and back around the reserve's northern perimeter to Harty.
The church of 'St Thomas the Apostle' is a Grade II* listed building .  The date of founding cannot be fixed with certainty but the official listing dates it to late 11th or early 12th century.  The church is unusual that there is no electricity or running water. Lighting in the nave is provided by hanging paraffin lamps and by wall mounted lamps with reflectors.
Hasted also records the existence of the ferry across The Swale to Oare on the mainland.  The old ferry is reflected in the name of the adjacent Inn. The rights to the ferry were, and still are, held by the landlord of the "Ferry House" Inn.  The southern, mainland, terminus was close to the villages of Oare and Uplees. Today the remains of the southern jetty are on the coast of the Oare Marshes nature reserve. A small cluster of buildings close by still bear the name Harty Ferry Cottages. During World War I the Royal Engineers built a bridge across the Swale.  [lower-alpha 1] The last ferry boat fell to pieces around 1941 and has never been replaced,  although the official list entry for the church mentions the ferry as being in use until 1946.  An attempt to start a small hovercraft service between the Harty Ferry Inn and Oare Creek in 1970 by the then landlord, Ben Fowler, failed after a few days.
Hasted (1798) records:
... that there was formerly a bridge leading from hence [Harty] into Shepey, then called Tremseth bridge, which had been broken down by a violent inundation of the sea, and the channel thereby made so deep, that a new one could not be laid; and therefore the inhabitants of Shepey, who before repaired it, maintained in the room of it two ferry-boats, to carry passengers to and fro. There is now no bridge here, and the fleet which divided this island from that of Shepey is become so very narrow, and has for several years past been so much filled up, that, excepting at high tides and overflow of the waters, Harty has ceased to have any appearance of an island. 
The "violent inundation" appears to have occurred in 1293. The silting of the fleet rendering Harty a tidal island was complete by the time Hastead was writing in 1798. A hundred years later (in 1893) during floods the fleet grew to be 100 yards (91 m) wide but today is cut off from Windmill Creek by a causeway. 
Author Russell Hoban repurposes the Isle of Harty as "Harts Ease" in his 1980, post apocalyptic novel Riddley Walker . 
The Isle of Sheppey is an island off the northern coast of Kent, England, neighbouring the Thames Estuary, centred 42 miles (68 km) from central London. It has an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). The island forms part of the local government district of Swale. Sheppey is derived from Old English Sceapig, meaning "Sheep Island".
Faversham is a market town in Kent, England, 48 miles (77 km) from London and 10 miles (16 km) from Canterbury, next to the Swale, a strip of sea separating mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary. It is close to the A2, which follows an ancient British trackway which was used by the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons, and known as Watling Street. The name is of Old English origin, meaning "the metal-worker's village".
The Swale is a tidal channel of the Thames estuary that separates the Isle of Sheppey from the rest of Kent. On its banks is a 6,509.4-hectare (16,085-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest which stretches from Sittingbourne to Whitstable in Kent. It is also a Ramsar internationally important wetland site and a Special Protection Area under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds. Parts of it are a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I, National Nature Reserves, a Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserve and a Local Nature Reserve.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey is a constituency in Kent represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Gordon Henderson, a Conservative.
Luddenham is a widespread hamlet or small village north-west of Faversham in Kent, England, with many long-distance views across the Swale and the Isle of Sheppey. It is on the edge of Luddenham Marshes and is also home of Luddenham School. Oare Gunpowder Works are on the edge of the village. It had, according to Edward Hasted in 1798, 396 acres of low flat arable land and 200 acres of meadow and pasture, although half of those are marsh. It is in the civil parish of Norton, Buckland and Stone.
Queenborough-in-Sheppey was a municipal borough in Kent, England from 1968 to 1974. It was created by a merger of the Municipal Borough of Queenborough with Sheerness Urban District and Sheppey Rural District, and occupied the entire Isle of Sheppey. It incorporated the following parishes:
Lower Halstow is a village and civil parish in the Swale district of Kent, England. The village is northwest of Sittingbourne on the banks of the Medway Estuary. It lies north of Newington on the A2 Roman road.
Milton Regis is a village in the district of Swale in Kent, England. Former names include Milton-next-Sittingbourne, Milton Royal, Middleton, Midletun and Middletune. It has a population of about 5,000. Today it is a suburb of Sittingbourne, although this has not always been the case, with Milton Regis having an older and richer history. Until around 1800, Sittingbourne was a smaller hamlet and under the control of the Manor of Milton Regis.
Leysdown-on-Sea is a village on the east coast of the Isle of Sheppey in the borough of Swale in Kent, England. In 2020 it had an estimated population of 936. The civil parish is Leysdown and includes the settlements of Bay View, Shellness and Harty. In 2011 it had a population of 1,256.
Oare Marshes is a 71.4-hectare (176-acre) Local Nature Reserve north of Faversham in Kent. It is owned and managed by Kent Wildlife Trust. It is part of The Swale Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I, National Nature Reserve, Ramsar internationally important wetland site, Special Protection Area under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds, and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Stalisfield is a village in the borough of Swale in Kent, England, located on a secondary road about 1½ miles (2.4 km) north of Charing and 5 miles south west of Faversham. The parish includes the hamlet of Stalisfield Green.
Sheldwich is a village and civil parish in the far south of the Borough of Swale in Kent, England.
Oare is a village and civil parish north of Davington, Faversham in southeast England. It is separated from Faversham by the Oare Creek. To the north of the village are the Oare Marshes, and the Harty Ferry which once linked to Harty on the Isle of Sheppey. Kent Wildlife Trust manages a nature reserve that is an important stopping place for migratory birds.
Davington is a suburb of Faversham in Kent, England.
Painters Forstal is a village in the Swale district of the English county of Kent. It is 2 miles (3.2 km) south-west of the town of Faversham and is part of the civil parish of Ospringe. It lies just south of the M2 motorway, and has developed almost completely since the 1950s.
Seasalter is a village in the Canterbury District of Kent, England. Seasalter is on the north coast of Kent, between the towns of Whitstable and Faversham, facing the Isle of Sheppey across the estuary of the River Swale. The settlement of Yorkletts is included in the ward. It is approximately 6 miles (10 km) north of Canterbury.
Norton, Buckland and Stone is a small rural civil parish 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Teynham and 3 miles (4.8 km) west of the centre of Faversham in the borough of Swale, Kent, England. It is bypassed by the M2 to the south and traverses the historic A2, on the route of the Roman road of Watling Street.
The Lathe of Scray is an historic division of the county of Kent, England, encompassing the present-day Districts of Swale, Ashford, and the eastern part of Tunbridge Wells The Lathes of Kent were ancient administration divisions originating, probably, in the 6th century, during the Jutish colonisation of the county.
The National Cycle Route 174 is part of the National Cycle Network in the United Kingdom. Part of it is known as The Sheerness Way.
The Church of St Thomas the Apostle in Harty on the Isle of Sheppey in the county of Kent is a Grade II* listed building. The date of founding cannot be fixed with certainty. The official listing dates it to late 11th or early 12th century. In their guide book to the church, Patience & Perks start by reporting the raid by Harold in 1052 and then note that ""The date ascribed to the church of 1089 would be consistent with a re-building following damage by the Danes". However, on the next page they discuss the narrow walls which are indicative of Saxon builders and note that in 1989, when a shallow trench was excavated in the south wall, traces of Saxon work were found. Tufa stone was rarely used after the early Norman period, and so the use of it in a window in the north wall would indicate a date of no later than the end of the 11th century. Patience & Perks observe that the "date of AD 1089 is ascribed to the Norman work, which may well have been the re-building of an earlier structure desecrated by the Danish invaders".