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Full text of "A brief historical and descriptive account of Maidstone and its environs"

Ipreeenteo to 
Zbc xantv>ersit\? of TToronto Xtbrary 

1bume iJSlafce, Esq. 

from tbc boohs of 

TLbc late Ibonourable Eewaro JSlafce 

Chancellor of tbe Tnniversftg of Coronto 
(1876*1900 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Toronto 



http://www.archive.org/details/briefhistoricaldOOIamp 



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A BRTEF 

HISTORICAL 

AND 

DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT 

OF 

MAIDSTONE 

AND ITS ENVIRONS. 



BY S. C. Lcvflrt^l 



Enchanting vale! beyond whate'er the Muse 

H as of Achaia or Hesperia 

vale of bliss ! O softly swelling hills! . \> 



On which the Power of Cultivation lies, 
And joys to see the wonders of his toil. 

n 






MAIDSTONE; 

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. BROWN, 

KENT ARMS OFFICE, WEEK STREET. 

1834. 



MAIDSTONE I 
PRINTED BY J. BROWN, KENT ARMS OFFICE, 
87, WEEK STREET. 






PREFACE. 



The writer of the following pages is induced to 
lay them before the public by the hope that they 
will, in some degree at least, supply a want which 
has long been complained of by the inhabitants 
and visitors of Maidstone, — that of some general 
account of this important and flourishing town 
and its beautiful and romantic neighbourhood. 
In preparing their contents for publication, (which 
were chiefly compiled for his own information and 
amusement,) it has been his aim equally to avoid a 
prolixity on points, which could only be interesting 
to a few, and that superficial brevity which would 
be unsatisfactory to all, in short he has endeavoured 
to render his matter at once concise and suffi- 
ciently comprehensive for the purposes of the 
general reader. 

The historical information has been obtained 
from works of established authority, to which in 



IV. PREFACE. 

most cases reference is given, and where a variance 
in account has been found, a careful collation has 
preceded the adoption of any particular statement. 
The descriptive portion of the volume is given from 
the writer's personal observation, and he trusts 
that it will not be found to have been made with 
negligence or great inaccuracy. In the composi- 
tion his only study has been to convey his informa- 
tion to his reader in an easy and intelligible manner. 
The local nature of the poetical pieces appended 
to the Excursions, must form the apology for their 
insertion. 

With regard to the illustrative prints, litho- 
graphed by Mr. T. L. Merritt, of this town, from his 
own sketches, little need be said: to those who have 
seen the interesting objects and scenes they pourtray, 
their minute accuracy, as to all, the beauty of 
their drawing, must at the first glance be obvious. 

The neat map of the environs of Maidstone, with 
the plan of the town, will doubtless be considered 
a desirable addition to the volume, as exhibiting the 
localities of most of the places and objects described, 
and thus forming an index to the Excursions: nor 
will the publisher, it is hoped, be denied the gra- 
tification of the reader's approval of the more me- 
chanical portions of the work. 



PRLFACE. V. 

Supported then by these auxiliaries, the writer 
presents his little book to the public with the cheer- 
ful but unpresuming confidence of one tendering 
that which he feels will not be altogether an unac- 
ceptable offering, and who, while he regrets that it 
is not of greater value, ventures to believe that its 
defects will be regarded with an indulgent eye, by 
those to whom it is submitted, on account (if from 
no other cause) of his motive in its presentation. 

Maidstone, S. C. L. 

15th December, 1834. 



SONNET. 



How tender, yet unyielding, are the ties 
That bind the heart unto its place of birth, 

In that fond homage which it e'er denies 
To aught beyond that hallow'd spot of earth: 
Tisof our purest joys the social hearth, 

Round which they gather ; — 'twas our paradise 

In childhood's golden days, when sinless eyes 
Create their own wide heaven of blissful mirth : 

And thus, sweet Valley of the Medway, seem 
No other scenes to me so fair as thine, — 

Remembrancers of many a sunny dream 
Of rapture, ah ! as fleeting as divine, — 
Which with their beauties thus a spell combine 

To make thee of my fondest praise the theme. 




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toot i JuipeZ/ 
IruZa/p-fu/efd C/t<y>t/ 
h,'/ ('/tapcZ/. 

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2]cipfy'*f C/tajKi' 
(Jiaa/ki e /••<■■ Gfu l 

.,,/,,,„,.. '...,,, fdmur&u Cbrpa* 
■ />■„/ "". / <i'pFeutZtA«r Cku> 

^Z7l4/Jri ft /■//:<< 1,7/ 

> yjfoon/v>?c<?uc£eirnz/ . 



A- MAIPSTOKE 



MAIDSTONE. 



OF THE SITUATION OF MAIDSTONE. 
Few towns can be found more advantageously 
situated than that of Maidstone : lying near the mid- 
dle, and in one of the richest parts of the fertile 
county of Kent; within an easy journey of the me- 
tropolis or sea coast; on the banks of a beautiful and 
navigable river; with a neighbourhood abounding 
with fruit, corn, hops and timber, supplying an inex- 
haustible store of every requisite for building, and 
thickly studded with populous villages and country 
mansions ; it possesses alike for trade or retirement 
almost irresistible attractions. With these numerous 
and powerful inducements it is not surprising that 
its present population should be found nearly treble 
what it was in the middle of the last century, or that 
it should have been, from the earliest times to which 
our historical records refer, a place of considerable 
importance. 



OF THE ANTIQUITY OF THE TOWN AND DERIV- 
ATION OF ITS NAME. 

Camden and other antiquaries consider Maidstone 
to have been the Roman Vagniacce,* and one of the 

* Consult Camden's Britannia, and the Commentaries of I'urton 
and of Gale on the Itinerary of Antoninus. 
B 



2 MAIDSTONE. 

chief towns in Britain, and, although others hold a 
different opinion, all seem to agree that a town of 
consequence existed here before the subjugation of 
England by the Saxons, and abundant proofs appear 
in the discovery of coins, urns, &c.,of the residence 
of our Roman conquerors in the immediate vicinity, 
if not on the very spot now occupied by this town. 

The name of the place seems to have been derived 
from the river on which it stands, the Medwege or mid- 
dle river of the Saxons, who therefore designated this 
place Medwegcston or the town of the Medway;* in 
Domesday-book it is written Meddestane, and in 
documents of the time of Edward the I. Maydens- 
tane, which some are pleased to interpret as meaning 
the Town of Maids, as the following punning Latin 
verse fancifully shews ; 

" Petra puellarum pidcherrima villa mearum." 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN, &C. 

The town, with the exception of the West Bo- 
rough, is built on a gentle slope rising from the 
eastern side of the Medway. The High Street, 
which is probably not excelled in breadth, and gen- 
eral grandeur by that of any country town in Eng- 
land, runs from the bridge foot up the side of the 
hill towards the east; at its upper end it is met by 
King-street in the same line, and at right angles 
by Week-street, from the north, and Gabriel's-hill, 

* See Newton's Hist, of Maidstone, and Lambard's Perambula- 
tion of Kent. 



DESCRIPTION. 3 

(which is a continuation of Stone-street,) from the 
south. From these principal streets several others 
branch, among which may be mentioned Mill- 
street, Bank-street, and Pudding-lane, which are 
connected with the High-street; Earl-street, Union- 
street, St. Faith-street and Brewer-street, which are 
branches of Week-street, and have from themselves 
extensive ramifications; Church-street, Queen Anne- 
road, and Albion-place, which turn from King-street ; 
and Romney Place, the Mote-road, and Knightrider- 
street, which, with several others of less note, unite with 
Stone-street. The larger streets are regularly built, 
and contain many excellent houses. The river Len, 
which rises near Lenham, runs through the southern 
part of Maidstone, falling into the Medway near 
the bridge. The length of the town from north to 
south is about one mile and a quarter, and its aver- 
age breadth about three quarters of a mile. It is 
justly celebrated for its neatness; is well paved, 
and lighted with gas ; and abundantly supplied with 
most excellent water, which is conveyed in pipes 
from Rocky-hill on the other side of the river. 
The Star, in the High-street, and the Bell, in 
Week-street, are the two principal inns ; there are 
besides many others of high respectability, among 
which are the following; the Mitre, the Haunch 
of Venison, the Swan, and the Queen's-head, in 
High-street ; the Bull, and the George, on Gabriel's- 
hill ; and the New Inn at the upper end of Week- 
street. The shops in every respect rival those of 
the capital, and supply the inhabitants with almost 
every article which even luxury can demand. 



4 MAIDSTONE. 

Maidstone is the county town, and the public 
meetings, and assizes for Kent, and quarter sessions 
for the western division of the county are held here ; 
It is also one of the polling places at the elections for 
West Kent. In the time of Elizabeth it contained 
but 294 houses. In 1811 it had 1706 houses, and 
9443 inhabitants; and in 1831 it contained 3018 
houses, of which 1417 were of the annual value of £10, 
and 15,387 inhabitants, since which time the town 
has continued to increase in extent and population. 

Maidstone is in the diocese of Canterbury and 
deanry of Sutton, and is exempt from the Arch- 
deacon's jurisdiction. The rectory forms part of the 
revenues of the Archbishop, who appoints a per- 
petual curate. At present Wm. Baldwin, Esq. is the 
lessee of the tithes, and the Rev. James Reeve the 
curate. 



LOCAL GOVERNMENT, CHARTERS, PRIVILEGES, &c. 

A minute account of these matters would be in- 
consistent with the purpose for which these pages 
are written, though some general information re- 
specting them is absolutely necessary. 

Maidstone is a borough, returning two members to 
parliament, which privilege it appears to have had 
as early as the reign of Edward the VI. in which it 
was first regularly incorporated, A. D. 1549, having 
previously, as the charter states, been governed by 
certain of the inhabitants called the Port-reeve and 
Brethren, the place being ' a capital port of the river 
Medway.' This privilege however was soon forfeited, 



LOCAL GOVERNMENT, &C. 5 

as the Maidstone men joined in the Kentish rebel- 
lion which was raised against Mary, in opposition to 
her marriage with Philip of Spain, by Sir Thomas 
Wiat of the adjoining parish of Allington.* Several 
charters and privileges were afterwards conferred 
by succeeding sovereigns. t By the last, granted in 
the twenty-first year of George the II., the civil au- 
thority is vested in a mayor, twelve jurats, and forty 
common council-men, with a recorder, a deputy 
recorder, and other officers. The mayor, recorder, 
and the three senior jurats, are justices of the peace; 
and the mayor is coroner for the town and parish. 
Sessions are held quarterly, for the trial of trespasses 
and misdemeanors, and the mayor is empowered, 
on every alternate Tuesday, to have a court of pleas 
for actions personal and mixed, and granting reple- 
vins, the jurisdiction of which extends over the par- 
ishes of East Barming, Loose, Boxley, Allington, 
Linton, and Otham, with the hamlets of Xew-hithe 
and Mill-hale. A court leet is held annually, at 
which the constable, and other peace officers are 
appointed. The town is watched by a regular and 
active police establishment, under the direction of an 
intelligent superintendant. 

By the first charter of James the I. this place was 
incorporated under the name or style of, " The King's 
Town and Parish of Maidstone" which designation 
it still retains. 



* Vide Lam bard's Perambulation of Kent. 

+ Oue by Elizabeth, in her 2d. year: two by James the T., in 
bis 2d. and 17th years : and one by Charles the 2d., in his 34th 
year. 

B 3 



D MAIDSTONE. 

The Aiuis of the Town are, Or, afcss wavy azure 
betiueen three torteauxes ; on a chief, yules, a lion 
passant yardant, or. 

Maidstone gives the title of Viscount to the Earl 
of Winchelsea. 



ANTIQUITIES. 

I shall now proceed to give a brief description of 
the principal antiquities of the town. 

The Palace. — The Archbishop's palace, which 
was also called the castle, ' and was the manor house, 
stands on the bank of the river between the church 
and bridge. According to Philipott the manor and 
castle of Maidstone belonged to theCornhill family, 
and were given by Win. de Cornhill, in the 7th 
year of John, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ste- 
phen Langton.* Archbishop UfYord commenced the 
rebuilding of the house in 1348, and it was finished 
by Islip from the materials of an archiepiscopal man- 
sion at Wrotham. I bury the VI. in the sixti 
year of his reign, visited Archbishop Chichely at this 
house. It was repaired and enlarged by Morton, in 
1486. Several of the Archbishops appear to have 
resided here, among them are, Courtney and Stafford 
who died in this house, and Cranmer who honoured 
Maidstone with his especial regard ; \\v gave this 
palace and manor in exchange to Henry the VIII.. 
who, in 1542, granted them to Sir Thomas Wiat of 
Allington, whose son, Sir Thomas, forfeited them for 
rebellion against Mary. The palace was granted by 

* Philipott's Yillare Cantianum. 



ANTIQUITIES. 7 

Elizabeth to Sir Jacob, afterwards Lord Astley; and 
the manor, by James the I. to the Finch family. 
The Earl of Romney is now owner of the palace, 
and also lord of the manor.* 

The greater part of the house, which is now divided 
into two dwellings, still exists ; the front is almost 
entire : these remains form one of the most interest- 
ing objects in the town. 

Newark. — The hospital for pilgrims and poor 
travellers, anciently called the New Work of Prestes- 
helle, built about the year 1260, by Archbishop 
Boniface, and dedicated to St. Peter, St. Paul, and 
St. Thomas a Beckett, stood on the western side of 
the Medway.f The churches of Sutton near Dover, 
Linton, and East Farleigh, were afterwards appro- 
priated by Archbishop Reynolds to the support of 
this establishment. On the foundation of the college, 
of which I shall next speak, this hospital was incor- 
porated with it. A large and handsome building of 
the Gothic style, which appears to have been the 
chapel, is now standing, but little else remains to 
gratify the antiquary. Some years ago near the 
chapel, there was a curious arched way under ground, 
which was supposed to have been originally of great 
length, though its use was unknown: it is now built 
up. The dwelling house, (the residence of Mrs. 
Browne) which at present partially occupies the site 
of the hospital, still bears the name of Newark. 



* For further particulars consult Newton's Hist, of Maidstone, 
and Hasted's Hist, of Kent. 

t Vide Lambard, Newton and others. 



8 MAI] 

College. — In the year 1395 Archbishop Com 
<>lit;iined the licence of Richard the II. t«. make the 
parish church collegiate, and 1 1 «_- accordingly buill 

the college for the master or warden, chapl 
and other ministers, on the hank of the river. 

south side of the church. The college had the 
rectory of Maidstone church, together with i'- 
pendant chapels of Loose and Debtling, also the 
hospital of St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Tin 
Beckett, (of which I have given some account,) with 
the patronage of Sutton near Dover, Lillin. 
(now Linton,) and East Farki^h, and afterwart 
Crundale near Wye, besides other extensive p< 
sions. The first warden was John Wot ton, ;; 
friend, and one of the executors, of Archbishop 
Courtney, the founder. William Grocyn, the sixth 
master, admitted about 1506, was a man eminent 
for his great learning, and an intimate friend of the 
celebrated F.rasmus, who, from 1511 to ! " 1 ' . 
the rector of Aldington in this county. Wbtton and 
Grocyn were buried in the collegi it.' church, 
last master was John Lease, or Lys. .\t tl 
lution of this college, in the first year of the 
of Edward the VI.* he and the other members of the 
establishment were pensioned. 

The remains, the gate house particularly, which 

i> >iill almost perfect, and presents a fine specimen 

' ithic architecture, attest the original great ex- 



• I he d( t for Chantries collegiate, by which all chantries, 
Ices, r ippressed and granted to the crown, 

was passed in the 1 liament of Edward lh< I 

Westminstt . end er, an 

to the "24ih Uecen ber, 



ANTIQUITIES. 9 

tent and grandeur of this house, which since the 
dissolution has been used as a private dwelling, and 
now forms a part of the estate of the Earl of Roraney. 

Corpus Ciiristi Hall. — The house of the religi- 
ous fraternity of Corpus Christi, which was of the 
Benedictine order, stood at the bottom of Earl 
street. The exact date of the foundation is not 
ascertained, but it is presumed to be about the 
middle of the 14th century.* The main object of the 
institution was to support the doctrine of transub- 
stantiation, and the chief duties of the chaplain and 
brothers residing in the house, were to carry the 
holy sacrament in religious processions, to keep the 
feast of Corpus Christi with great pomp and solem- 
nity, and to pray for, and to celebrate masses and 
dirges at the deaths of, the brothers or sisters. The 
extra members residing in the town and neighbour- 
hood, and who subscribed to the support of the 
guild, appear to have been numerous and distin- 
guished. 

The possessions of the brotherhood were consid- 
erable, including several cottages in which old and 
indigent persons were permitted to dwell rent free. 
Soon after the suppression of this fraternity, in the 
first year of the reign of Edward VI. the house with 
other property was purchased of the crown by the 
corporation, out of the money arising from the sale 
of a portion of the church plate, vestments, orna- 

• Newton says some Romish writers state that this Brother- 
hood was founded about 1321. For further information respect- 
ing the fraternity, consult Philipott, Newton and Hasted. 



10 MAIDSTONE. 

merits, &c* and converted into a free grammar 
school, of which I shall speak more fully under the 
head of the public institutions of the town. 

The chapel or hall, now the school-room, and 
other parts of the original building are still remaining. 

St. Faith's Chur< h. — A portion of the chancel 
of the church of St. Faith, which some have thought 
was parochial, though according to the best author- 
ities, it was but a free chapel, now forms part of a 
dwelling house at the upper end of the open space 
called St. Faith's green. The date of its erection, 
and the name of the founder, are unknown. At the 
time of the general dissolution, this church fell into 
the king's hands, but it was purchased of the crown 
soon after by the corporation, together with the hall 
of the Corpus Christi brotherhood. It appears after- 
wards to have been the property of private indivi- 
duals, with a reservation however to the inhabitants 
of a right to use the chapel for divine service, and 
its churchyard for burials. 

This church was used at different times as a place 
of worship by the Walloons, who, under the protec- 
tion of Elizabeth settled in this town. Under the 

* In the 6lh year of Edward the VI. a royal commission was 
issued to take possession, and make inventories and valuations of 
the property granted to the crown, by the act for the suppression, 
passed in the first yearof the reign. The corporation of Maidstone 
■were allowed to sell by far the greater part of ihe valuables be- 
longing to the collegiate church of All Saints, to the valueof about 
£200. for the purposeof purchasing Corpus Christi Hall and St. 
Faith's church, probably in consideration of their intention to 
found a school. Similar indulgence was shewn to other places. 
Aide Newton and the authorities cited by him. 



ANTIQUITIES. 1 1 

persecution of Archbishop Laud, in 1634, this con- 
gregation was dispersed. In the beginning of the 
last century, the chancel was a meeting house for 
English Presbyterians ; subsequently a part of it was 
converted into an assembly room. It is now a 
boarding school for young ladies. Several human 
skeletons have been dug up near the site of this 
church.* 

Franciscan Monastery. — Under the house at 
the corner formed by Gabriel's-hill and King- street, 
there is a large crypt, or chamber curiously vaulted 
with stone, evidently of great antiquity. Some sup- 
pose this to have been the site of the monastery for 
Franciscan or Grey Friars, which, it is said, Edward 
the III., with his brother, John Earl of Cornwall, 
founded in Maidstone. f It is stated that this opinion 
is in some degree supported by the early deeds relat- 
ing to this house, in which it is called the Priory or 
Friary. 

Behind the north side of the upper part of the 
High-street there were, a few years ago, some re- 
mains of a building of a very early date, these how- 
ever were entirely removed when the new Markets 
were built. 

Early in the last century several Roman urns, 
bottles and other vessels, with a skeleton and frag- 
ments of human bones, were found in digging for 
the foundation of a warehouse at the lower part of 
Earl-street. § These remains were collected by Mr. 

* See Newton's Hist, for further information on this subject, 
t Vide Newton on the authority of Dugdale's Monasticon. 
§ See Newton's Hist. 



12 MAIDSTONE. 

Drayton, then an apothecary in this place, but I 
cannot find that they are now in existence. I men- 
tion this discovery, as, connected with others of a 
similar nature of which accounts will be found in the 
excursions following-, it appears to support the opinion 
that Maidstone was a station of the Romans. 

At the time when local coin was used, several 
persons in this town had tokens struck. Not many 
years ago several of these were often to be found in 
circulation as farthings, but few are now to be seen 
excepting in the collections of antiquaries. 



CHURCHES, &c 

All Saint's Church. — The parish church of 
Maidstone, dedicated to All Saints, stands on the 
banks of the river at the south-western part of the 
town. It is a noble Gothic pile, and in size, and 
general grandeur, is said to exceed any other parish 
church in the county. Its length is abcve one 
hundred and sixty feet, and its breadth above ninety. 
The whole building is remarkable for its beauty and 
regularity, and the interior is kept particularly neat. 
It has a lofty square tower at the west end, which 
was formerly ornamented with a spire, nearly 80 feet 
in height, covered with lead ; this was destroyed by 
lightning in 1730. The tower contains a fine peal 
often bells, the largest of which weighs about 3360 
lbs., and a good clock and chimes. 

Tins Church was originally dedicated to the Virgin 
Mary. In the 19th year of the reign of Richard the 
II. 1395, Archbishop Courtney procured a licence to 



CHURCHES, &C. 13 

erect a college here, and to convert the parish church 
of St. Mary, into the collegiate church for its use, 
on doing which he dedicated it to All Saints. Some 
imagine that he pulled down the whole of St. Mary's 
church, and built the present one on the site, but, 
as he died within a year after the licence was grant- 
ed,* it seems improbable that the whole of the build- 
ing could have been erected by him. It is allowed 
by all that he built the choir, or chancel, and at the 
same time, at least, restored the body of the edifice, 
and therefore probably, as was usual, he is sometimes 
mentioned as the founder. 

Weever, the celebrated collecter of epitaphs, in 
his book particularized that of Courtney in this 
church, yet it was doubted by antiquaries, whether 
the stone described by Weever was not a mere ce- 
notaph, and indeed the general opinion was that the 
Archbishop was interred near the Black Prince in 
Canterbury cathedral. It appears that he first di- 
rected that his burial place should be in Exeter ca- 
thedral, but by a codicil to his will, made when dy- 
ing in Maidstone palace, he ordered his body to be 
buried in the cemetery of the collegiate church of 
Maidstone. All doubts on this subject however were 
removed about thirty-five years ago, when the tomb 
in this church was opened in the presence of several 
gentlemen of this town, (among whom Avas the 



*The King's licence was given at his Castle of Leeds, on the 
2nd of August 1395. Archbishop Courtney died at jUaidstone, 
on the 28th of July, 1396. See Hasted and his authorities. 
+ Vide Newton's History. 



14 MAIDSTONE. 

Reverend James Reeve the present curate,) and the 
bones of the Archbishop were found at the dep th 
of about six feet. It appeared that he had been 
buried without a coffin. The skeleton was six feet 
in length, and perfect, but soon crumbled when 
exposed to the air. The stone covering the grave, 
which is near the middle of the chancel, still bears 
the marks of the portrait of a bishop with his mitre 
and robes ; the brass with which it was inlaid, was 
stolen during the civil war, and the inscription which 
surrounded the stone has long been illegible. The 
stalls of the fellows of the college, still ornament the 
chancel. 

There were two chantries in this church ; one of 
which was founded about the year 1366, by Robert 
Vinter, commonly called Gould's chantry, from the 
founder having endowed it with the estates of 
Goulds and Shepway in this parish ; and the other 
by Archbishop Arundel in the year 1405; and sup- 
ported by a portion of the tithes of Northfleet. These 
chantries were suppressed at the same time as the 
college. 

After the dissolution, this church was granted to 
the town for the parish church, and the grant was 
afterwards confirmed by James I. In the sixth year 
of the reign of Edward VI. an account and valuation 
was made of the goods, plate, &c. belonging to the 
late collegiate church, by the king's commissioners. 
The corporation were allowed to dispose of the 
greater part of these, to the value of about £200, 
and with the produce purchased the brotherhood 
hall for a school, and the free chapel of St. Faith 



CHURCHES, &C. 15 

The rectory of this church was originally in the gift 
of the archbishop of Canterbury. In the 19th year of 
Richard the II. it was appropriated by archbishop 
Courtney, under a bull of pope Boniface the 9th, and 
with the licence of the king, to the college as before 
stated, with a reservation to the archbishop of the 
patronage of the advowson, which was given in 
exchange by archbishop Cranmer to Henry the VIII. 
When the college was suppressed, the rectory also 
fell into the king's hands, and was granted by Edward 
to Sir Thomas Wiat, the younger, who forfeited it for 
rebellion against Mary. It was soon after leased by 
that queen to Christopher Roper, Esq., and the pa- 
tronage of the curacy granted to Archbishop Pool. 
The reversion of the rectory passed to the arch- 
bishop of Canterbury by a grant of Elizabeth, made 
in the 3d. year of her reign. 

This church contains many fine monuments, which 
my limits will not allow me to particularize. Several 
of the Astley's, Tuftons, and Knatchbulls, lie buried 
within its walls. The family vault of the Earl of 
Romney is under the south end of the altar steps. 
The body of the church is regularly pewed and sur- 
rounded by spacious galleries. A fine organ occu- 
pies the centre of the western gallery. The altar- 
piece representing the Last Supper, is greatly ad- 
mired ; it was painted by Mr. William Jefferys, a na- 
tive of this town. William Shipley, Esq. to whom 
the society for the encouragement of arts, manufac- 
tures and commerce owed its origin, and who resided 
in Maidstone, was buried in the north-western corner 
of this churchyard. 



16 MAIDSTONE. 

Parochial Library. — In the vestry-room is a large 
parochial library, containing many scarce books, 
among them is a copy cf Bishop Walton's Po! 
Bible. By the will of Dr. Thos.Bray, perpetual curate 
of St. Botolph's, Aldgate, his valuable collection of 
books was directed to be sold for fifty pounds, the 
purchasers giving assurance to his executors that 
should be placed in some corporate town in South 
Britain, for a parochial library. The sum was raised 
by subscription in this town and its vicinity, in 1735, 
and the books added to the public library for the 
parish, sometime before established. Any respect- 
able inhabitant of Maidstone can have access to this 
library, but few avail themselves of the privilege. 

Trinity Church. — The new church, or chapel 
of ease, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, which, 
built a few years ago, stands between King-street, 
and Union-street. It is a large and commodious 
building, containing seats for nearly two thousand 
persons. It is built of stone, with a lofty steeple at 
the west-end, and forms a pleasing and conspicuous 
object in the different views of the town. The offi- 
ciating minister is paid by the rents of the sittings. 

Dissenting Chapels. — The places of worship for 
Dissenters in Maidstone are very numerous, there be- 
ing four for Baptists, two for Methodists, one for In- 
dependants, one for Quakers, and one for Unitarians. 



PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND INSTITUTIONS, 
CHAR] I [ES.&c. 

County G.\ue. — Under this heading I shall first 
notice the new county prison, which was completed 



PUBLIC BUILDINGS, &C. 17 

in 1818, at a cost of nearly £200,000. It is situ- 
ated at the northern end of the town, and is built of 
the rag stone, which abounds in the neighbourhood. 
In strength, size, and convenience, this gaol is not 
excelled, or perhaps equalled by any in the kingdom. 
It contains between five and six hundred cells ; and 
within the walls, which enclose about sixteen acres of 
land, are several large manufactories, and a tread 
mill, in which the convicts labour, a large hospital, a 
chapel, dwellings for the governor, and turnkeys, and 
other necessary buildings. The chaplain's house is 
without the wall, and corresponds in position and 
appearance with the porter's lodge on the opposite 
side. While the necessary discipline is strictly ob- 
served, the greatest attention is paid to the morals, 
health, and comfort of the prisoners confined here. 
Their average number is 350, and the annual ex- 
pense of the establishment is between four and five 
thousand pounds. The malefactors of the county 
are executed at the side of the porter's lodge. 

Sessions' House. — Large and commodious courts 
for the assizes, sessions, &c, have been erected in 
front of the prison, with all suitable offices and con- 
veniences for the counsel, attorneys, witnesses, and 
other persons attending on those occasions. 

The Cavalry Barracks built in 1797, and now 
used as a depot for the king's four cavalry regiments 
serving in India, stand on the Rochester road, at a 
short distance from the end of Week-street. They 
are built chiefly of wood, and are most agreeably 
situated on the slope descending to the river side, 
forming a pleasing object in the view from the op- 
c 



18 MAIDSTONE. 

posite bank. About two years ago the establish- 
ment for the improving, and maintaining uniformity 
in the system of riding in his majesty's cavalry, was 
removed hither from St. John's-wood barracks, Pad- 
dington. 

The County Assembly Rooms, which were built 
a few years ago, stand immediately opposite to 
the barracks. The building is of brick, and con- 
tains a large ball room, a card room, and suitable 
apartments for dressing, refreshments, &c. Five 
grand balls, besides several card meetings, take place 
here every season. 

Large Markets, with every convenience for the 
sale of corn and hops, meat, poultry, fish, fruit, and 
vegetables, with all which they are abundantly sup- 
plied, have been recently erected between the High- 
street, and Earl-street, with a fine building of the 
Ionic order in front to the High-street, a part of 
which is used Avith the Mitre tavern, and the re- 
mainder as the Kent Fire and Life office. 

The Kent Fire Insurance Company was esta- 
blished in 1802, and The United Kent Life An- 
nuity Institution in 1824. They are under the 
same management. The governor is the Earl of 
Romncy, and the list of deputy governors comprises 
the names of most of the nobility of Kent. These 
establishments offer all the advantages of similar in- 
stitutions in the metropolis, on the same terms. 
The original price of a share, in either companv 
was £50 ; but the wortli is now much greater, a 
proof of the flourishing state of the establishments, 
each of which pays an annual dividend of £6 per 



PUBLIC BUILDINGS, &C. 19 

cent.; the Fire Office on the first of September, and 
the Life Office on the first of March. It can but 
be highly beneficial to this county to have within 
itself such excellent institutions. 

Town Hall. — At the top of the Middle-row in 
High-street, is the town hall, a large building of stone 
and brick, built in the year 1764, at the joint ex- 
pense of the western division of the county, and the 
corporation of this town. The assizes for Kent, and 
the sessions for the western division of the county, 
were, before the erection of the new courts, held 
here. It is used as one of the polling places for 
West Kent, but is now otherwise almost exclusively 
appropriated to the judicial, and other public busi- 
ness of the town, for which purposes, the corpora- 
tion have recently fitted up the interior in an 
elegant and commodious manner. Some rooms at 
the top of the building were formerly used as the 
town prison, and called the Brambles; afterwards a 
gaol was erected at the workhouse, but the prisoners 
of the town are now confined in the county gaol, the 
corporation paying a sum to the county for their 
maintenance, &c. 

The Gas Works, which are on an extensive scale, 
stand in the West Borough near Newark. They 
were built by a Mr. Gosling, who for some time sup- 
plied the town with gas. He sold them to some re- 
spectable persons of the place, who, in 1823, were 
incorporated by act of parliament as The Maidstone 
Gas-light and Coke Company, The shares origi- 
nally were sold at £50 each, but are now considera- 
bly increased in value. The liberal conduct of the 



20 MAIDSTONE. 

company gives general satisfaction, and it would be 
difficult to find a country town more brilliantly 
lighted than this. 

The Bridge, commonly called the Great Bridge 
to distinguish it from the lesser one over the Len, in 
Stone-street, crosses the Medway from the bottom 
of the High-street. It has now five, but formerly 
had seven arches : the building is old and unsightly, 
and, though some years ago it was widened and repair- 
ed, is fast falling to decay. The western end seems 
of greater antiquity than the rest of the work, and is 
probably a part of the bridge erected here by one of 
the archbishops of Canterbury in the 14th century. 
Till late in the last century this bridge was encum- 
bered with several small houses. At its eastern end 
is the Town Watch-house, a neat building in stucco 
with an iron railing before it. 

There is a neat little Theatre at the lower part of 
High-street, which is open every other year fur forty 
nights. The present manager is the well known 
comedian, Mr. Sloman. 

The Free Grammar School, formerly the hall of 
the Corpus Christi brotherhood, is situated at the 
bottom of Earl-street. The corporation, in the sixth 
year of the reign of Edward the VI. purchased the 
premises of the crown, and founded this school. 

William Lamb, a gentleman of Henry the eighth's 
chapel, gave £1" per annum to this school, the chil- 
dren of poor men having the benefit of the gift. 

Robert Gunsley, rector ofTitsey in Surrey, by his 
will made in 1618, gave the rectory and parso 
of Flair.stead in Hertfordshire, to University College, 



PUBLIC BUILDINGS, &C. 21 

Oxford, for the purpose of founding four scholarships, 
two for this school, and two for that of Rochester: 
natives of the county, and no others, unless of the 
founder's kindred, are eligible, and he directed those 
of his name and kindred to be pi ef erred to any other. 
These scholars have chambers, and £15 per annum 
each. Also by his will he gave to the master and 
fellows of the same college, the appointment of the 
curate of Flamstead, with an annual stipend of £60, 
and directed that, ivhensoever the said curate 's place, 
should be void, one of his own scholars should have 
the refusing of it before any other. 

John Davy, M. D. of this town, gave by his will in 
1649, sixteen acres of land at Newchurch in Rom- 
ney Marsh, then producing £18 per annum, towards 
the support of the master and usher of Maidstone 
school : and Mr. John Rice, in 1805, added the an- 
nual sum of £6, arising from the purchase of the land 
tax of the living of Hoo, in this county. 

The master, who must be a clergyman of the church 
of England, is elected by the mayor and jurats. In 
addition to the endowments, he receives £20 yearly 
from the corporation, who have the government of 
the school. The Rev. Thomas Harrison, A. M. is 
the present master. 

A Subscription Academy was established in 1827 
in this town on transferable shares of £20 each, of 
which there are one hundred; each share gives the 
holder the right of nominating one pupil, for whom 
the sum of 11 guineas, if he be the shareholder's son, 
or otherwise of 12 guineas per annum, is payable 
which includes the use of books, stationery, &c. The 



MAIDSTONE. 

management is vested in a committee, treasurer, and 
secretary eh cted from the proprietors. The head m \s- 
ter, who is required to be a clergyman of the i • 

lished church, receives £300 per annum, the second 
master £200, the third £100, and the fourth £80: 
each has a small addition made to his salary, when 
the number of the scholars exceeds.50. Theschol 
on the above terms, receive instruction in Greek, 
Latin, French, also in Mathematics, and Algebra, 
with the usual course of English education ; and 
the masters occasionally deliver lectures on literary 
and scientific subjects. Music, drawing, and danc- 
ing, are paid for extra. The school-room is near 
the new church, with a convenient dwelling-house 
adjoining for the master, which he has rent-free, 
with other advantages, in addition to his salary. 
The masters are chosen by the shareholders . 

: they have the privilege of taking boarders 
into their houses. The present head master is 
Reverend Thomas S.Green, A. M. 

There are besides several highly res] 
boarding schools for young gentlemen and ladi 

A Literary Institution was established here in 
1831, on the plan of annual subscription. In the 
following year it was remodelled on the system of 
shares; and the society now consists of sharehohh re, 
in whom the property is vested, and who in addition 
to the price of the share, originally £5, pay an an- 
nual subscription of £1. Is. ; life members wh 
£10. 10s.; and annual subscribing members who pay 
for the use of library and reading room, £1. lis. 6d. 
or £l. is. for the use of the library only. An en- 



PUBLIC BUILDINGS, &C. 23 

trance fee of £1. Is. is paid by every shareholder 
and annual subscriber on admission with certain ex- 
ceptions, and the subscriptions are paid in advance. 
The Earl of Romney is president, and there are vice- 
presidents, a committee of management, a treasurer, 
and a secretary. The library already contains about 
2000 well selected volumes, and the reading room is 
well supplied with newspapers and periodical public- 
ations. From the encouragement which this insti- 
tution justly receives, it is confidently to be hoped 
that it will soon be enabled to afford additional ad- 
vantages to the important benefits it already confers. 
The rooms are at the house of Mr. John Smith, 
Stationer, Week-street, who is the librarian. 

A Philosophical Society for the delivery of lec- 
tures on philosophical, literary, and scientific sub- 
jects, has recently been formed in this town. The 
terms of subscription are so moderate, that few will 
be excluded by pecuniary considerations from par- 
taking of the benefits offered by this society : non- 
subscribers are also admissible to the lectures on 
terms to be fixed by the committee. Viscount 
Marsham is the patron of the institution. The old 
concert room in Pudding-lane has been selected for 
the lecture room. 

A Horticultural Society was formed in Maid- 
stone in the spring of the year, for the purpose of 
encouraging, by prizes given at periodical exhi- 
bitions, the cultivation of fruits, flowers, and veget- 
ables. It is a subject of high gratulation to the 
residents in this neighbourhood, that they have an 



24 MAIDSTONE. 

institution, which while by the innocent emulation 
it excites, calculated in its direct effect to increase 
their comfort, and add to their luxuries, cannot i lil 
to engender and extend a kind and social feeling. 
It is scarcely necessary to say that it has received 
the most liberal support. The funds of the estab- 
lishment arise from annual subscriptions, and the 
sums paid by non-subscribers, for admission to the 
exhibitions. 

A Dispensary for supplying the indigent sick of 
Maidstone and its vicinity, with medicine and medi- 
cal attendance, was established in 1830. This 
charity was so liberally supported, that in 1833, an 
Im i U.Mary was added for patients requiring constant 
attention, and the institution is now known by the 
name of The West Kent Imfirmary and Dis- 
pensary. It has a patron, the Earl of Romney, 
presidents, and vice-presidents, and the following 
officers, two physicians, two surgeons, a treasurer, 
a house surgeon, a secretary, and a matron. For 
in-patients, a yearly subscription of three guineas 
makes an annual governor, and a donation of thirty 
guineas, a life governor, who are entitled to recom- 
mend one in-patient yearly, during their respective 
terms of subscription. For out-patients, a yearly 
subscription of one guinea makes an annual go- 
vernor, and a donation often guineas a life govern- 
or, who are entitled to have one out-patient con- 
stantly on the books for their respective terms of 
subscription. This excellent establishment owed 
its origin mainly to the exertions of the late and 



PUBLIC BUILDINGS, &C. 25 

deeply lamented Dr. Smith, whose memory alike on 
account of his great humanity, and eminent skill in 
his profession, will long be gratefully cherished in the 
neighbourhood. The number of patients admitted 
in the year 1833, was 1188, and since the first 
opening of the dispensary, in 1830, to the end of 
1833, no less than 4024. The infirmary, a neat 
brick building, stands on the Queen Anne-road, 
not far distant from the new church. The cost of 
its erection, including the purchase of the land and 
other incidental expences, exceeded £1700. During 
the last year constant accommodation was provided 
for six in-patients, but the number has since been 
increased to twelve. The building is calculated for 
the reception of twenty-four. 

Many charitable persons have built Alms-houses 
for the poor in this town. Sir John Banks, by his 
will, in 1697, directed six alms-houses to be built, 
which he endowed with the annual sum of £60, for 
six poor aged men and women. In 1748 Edward 
Hunter, Esq. gave six houses, with an annuity of 
£8 attached to each, for three men and three women. 
John Brenchley, Esq. in 1789, built four, for old 
men and women, and endowed them with annuities 
of £12 each. And three were given by Mrs. Duke, 
for gentlewomen of reduced circumstances. 

A Large Workhouse was built for the poor of this 
parish in 1720, by Thomas Bliss, Esq., who often 
represented this town in parliament. He expended 
£700 in this charitable work. It is a spacious 
brick building, standing in Knightrider-street near 
All Saints' Church, and contains a suitable dwelling 



M UD3T0] 

for the keeper. Since tlio erection of the original 
building, great additions have been made to it by 
the parish. 

There are several Charity Schools in Maidstone 
for the education of the poorer cl iss, namely, the 
Blue-coat for clothing and educating 53 boys, and 
43 girls, which was established in 17 11 by the ' 
Dr. Woodward, and has for its support a certain 
yearly income of nearly £140 in addition to the 
legacies, donations, and subscriptions; a school 
founded by Sir Charles Booth in 1795, and endowed 
by him with the interest of f 2,000, which has now 
accumulated to £3,000, in which 35 boys and 35 
girls receive instruction; the Green-coat, for cloth- 
ing and educating 12 boys, and the same nuni'i> 
girls, and the Brown-coat for clothing and educat- 
ing 24 boys, and the same number of girls which 
are chiefly maintained by dissenters; large schools 
for boys and girls on the National, and British 
terns, are also supported here by legacies, dona' 
and annual contributions, besides the several Sunday 
schools, maintained by subscriptions, in which up- 
wards of 2000 children receive instruction. 

Besides those already mentioned, there are several 
other charitable institutions maintained by the volun- 
tary contributions of the inhabitants of the town and 
neighbourhood, for the relief of the Bufferings of 
the poor, among these are the societies for sup- 
plying the indigent with food, clothing, and fuel in 
winter, and a lying-in charity. There are also 
several benefit societies, and a well managed savings' 
bank. 



HISTORICAL MATTERS. 27 

HISTORICAL MATTERS CONNECTED WITH 
MAIDSTONE. 

In 1381, Wat Tyler broke open the gaol here, 
and liberated John Ball, a priest and seditious 
preacher, together with the other prisoners then con- 
fined there. This Ball, (more commonly known by 
the name of Jack Straw, which he took from the 
place of his birth, Pepingstraw in the parish of 
OfFham, near this town;)* seems to have been a 
man of great talent; he became the chief coadjutor 
of Tyler, in the rebellion which the latter had then 
raised against Richard the II., in opposition to the 
poll tax. Tyler made him chaplain to the rebel 
army, and promised him the archbishoprick of Can- 
terbury. After the death of his patron, and the 
dispersion of the insurgents, Ball was taken, and 
hanged at St. Alban's.f 

I have already said the inhabitants of Maidstone 
forfeited the charter granted to them by Edward the 
VI., on account of their participation in the Kent- 
ish rebellion, raised by Sir Thomas Wiat against 
Mary. It was here, on the 27th of January, 1554, 
that Sir Thomas first raised his standard, and made 
a public declaration of his intentions, § stating that 
his sole design in taking up arms, was to preserve 
the liberty of the nation, and to keep it from the 
voke of strangers. According to tradition, this pro- 
clamation, was made at the Bear Ringle, the spot 

* See Philipott. 
t See Newton's Hist, and the autiiority cited. 
5 See Burnet's Hist, of the Reformation and Rapin's Hist, of 
England. 



UAIDST01 

now occupied by the weigh-bridge, and one of the 
conduits, jusl below the Middle-row in t lie- High- 
street. Sir Thomas Wi.it then poss< — 'I the M I 
and other considerable property in Maidstone, and 
be was supported bj the Isleys, M , . and 

other persons of wealth and influence in this town.' 
He inarched from Maidstone to Rochester, when 
was joined by a party of the queen's troops which had 
been sent to oppose him, and thence, after rejecting 
an offer of pardon made by the queen, to London. 
at the head of about 4000 men, but on arriving at 
the metropolis, it seems that he did not meet the 
support he had calculated upon, and was des 
by some of his followers; the remainder being sur- 
rounded by the queen's forces, Sir Thomas finding 
hopes of escape vain, surrendered himself prison* r 
to Sir Maurice Berkeley, and was committed to the 
Tower; soon afterwards he was tried and con- 
demned, and after a respite of some weeks behead* d. 
His bodv was quartered, and hi< head exhibited on 
a pole, whence it was stolen by some of his friends, t 
sir Henry Isley, his brother Thomas, and Walter 
Mantell, Wiat's principal coadjutors, are said to 
have been executed in Maidstone, on the spot where 
the design was first publicly proclaimed. § 

The inhabitants of this place appear to have dis- 
tinguished themselves by their firm attachment to 

* See Newton's Hist, of Maidstone, and the authorities there 
mentioned. 

See Rapin and Hume. 

* See Nekton's Hist, of .Maidstone and the authorities cited. 



HISTORICAL MATTERS. 29 

the protestant cause. On the accession of Mary, 
they were among; the first, and most earnest, in pe- 
titioning, and protesting against any alteration in 
the doctrine and service of the church, as settled 
by Edward the VI. This rendered them particularly 
obnoxious to Mary, and, coupled with the part they 
took in Wiat's rebellion, (which partially arose from 
religious motives,) was the cause of their being left 
in a disfranchised state, during the remainder of her 
reign. Many persons of this place were subjected 
to severe persecution, and some even suffered mar- 
tyrdom on account of their faith. In 1554, seven 
persons of this town and neighbourhood were burned 
in the meadow, near the grammar school, and 
several suffered in other places. For a more par- 
ticular account of these victims to bigotry, I refer 
my reader to Mr. Fox's book. 

Kent was one of the counties, which, in 1648, 
formed an association to protect the king from the 
oppression of the parliament. It was intended to 
commence proceedings by petition, and an address 
was accordingly prepared, but an order was promul- 
gated by the parliament forbidding the people to 
sign or present it. On this the Kentish men at once 
flew to arms, and an army of nearly 6000 foot, and 
1000 horse, was quickly raised, to which Edward 
Hales Esq. was appointed general, and Sir Thomas 
Peyton, lieutenant-general. The Earl of Norwich 
afterwards took the command of this force, and 
marched up to Blackheath to effect a junction with 
the King's friends in and about London, but he was 
forced to retire before Fairfax, who had been promptly 



30 MAIDSTONE. 

ordered by the Parliament to suppress this rising, and 
accordingly had marched into Kent with about 10,000 
men. The other counties w ho hud formed the league, 
either from tear, or inability to render aid, left the 
Kentish men unsuccoured, and Fairfax, with whom 
they endeavoured to make terms, refused to treat with 
them. Several skirmishes occurred between detach- 
ments of the two armies, in which the royalists, 
though behaving with great gallantry, were defeated. 
The little army then divided, one part under the 
Earl of Norwich occupying Rochester, and t! 
mainder taking their quarters in this town. Fairfax 
then, having mustered his forces at Mailing, on the 
second of June marched to attack Maidstone. 
Crossing the river at East Farleigh, he fell on the 
town before its inhabitants were aware of his ap- 
proach. The royalist force consisted of about 1000 
horse and foot commandt d by Sir Thomas Mayney, 
and 800 by Sir William Brockman. Some slight 
defences had been thrown up near the place now 
occupied by the workhouse, but these were speedily 
forced, and about seven o'clock in the evening the 
storming of the town itself began. Such was the 
determined bravery of its defenders, notwithstand- 
ing the vast numerical superiority of the parliament- 
ary force, that the battle lasted till almost midnight, 
when those left of the royalists, worn out with fal 
threw themselves into the church, and made the 
best terms they could with their opponents. Lord 
Clarendon speaks highly of the courage of the roy- 
alists in this affair, the unfortui. of which 
however discouraged them from making any further 



HISTORICAL MATTERS. 31 

effort in this county in favour of their unfortunate 
sovereign.* 

Maidstone was within the range of the terrible 
storm, which, on the 19th of August, 1763, desolated 
a large part of Kent and Sussex. It entered this 
county at Tonbridge Wells, and passed completely 
across it, in a north easterly direction, to Sheerness. 
Such was the tremendous fury of this tempest, which 
combined the powers of wind, and hail, and thunder 
and lightning, in their most awful strength, that the 
tract over which it passed, averaging about three 
miles in breadth, was utterly devastated. All the 
fruit, corn and other produce, remaining on the land, 
were entirely destroyed : the trees were stripped of 
their leaves, and their limbs broken. Many houses 
and buildings were blown down, and all that stood 
exposed to its force, more or less damaged. This 
town suffered especially from its violence ; on the 
northern side of the High-street, not only the glass, 
but the very frames of the windows were broken by 
the hail, the accounts given of the size of which in 
this neighbourhood, seem almost incredible : one 
piece is stated to have been found at Banning mea- 
suring nine inches in circumference, and some, picked 
up ten days after the storm, are said to have exceeded 
four inches in girth, resembling rather fragments of 
ice than ordinary hail. A public subscription was 
promptly raised for the relief of the sufferers from this 

* See Clarendon's Hist, of the Rebellion ; — Newton's Hist, of 
Maidstone ; — and Matthew Carter's Account of the expedition 
printed in 1648, immediately after the defeat. 



MAIDSTONE. 

direful visitation, by which their distri latlj 

mitigated. ' 

On the 7th of August, 1765, the prison 
"lit of the county-gaol, then in K i 

Italians nan ed Pings and Benevenuto, then under 

sentence of death, having seized the arms, and mur- 
dered the keeper, John Stevens, and John Fleti 
The prisoners, fifteen in number, proceed* d toToville, 
and thence to Plaxtol, where, with military as 
ance, tlicv were secured, the tWO Italians Ik,.. 
were slain; the others were shortlv ai'terv. 
under a special commission, and executed. f 

On the 1st of June, 1798 O'Coigley, O'Conner, and 
others, were tried here for high treason. The c 
against them was that of being in correspondence 
with the French Republic for the purpi • 
couragingand assisting the proji cted invasion oftht se 
realms by the French. O'Coigley was found guilty, 
and on the 7th was executed as a traitor at Penen- 
den-heath. 

On the 4th of November, 177^. George the III. vi- 
Maidstone, on the occasion of his inspecting 
the camp at Coxheath ; and again on the 1 
1 799, it was honoured by his pi . v. iili i 

ueen ami 1 family, \ 

the Kentish volunteers were reviewed in the 
park. 



* See 

t Seethe entries in the parish register of the burials of John 
Stevens and Join Fletcher, i 



PERSONS OF NOTE. 33 

PERSONS OF NOTE BORN IN, OR OTHERWISE 
CONNECTED WITH THE TOWN. 

There appears to have been formerly a family of 
some importance, which took its surname from this 
place. Ralph de Maydenstane died bishop of Here- 
ford in 1244. In the 4th year of the reign of Edward 
the IV., Walter de Maydenstane obtained the king's 
licence to embattle his mansion in the town of 
Maydenstane : he was made bishop of Worcester 
in 1313, and died in 1317. Ralph de Maydenstane, 
and Richard de Maydenstane, were among the cele- 
brated writers of the middle of the 14th century. In 
1367, William de Maydenstane was abbot, and 
Walter de Maydenstane one of the monks of Fa- 
versham abbey. Thomas de Maydestane was a canon 
of Leeds priory in 1397. Weever speaks of a monu- 
ment in Ulcomb church with this inscription, 
" Here lyeth William de Maydenstone Esq., who 
died April 8th, 1429." In Caxton's life, mention is 
made of Clement de Maydestane, a priest, who 
copied the Ordinal by way of penance.* 

Sir John Mansell, who was rector of this parish 
and died in 1264, appears to have been an important 
personage in his time, and a great favorite of his 
sovereign, Henry the III. His ecclesiastical revenues 
are stated to have been nearly 4000 marks, so 
numerous and rich were the benefices he enjoyed. 
He was special counsellor to the king, castellan of the 
tower of London, chief justice of England, a mem- 
ber of the privy council, lord keeper of the great 

* See Philipott, Newton, and others. 
c 



34 MAIDSTOHl . 

seal, and ambassador to the courts of France and of 
Spain. He also distinguished himself in arm>. wl i< h 
in those days were frequently assumed by church- 
men of high degree. When Alexander king of Scot- 
land visited Henry the III. in 12'3'i, Mansell, who 
was the private chaplain to Henry, entertained the 
two monarchs and their queens, with their respective 
retinues in the most sumptuous style at his own 
house. Yet notwithstanding all his wealth and ho- 
nours he appears to have died abroad in poverty and 
obscurity. 

Wat Tyler, the rebel against Richard II. is sup- 
posed by some to have been an inhabitant of Maid- 
stone, t though the general opinion is that he was of 
Dartford. 

The noble family of the Widviles, or Woodvilles, 
possessed the Mote in this parish from the time of 
Edward the III. to that of Richard the III. John 
de Woodville, who was sheriff and castellan of North- 
ampton, resided at the Mote in the reign of Richard 
the II. and is said by Weever to have been buried in 
Maidstone church, on the north side of the ch;i 
where, some years back, there were the remains of an 
old tomb supposed to be his, but. only a few letters 
of the inscription were legible even when Newton 
wrote his history of the town ; these however in- 
clude a part of the date, - - December, - - .\nn<> 
milleno, c quateb., x - - - He was succeeded 
by his son Richard, afterwards Earl Rivers, who 

* See Newton and Hasted. 
i >eeKilburne's Survey of Kent, — Maidstone. 



PERSONS OF XOTE. 35 

was a firm adherent to his unfortunate sovereign 
Henry the VI. until Edward the IV. obtained the 
crown, when he became as zealous a partizan of the 
house of York. On his being beheaded by the insur- 
gents in favour of Henry, his son Anthony succeeded 
to his honours and estates. Anthony seems to have 
stood even higher than his father in the favour and 
confidence of Edward . On the death of that monarch, 
he, as the guardian of the young Prince of Wales, his 
nephew, became obnoxious to the Duke of Gloucester, 
who, with the assistance of his confederate the Duke 
of Buckingham, arrested him while attending his ne- 
phew onhis return from Wales, and shortly after caused 
him to be executed as a traitor at Pontefract Castle. 
His brother Richard succeeded to the title, but the 
usurper, Richard the III. seized the estates, including 
those in Maidstone, and granted them to Sir Robert 
Brackenbury. On the accession of Henry the VII. 
they were restored to the Earl. Some farther notice of 
these unfortunate noblemen will be found in the third 
excursion, in the account given of the Mote, with 
which their history is more immediately connected. 

Edward Lee, afterwards Lord Archbishop of York, 
was born in this town in the year 1482. His father 
had a mansion in Earl-street, which probably stood 
on the eastern, or upper side of Havock-lane; a few 
years ago the arms of the Lee family were, amongst 
others, to be seen in painted glass in one of the win- 
dows of the portion of an old mansion which still 
occupies the spot. 

Richard Master, B. D. the rector of Aldington, 
Kent, and an eminent philosopher, who was executed 



36 . MAIDSTONE. 

at Tyburn, in 1534, for being concerned in the im- 
posture of Elizabeth Barton, the holy maid of Kent, 
was a native of Maidstone. 

The Knights Wiats of Allington were all so inti- 
mately connected with this town, though not natives, 
that I cannot refrain from introducing their illustri- 
ous names in this place. Sir Henry Wiat, the fa- 
vorite, and privy counsellor of Henry the VII. and 
Henry the VIII. purchased the Mote in this parish, 
in the reign of Henry the VII. His son, Sir Thomas, 
the poet, succpeded to his father's estates and ho- 
nours ; he had great additions made to his property in 
this neighbourhood, by grants from Henry the VIII. 
among which was that of the palace and manor of 
Maidstone. Sir Thomas Wiat, the younger, received 
some further grants from Edward the VI. including 
the rectory of this parish : he, as has been before 
stated, was beheaded, and his estates were confiscated 
to the crown, for rebellion against Mary. Some 
farther notice of these gentlemen will be found in 
the first of the excursions following this account of 
the town. 

John Jenkins, one of the most celebrated musical 
composers who flourished in the reigns of Charles the 
I. and Charles II. was born in this town in 1592. He 
was most famous for his fantasias, which were highly 
admired, both in England and on the continent. Jen- 
kins, though an excellent performer on the viol, con- 
tributed ftftich by his compositions, to the introduc- 
tion of the violin in its place. He was the first 
English composer of trios for two violins and a 
He appears to have died about the year 1660. 



PERSONS OF NOTE. 37 

Andrew Broughton, an attorney, who was one of 
the two clerks to the high court of justice, and as 
such read the charge of impeachment, and also the 
sentence, against Charles the I. was a resident in, if 
not a native of Maidstone. He built a good house in 
Earl-street, (next below the Star Inn yard,) in which 
he resided till the restoration of Charles the II. The 
following curious anecdote connected with this man, 
is preserved by Newton in his History of Maidstone. 
Broughton, on his return to Maidstone after the 
king's execution, attended public worship as usual, 
when the minister, Wilson, in his sermon spoke openly 
and vehemently against the king's murder : "David's 
heart," he said, "smote him when he only cut off 
the skirt of Saul's garment, but men dare now-a-days 
to cut ofFthe head of a king without remorse!" on 
this Broughton precipitately lef, the church, and 
Wilson then added, "when the word of God comes 
home to a man, it makes him fly for it ! " I am in- 
duced to give this anecdote at length for the fine ex- 
ample of forcible eloquence conjoined with high moral 
courage which it affords. After this Broughton never 
attended the church again, but procured an indepen- 
dent minister, who officiated in the free school. The 
commons rewarded Broughton's services by making 
him clerk, and afterwards coroner of the upper bench. 
He attended the proclamation of Charles the II. here, 
but immediately after the ceremony mounted his horse, 
which was in waiting, and quitted the town for ever. 
It appears that he retired, with others who had been 
concerned in the death of Charles, to Vevay, on the 



38 MAIDSTONE. 

Lake of Geneva, in Switzerland, where be died in 
1687, aged 84. His epitaph states that he was twice 
mayor of Maidstone. 

Thomas Wilson A. M., the minister named in the 
preceding notice of Broughton, was curate of Maid- 
stone from 1643 until the time of his death in 1651. 
He had previously been rector of Otham, and while 
in that parish had been subjected to most severe per- 
secution for non-conformity. He appears to have 
been a very popular, zealous and pious preacher, and 
one of the most determined opponents of Archbishop 
Laud, on whose trial Wilson was one of the witnesses 
against him. An account of his life was published 
in 1672, by his friend George Swinnock, A. M. a 
native of this town, to -which I refer my readers for 
any farther information they may require. * 

Thomas Trapham, surgeon to General Fairfax, and 
afterwards to Cromwell, was the son of Thomas Trap- 
ham of this town . He embalmed the body of Charles 
the I. and after sewing on the head, observed that 
he had sewed on the head of a goose. He appears 
to have been a violent republican, and a man of some 
consequence in his party. He died in 1683. 

The name of Thomas Read, of Maidstone, gentle- 
man, appears among those of the witnesses against 
Charles the I. 

The Reverend William Newton author of The 
History and Antiquities of Maidstone, published in 
1741, was born in this town. He died in 1744. 

* This little work has been lately re-published by Mr. J. Brown, 
the printer of this book. 



PERSONS OF NOTE. 39 

William Shipley, to whom the society for en- 
couraging arts, manufactures, and commerce, estab- 
lished in 1754, owed its origin, resided in Maidstone. 
The society presented him with a gold medal having 
on one side an emblematical device and on the other 
the following inscription : " To William Shipley 
whose public spirit gave rise to this society."* Mr. 
Shipley was also eminent for his researches in na- 
tural philosophy. Previously to his residence in this 
town, he had been a painter in London, where he 
formed a school for the teaching of drawing, which 
is allowed to have conduced in a great degree to 
the establishment of the Royal Academy, many of 
the first and eminent masters of which had been 
students in Mr. Shipley's school. He died in 1803, 
at the age of 89 years, and was buried near the north- 
western corner of the parish church. 

William Woolett, the prince of engravers, was born 
in Maidstone in the year 1735. The house in which 
he was born is still standing in King-street, being 
the house on the eastern side of the passage leading 
to Mrs. Duke's alms-houses. It is said that he was a 
waiting boy at the Turk's-head public-house, in the 
Rose-yard, High-street, and that he made his first es- 
say in the art in which he afterwards excelled all his 
predecessors, and has not since been equalled, by 
scratching a head on one of the pewter pots of the 
house, and that the boldness of the drawing attract- 
ing attention, led to his being apprenticed to an en- 

* An engraving was made of this medal ; a copy is in the 
writer's possession, which was presented to his father by 3Ir. 
Shipley. 



40 MAIDSTONE. 

graver. Woolett was engraver to George the III. 
His works are very numerous, and now sell at very 
high prices. Those generally considered his best are, 
the death of General Wolfe, after West ; the Fishery, 
after Wright ; and Niobe after Wilson ; of which 
proof impressions are valued at from £10 to £20. 
Woolett died in 1785, in the 50th year of his age, 
and was buried in St. Pancras' church-yard. There 
is a fine cenotaph, by Banks, erected to his memory 
in the cloisters of Westminster abbey. 

William Jefferys, whom I have before notieed as 
the painter of the altar-piece in the parish church, 
was a native of Maidstone. He was in business in 
town as a general painter, and consequently had but 
little time or opportunity to cultivate his talent for the 
more refined pursuits of the art. He however ac- 
quired some celebrity by his fruit and flower pieces, 
which were exhibited in the rooms of the Royal Aca- 
demy. He died in 1805. 

James Jefferys, the son of William, was also born 
here : he greatly excelled his father in talent as a 
painter. He was first placed under the celebrated 
Woolett, but afterwards studied in the Royal Aca- 
demy, where, in 1773, being then about twenty-three 
years of age, he obtained the annual gold medal for 
the best historical picture. In 1775 he was sent 
to Rome, and remained abroad four years at the 
cost of the establishment. On his return he set- 
tled in Meard-street, Soho. He painted the scene 
before Gibraltar, representing the destruction of 
the floating batteries, on the 16th of September, 
1782 and this is considered his master-piece: it 



PERSONS OF NOTE. 41 

was engraved by Woolett and Ernes. James Jefferys 
was particularly celebrated for his masterly pen- 
drawings in the style of Mortimer, under whom it is 
supposed he studied for a short time while in London.* 
His designs display great originality and boldness, 
and fully justify the opinion of his contemporaries that 
he would arrive at the highest eminence in his pro- 
fession. This anticipation was unfortunately disap- 
pointed by his early death. He died in London, of 
a rapid consumption, on the 31st of January, 1784, 
aged about 34 years. 

George Home, who was made bishop of Norwich 
in 1790, was educated at the free grammar school of 
this town, where he obtained a scholarship at Univer- 
sity college Oxford. He was esteemed one of the 
best Hebrew scholars of his time. I shall have occa- 
sion to speak again of this distinguished prelate in 
the 4th of the following excursions. 

William Alexander F.S.A. was born in this place 
about the year 1766. He studied in the Royal Aca- 
demy, and was appointed draughtsman to Lord 
Macartney's embassy to China in 1792, and 1805 
published The Costume of China, a work consisting of 
forty-eight highly finished and coloured etchings, 

* Mr. J. N. Hughes late of Maidstone, but now residing at 
Winchester, and Mr. S. Lamprey of this town, possess the prin- 
cipal pen-drawings of this artist : among those in the hands of 
the latter are, Pride drawn by the Passions, an allegorical design 
taken from the 4th canto of Spenser's Fame Queene, which 
Jefferys himself esteemed his chef d' leuvre'm this style, and The 
Delwe, a grand drawing, which many connoisseurs consider of 
equal merit with the first mentioned work. 



42 MAIDSTONE. 

illustrative of the dress, architecture, and habits of 
the inhabitants of that country, with a brief descrip- 
tive account of each plate. He also engraved and 
published a print representing the royal review of the 
Kentish volunteers in the Mote park, on the 1st of Aug. 
1799, from a drawing made by himself on the occa- 
sion. He was keeper of the prints and medals in the 
British museum; and under his superintendance 
the publication of engravings from the sculptures in 
that institution was commenced, which work is not 
yet completed. He died at Maidstone in 1816. 

John Pond, F.R.S. the present astronomer royal, 
was educated at Maidstone grammar school. He 
was elected to the office in 181 1 , on the death of Dr. 
Maskelyne. 



TRADE, MANUFACTURES, &c. 

The prosperity and increase of the town of Maid- 
stone, is unquestionably in a great degree owing to 
the facility of conveyance afforded by the Medway, 
which is navigable up to this town by vessels of 
nearly 100 tons burthen. There are between 50 
and 60 vessels, of from 20 to 90 tons burthen, be- 
longing to this town alone, which are employed in 
conveying hops, corn, fruit, paper, timber, stone, 
and other produce of this neighbourhood to Roches- 
ter, Chatham, and London, whence they return 
freighted with coals, grocery, and other articles of 
merchandize, for the supply of Maidstone, and its 
surrounding villages. Many of these, by passing 



TRADE, &C. 43 

through the Thames and Med way junction canal, 
make the passage regularly in less than 30 hours. 

There was formerly a considerable trade carried on 
in this town in linen-thread, the manufacture of 
which was introduced here by the Walloons, who 
under the protection of Elizabeth, fled into this 
country, when driven from their native land by the 
persecution of the Duke D'Alva. Though the ma- 
nufacture is still caried on, it has long since declined 
into comparative insignificance. 

In the last century there were several fulling mills 
in the vicinity of the town, there being a fine vein of 
the earth in the parish of Boxley: the business is 
now removed from this neigbourhood. 

Some years ago there wa.s a large distillery in 
Maidstone, in which a spirit was made that obtained 
great repute from the near resemblance of its flavour 
to that of Hollands. This business has not been 
carried on here for many years, and the distillery is 
now used as a corn mill. 

The principal manufacture of Maidstone and its 
vicinity at the present day is that of paper. The 
mills in this and the adjoining parishes are very nu- 
merous; the two largest are those of Messrs Holling- 
worth, and Messrs Balston and Co. The Maidstone 
papers have long been in high repute in the foreign 
as well as British markets. 

At Toville, about a mile from the town, there is a 
large mill for making linseed oil and oil cake : there 
are besides here large manufactories for damask linen, 
and coarser cloths, blankets, rope, and thread : 



44 MAIDSTONE. 

these, with the paper mills, afford employment to 
many hundred of the inhabitants of this town. 

A large trade is also carried on with the metropolis 
in timber, corn, hops, and fruit, the produce of the 
surrounding district, as also in the hard Kentish rag- 
stone dug in the neighbourhood. 

Markets are held in this town on the second Tues- 
day in every month for cattle ; on every Thursday 
for corn and hops ; on Thursdays and Saturdays for 
meat and poultry; and on every day for fish, fruit, 
and vegetables : with all these commodities this place 
is plentifully and cheaply supplied. The butchers' 
shops here, both by the excellence of the meat, and 
their neatness, never fail to excite the admiration of 
visitors. The right of holding a free market weekly 
on Thursday for corn, &c. was first granted by Henry 
III. in his 45th year to Archbishop Boniface for this 
his manor. The mayor is ex officio clerk of the mar- 
ket. The market for cattle was granted to the cor- 
poration by George the II. in 1751. 

Four fairs are held in Maidstone annually; on the 
13th of February, 12th of May, and 20th of June, for 
horses, cattle, pedlary &c ; and on the 17th of Oc- 
tober for hops : a court of pie-poudre is held for 
their regulation. 

Several Coaches leave Maidstone for London daily, 
between the hours of 5 in the morning and 4 in the 
afternoon, many of which return the same day ; the 
journey is performed in about 3 hours and a half. 
The greatest facility of communication with the prin- 
cipal places in this county, as also with Hastings and 



PARISH, &C. 45 

Brighton in Sussex, is afforded by coaches, vans, 
and other vehicles running regularly to and from 
this town. 

Two weekly Newspapers are published here on 
Tuesday morning : the Maidstone Journal, by Mr. 
J. V. Hall; and the Maidstone Gazette by Mr. R. 
J . Cutbush ; both of which are extensively circulated 
in this and the surrounding counties. 

I shall here give a list shewing the distance of Maid- 
stone, as commonly computed, from the principal 
towns in Kent. As I have already said, it lies nearly 
in the middle of the county, being about 34 miles 
from London, and 42 from Dover. It is about 27 
miles from Canterbury — 42 from Ramsgate, Margate 
or Deal — 32 from Sandgate — 19 from Ashford — 9 
from Lenham — 32 from Romney — 13 from Goud- 
hurst — 14 from Cranbrook — 18 from Tenterden — 14 
from Tunbridge town, and 19 from the Wells — 6 
from Town Mailing — 18 from Sevenoaks — 22 from 
Westerham — 11 fromWrotham — 31 from Greenwich 
or Woolwich — 23 from Dartford — 16 from Graves- 
end — 8 from Rochester, or Chatham — 1 1 from Sit- 
tingbourne — 20 from Sheerness — and 18 from Fa- 
versham. 



OF THE PARISH, HUNDRED, AND MANORS. 

The preceding pages have been exclusively devoted 
to the town of Maidstone, I shall now add some ge- 
neral information respecting the parish, and hundred- 



46 MAIDSTONE. 

which, as the objects of interest not lying in the very 
streets are noticed in the walks following, may be 
given in a few words. 

The parish of Maidstone comprises 4307 acres, in- 
cluding an outlying piece near Stile Bridge, between 
Linton and Marden, which is called Loddington, and 
contains 540 acres. 

The town and parish of Maidstone form a separate 
jurisdiction under the corporation. The hundred of 
Maidstone, in which they are locally situated, and 
were formerly comprised, includes the parishes of 
Boxley, Debtling, Loose, Linton, East Farleigh, and 
East and West Barmins:, with parts of those of 
Bersted Hunton, Marden, and Staplehurst. The 
manor of Maidstone is co-extensive with the hundred. 
A court-leet and a court-baron are held yearly for it. 

The parish contains several manors, or estates 
which were formerly of manorial repute. The Mote, 
now the seat of the Earl Romney, which was also 
called the manor of Shofford from its having belonged 
to a family of that name. Goulds, which lies near, 
and has generally been attached to the Mote estate. 
Jordans-hall, which stood in Stone-street, between 
the turning to Romney Place, and the Town-aims 
public house. Shales court, at the southern or up- 
per end of Stone-street, which at different times be- 
longed to the Pimpes, the Wiats, and the Wallers 
of Groombridge : there is still a portion of the manor 
house standing on the southern side of the lane lead- 
in. to Toville. The manor of East-lane, which 
claims over twenty-five tenements in East-lane, and 



PARISH, &C. 47 

the Middle-row, in High-street. Chillingston nearSt. 
Faith's-green ; the extensive remains of the manor 
house of which present a fine specimen of the orna- 
mented brick style, prevalent in the latter part of the 
16th century. This estate was forfeited to the crown in 
the 1st of Mary, its owner, George Maplesden, being 
concerned in Wiat's rebellion. Buckland, which lies 
on the western side of the Medway, opposite to the 
town. Halfway Oke, or Half Yoke, is a reputed 
manor in this parish, near to East Farleigh bridge. 
This estate was forfeited to the crown on the attaint 
of its owner, Sir Henry Isley, for treason against 
Queen Mary, in joining Sir Thomas Wiat's rebellion. 
Loddington, an isolated portion of Maidstone parish 
near Linton, is also a manor, it had formerly a cha- 
pel, being above 4 miles from the town of Maidstone. 
There was formerly a mansion of consequence in 
this town called Bigons or Digons, the residence of 
the Maplesden family : it stood in Knightrider- 
street, on the site now occupied by the house of 
Mrs. Day. 

The soil of this parish, which is generally a rich 
loam on the Kentish rag-stone, is remarkably fertile, 
and especially adapted for the growth of hops, fruit, 
and filberts, large plantations of which surround the 
town on every side. In addition the rag-stone, fine 
sand, gravel, and brick earth, are dug within the 
bounds of this parish, and an inexhaustible supply of 
chalk is furnished by the neighbouring hills. 

The town lies in the eastern part of the parish : the 
beautiful valley from which it arises is most luxuriantly 
wooded, and cultivated almost to excess, and watered 



48 MAIDSTONE. 

by the Len, and many other smaller streams in their 
course to join the Medway which winds through its 
centre, while it is bounded and protected on the 
north-east by the softly swelling and picturesque chain 
of hills which traverses this county : nor is this lovely 
vale more to be celebrated for the richness of its 
scenery, than for its general healthiness, the air being 
remarkably dry, pure and mild. 

Having now concluded my account of Maidstone, 
I proceed to introduce my reader, in the following 
excursions, to its beautiful and romantic environs. 






: - 

i 


* ■ 




,( 




ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 



NORTHERN EXCURSION. 

No. 1. 

[The following descriptive account of the neighbourhood of 
Maidstone, is written in a more familiar style than that generally 
used in topographical publications. The different objects of interest 
within the average distance of about fourmiles of the town, are sup- 
posed to have been visited by the writer and a friend in eight ex- 
cursions. These divisions will be found marked out in dotted lines 
in the map at the commencement of the book.] 

For this walk we left the town by Week-street, and 
turning clown through the barracks to that delight- 
ful walk, the towing path, followed the course of the 
river to the Gibraltar Inn. My companion being a 
stranger to this part of Kent, was continually break- 
ing forth into exclamations of delight at the varied 
and rich scenery around, which was then consider- 
ably enlivened by the number of pleasure boats glid- 
ing along the Medway. 

We crossed the river to Allixgton Castle, re- 
solved to explore every accessible part of that vener- 
able ruin. Here Sir Thomas Wiat, the elder, "the 
delight of the muses and mankind"* drew his first 
breath ; here he dwelt in youth and manhood blessing 
all around, and here attuned his lyre to those strains, 

* He is thus styled by Anthony Wood, the celebrated biogra- 
pher and historian, and Leland calls him Tncomparabilis. 



50 ENVIRONS OI MAIDSTONE. 

which feeling, purity, and elegance so eminently 
adorn. By such associations of thought was this spot 
hallowed in our eyes, and I trust I shall be pardoned 
for here introducing one of his sonnets, in which "The 
lover laments the death of his love :" in the hope that 
the reader may be induced by this specimen, to seek 
a further acquaintance with the works of one who 
may with justice be styled "the glory of his day"' 

The pillar perish'd is whereto I leant, 
The strongest stay of mine unquiet mind ; 
The like of it no man again can find, 
From east to west still seeking through he went, 
To mine unhap. For hap away hath rent 
Of all my joy the very bark and rind ; 
And I, alas, by chance am thus assign'd 
Daily to mourn, till death do it relent. 
For since that thus it is by destiny, 
What can I more but have a woful heart ; 
My pen in plaint, my voice in careful cry. 
My mind in woe, my body full of smarl ; 
And I myself, myself always to hate, 
Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state. 

I shall now give a brief historical and descriptive ac- 
count of the castle. The moat, of which the gi 
part is still open, and the whole to be easily traced, 
encloses an area of about an acre and a half; but the 
buildings, with the inner court yard, do not occupy 
much more than half of that space. It appears that 
there was a castle or fort here in the time of the 
ons. Allington formed part of the possessions of Odo, 

■ The poems of Sir Thomas Wiat were republished by Pickering 
in the Aldine Edition of the British Poets, of which they form one 
volume. 



NORTHERN* EXCURSION. 51 

Bishop of Baieux and half brother of William the con- 
queror, who, on the bishop's disgrace, granted it to 
Earl Warren, by whom the castle was rebuilt. He con- 
conveyed it to Lord Fitz Hugh, whose daughter married 
Sir Giles Allington,to whom this property passed and 
whose name it has since borne. Late in the reign of 
Henry the III. it was transferred from this family 
to Sir Stephen de Penchester, who again built the 
castle under a licence granted by Edward the I. 
The greater part of the outer works now remaining 
were most probably erected by him : of these, Solo- 
mon's tower, which stands at the southern corner, 
is most worthy of notice. Its diameter within is 
nearly twenty feet ; the holes for the floor-beams 
show that it had at least four stories ; and its re- 
mains are above forty feet in height. From the or- 
namental work left, it appears to have contained 
some of the state apartments; the stone stair, by 
which they were approached, now only reaches the 
line of the first floor. 

The inner buildings are a part of the "faire stone 
house" built by Sir Thomas Wiat, before mentioned, 
and are now divided into two farm houses ; to one of 
which, the Earl of Romney, the owner of the estate, 
has lately added two fine rooms by repairing the old 
turret which overlooks the river. It is to be regretted 
that at the time these repairs were made, a fine 
room, which formed the upper story of the range of 
buildings dividing the courts of the castle was de- 
stroyed, as from what we could learn it was in all pro- 
bability the banquetting room of Sir Thomas Wiat, 
the elder : this room had three win lows of three 



52 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

lights each, towards the principal court, and pro- 
bably the same number on the other side, which 
many years ago was destroyed by fire : the ceiling 
was ornamented with oak mouldings, arranged in 
octagonal forms on the white stucco. The wide- 
arched fire-place on the north-eastern side of the 
court denotes that there "once stood the festive hall." 
In crossing the yard we observed a strong iron ring 
attached to a large stone, which was probably used 
in that favorite, though barbarous sport of our an- 
cestors, bull-baiting. The grand entrance is towards 
the north-west, and is still almost perfect: this appears 
to be the most ancient portion of the ruin : the arch 
is Norman and ribbed with the Caen stone, which was 
much in use in fortified buildings erected by the 
Norman nobility soon after the conquest; it may 
therefore be presumed that this is a part of the castle 
built by Earl Warren, soon after the grant made to 
him by the Conqueror : it was defended by a portcullis 
and two gates. 

I cannot leave this subject without noticing and 
correcting the vulgar and strange confusion made 
with regard to the Wiat family by many persons in 
this neighbourhood, who jumble the three knights of 
that name, (who held this castle and manor,) into one 
person, Sir a Thomas Wiat, who, they say, was a great 
poet, fed by a cat when confined in Solomon s tower, 
and beheaded for rebellion against Queen Mary. 
Now, Sir Thomas Wiat, who headed the Kentish re- 
bels against Mary, and was beheaded for so doing, 
was the son of Sir Thomas the poet, and the favorite 
of Henry VIII. whose father, Sir Henry, purchased 



NORTHERN EXCURSION. 53 

this estate early in Henry the 7th's reign, and he it 
was, who, when imprisoned in the tower of London 
by Richard the III., was preserved by a cat, which 
supplied him daily with food. 

Allington, after the forfeiture by Sir Thomas Wiat, 
the younger, remained in the possession of the crown 
till Elizabeth granted it to the Astley family, from 
which it passed by sale to one of the ancestors of the 
Earl of Romney, its present owner. 

In 'The Wizard,' a poem published in the 2d volume 
of the Censura Literaria, this castle is noticed in the 
following beautiful passage : 

Then let me fly to Medway's stream, 

Where flowing Wiat used to dream 

His moral fancies ! Ivied towers, 

'Neath which the silver Naiad pours 

Her murmuring waves through verdant meads, 

Where the rich herd luxuriant feeds : 

How often in your still recesses 

I've seen the Muse with careless tresses 

Scatter her flowers as Wiat bade, 

In spring's enamell'd colours clad. 

Lov'd castle ! art thou still array'd 

In fame, or do thine honours fade? 

They fade ! Lo from the tottering walls, 

Down in huge heaps the fragment falls ; 

And lonely are thy courts, and still 

The voice that whisper'd to the rill : 

Thy very name is sunk ! how few 

Know it once shone in glory's hue ! 

The water being low, we recrossed the stream at 
the lock, and proceeded through "a vale as fair as 
Eden's garden in its prime," to Aylesford. The 
bridge at this place has a fine central arch of a span 



54 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

of between fifty and sixty feet, which was built about 
eight years ago. In the year 1016, Edmund Iron- 
side, having defeated the Danes at Otford, pursued 
them to Aylesford, where, at a place called Fernham, 
he completely routed them. 

In the Church here are interred many distinguish- 
ed persons of the Cosington, Culpeper, and Banks 
families, to some of whom it contains fine and curi- 
ous monuments. Sir Paul Rycaut the celebrated 
traveller, who was ambassador to Constantinople, 
and wrote a history of the Turks, which Dr. John- 
son speaks of in terms of the highest commendation, 
and several other works, lies buried in the south 
chancel, where there is a monument to his memory. 
Some pieces of armour and tabards hang in the north 
chancel, but the latter are so blackened and decayed 
that the bearings are not distinguishable; they pro- 
bably belonged to some of the Banks family, near to 
whose monuments they are placed. In the church- 
yard near the western end of the church is the grave 
of John Summerfield, Esq., an artist, well known in 
this neighbourhood by his engraving of Rubens and 
his wife, from a picture by that master ; Mr. Sum- 
merfield was a pupil of the celebrated Bartolozzi. 

Near the south-eastern end of the village street 
stands the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, being an 
alms-house for six poor persons and a warden , erected 
and endowed in compliance with the will of John 
Sedley made in 1605. For many years no appoint- 
ment has been made to these alms-houses, but in 
consequence of the investigation recently made by 
the commissioners appointed to enquire into the state 



NORTHERN' EXCURSION. 55 

of public charities, there is ground to hope that this 
building will soon again be applied to the purposes 
for which it was designed by its benevolent founder. 
There is a curious piece of carved work over the gate- 
way in the garden wall, at the back of the Hospital. 

We then proceeded to the Friars, now a mansion 
belonging to the Earl of Aylesford, but formerly a 
Priory for Carmelities, an order introduced into this 
kingdom in the year 1240, by Richard Lord Grey of 
Codnor, who founded this their first Monastery in 
England. In the year 1245, a grand chapter of the 
houses of this order was held here, when John Stock, 
a hermit who dwelt in a hollow tree, was chosen su- 
perior general of the societies. 

Sir Charles Sedley, the poet and dramatist, who 
graced the Court of Charles II. was born in this 
house. The greater part of the old building is still 
in good condition ; the gate house is quite en- 
tire. The entrance hall of the present house was the 
cloister of the Priory, within which the principal friars 
were buried ; among these was Richard de Mayden- 
stane, whom I have noticed in the preceding account 
of the town as an author of celebrity ; he died here 
in 1396. 

The withdrawing room, in the southern wing, was 
the chapel; its length is about forty-five feet. One of 
the smaller apartments is hung with curious tapestry, 
representing portions of the history of the Knight of 
La Mancha. The present Earl does not reside here. 

From this "relic of eld," we bent our way towards 
the hills, over the spot where the Saxons, under 
Hengist and Horsa, A. D.455, about five years after 



56 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

their first landing, were routed by the British king 
Vortimer, after a long and bloody battle, in which 
Horsa, and Catigern, Vortimer's brother, fighting 
hand to hand, slew each other. Tradition says, that 
Horsa was buried at a place near Chatham, now 
called Horsted from that circumstance, and that 
Catigern was interred where he fell. The spot, ac- 
cording to the general opinion, is marked by a monu- 
ment named Kit's Coty House, composed of four 
immense stones, which many, however, suppose to 
have been a druidical altar. 

I shall not here intrude a question upon my reader 
which at best can only have a speculative answer, 
our most learned antiquaries being divided in opi- 
nion as to the original use of these Cyclopean erec- 
tions, commonly designated Cromlechs* and there- 
fore, shall only observe that the commonly received 
opinion in this neighbourhood is, that it was erected 
over the remains of Catigern, as its name seems to 
infer. In the West of England similar large flat stones 
are called Coit stones, and Grose thence, with appa- 
rent reason, derives the name given to these, con- 
sidering Kits Coity House, for so he calls it, simply 
to mean Catigern's House made of Coits.* As my 
reader may possibly object to the word Coity, I beg 
to remind him that this cromlech is variously desig- 
nated by different writers: Camden calls it Keith Coty 

* Camden, Grose, Colebrooke and others consider Kits Coty 
House a sepulchral monument ; but Pegge and other antiquaries 
of note, are of opinion that this and other similar erections, were 
designed for religious purposes. 

t See Grose's Antiquities, Vol. 2. 



NORTHERN EXCURSION. 57 

House; Lambarde and Philipott, Citscotehouse; and 
Kilburne, Kits Cothouse. 

The height of the pile is between nine and ten feet, 
and the upper or largest stone weighs about ten 
tons and a half; but, as it is most accurately 
represented in the print preceding this excursion and 
from its vicinity to the road is too well known to re- 
quire a minute description, I shall only notice the 
art shown in the placing of the stones, which, I be- 
lieve, is not generally observed. The two blocks, 
which form the sides, stand about six feet apart, and 
lean a little towards each other, so that they could 
only fall inwards ; but they are secured from doing 
so by the third set transversely between them ; and 
the three are bound firmly together by the fourth and 
largest, which is placed on their tops as a roof. At 
a short distance below Kit's Coty House, towards the 
south-west, there are several large stones, which lie 
in such a confused heap that their number cannot 
be correctly ascertained; we judged it to be about 
twenty : and on the hill side, to the north-east by 
east of Kit's Coty House, there are several more lying 
near to each other ; both these collections seem to 
have formed circles resembling, on a small scale, that 
of Stonehenge, and, like Kit's Coty House, were 
reared by the Britons either for a sacrificial altar, or 
a monumental trophy. 

Besides those already mentioned there are several 
large stones scattered about the fields in this neigh- 
bourhood, some of which have names given to them. 
About fifty years ago an old spur, of extraordinary 
proportions and curious workmanship, was dug up 



58 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

in a field near Cosington, its length is more than 
twelve inches, including the diameter of the rowel, 
which is above seven, though the part which receives 
the heel is scarcely larger than that of an ordinary 
modern spur ; it is made for the left foot and on the 
cuter side has a shelf on which is the figure of an 
animal passant gardant.* A curious dagger has also 
recently been found near Cosington, the hilt of 
which is richly inlaid with gold in elegant arabesque 
work. 

Cosington was, from the time of John to that of 
Henry the VIII. the residence of an illustrious family 
of that name. Sir Stephen de Cosenton was made a 
knight banneret by Edward the I. at the seige of 
Carlaverock in Scotland. A few fragments only of the 
old mansion now remain to mark its site. At a short 
distance to the north-east of Cosington, in a lovely 
dell, is the head of a beautiful spring, which here, at 
its very source, fills a basin of about eight feet in depth 
with its pellucid waters : it is to be regretted that the 
trees which shadowed this charming spot have re- 
cently been cut down. This stream is also remark- 
able on account of its giving a deep rose colour to 
the stones over which it flows. 

By the path from Cosington we came into the Ro- 
chester road at the point where it is intersected by the 
Pilgrim's Way, a narrow road which extends from 
London, through the middle of Kent, to Canterbury 
Cathedral ; it was the general path of devotees to 

* Spurs of this cumbersome size were worn on state occasions 
in the time of Edward the 3rd. 



NORTHERN EXCLUSION. 59 

the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket, as it afforded them 
an opportunity of paying their respects, en passant, 
to St. Rumwald and the "gracious rood" at Boxley 
Abbey. 

In the north-western angle of the cross formed by 
this road and the highway to Rochester, a stone for- 
merly lay, which was commonly known by the name 
of the White Horse Stone, whereon, according 
to tradition, the Saxon standard, from which the pre- 
sent arms of Kent were taken, was found after the 
battle before spoken of. I recollect having read 
some lines alluding to this circumstance, among 
which, in effect, if not in the very words, were the 
following : — 

Here fell that standard, now the pride of Kent, 
The Rampant Morse; which as the victor seiz'd 
" Here on this blessed spot, be this," heciied, 
" The pledge of patriots that their country's safe." 

Whether this tale be true or false, the arms of this 
county are the same as those which were borne by 
the Saxon chief, Hengist, namely, a rampant white 
horse on a red field : the stone was, some time since, 
broken into pieces and thrown into the road, by the 
order, it was said, of the tenant of the field in which 
ithad lain undisturbed during so many ages. About 
six years ago a British Tomb was found in the mid- 
dle of a large field, at about three hundred yards to 
the north-east of the crossing of the roads just men- 
tioned : the sides were formed by two large stones 
leaning a little inwards, but having a stone bar placed 
so as to prevent their falling together, under which a 
rude arch of chalk and flints covered the skeleton. 



60 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

A large stone formed the floor of the tomb, and each 
end was closed, to nearly the height of the cross bar, 
with smaller blocks. The body had evidently been 
buried with the knees bent, according to the cus-.om 
of the ancient Britons, for the leg bones were lying 
on those of the thighs ; the length of the grave was 
about six feet. This highly interesting relic met 
the same fate as the White Horse Stone, the field 
in which it was found being in the occupation of 
the same person. 

A considerable number of Roman coins, and small 
bronze articles, consisting of fibulae, or small pin 
brooches, instruments apparently for surgical use, 
&c. together with fragments of Roman bricks, tiles, 
and earthen vessels, were, not long ago, dug up 
on the brow of the chalk hill to the north-west of 
the Lower Bell public house. From this discovery 
it seems probable that one of the numerous specu- 
latory towers of the Romans occupied this eminence. 
Among the coins were several of Vespasian, Trajan, 
Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, M. Aurelius, Faustina, the 
elder and the younger, Constantine, Constantius, 
Constans, and Carausius, one of Agrippa, one 
of Claudius, and one small coin of Helen the mother 
of Constantine. Most of these relics are in good pre- 
servation. 

The sun was near the horizon when we left this 
" vale by British courage sanctified ;" we therefore 
quickened our pace, and soon reached the ruins 
of Boxley Abbey, which was founded in 1146, 
by William dTpre, Earl of Kent, for white monks, 
of the Cistertian order. Lambarde gives a particular 



NORTHERN EXCURSION. 61 

description of the figure of St. Rumwald, and the 
Rood of Grace, by means of which "the sillie lambs 
of God's flock were seduced by the false Romish foxes 
at this Abbey ;" but, as the account is long, I must 
refer those who are "curious in such matters," to 
his book. I may only observe that both figures were 
held to be tests of chastity and godly life ; but it 
seems that the Saint always found those who paid 
most for his favor, to be the best disposed persons. 
These figures were publicly exposed and destroyed 
at St. Paul's Cross London, on Sunday, the 24th of 
February, 1538.* 

Richard the I. Edward the I. and Edward the II. 
appear to have been great benefactors to this Ab- 
bey. In the reign of Edward the I. the Abbot of 
Boxley was summoned five times to sit in parlia- 
ment. Edward the II. visited Boxley Abbey in 
the fifteenth year of his reign, and while residing 
there granted the charter to the citizens of Lon- 
don, empowering them to elect a mayor from their 
own body. The walls embrace about ten acres of 
land, within which there are several large ponds. 
The stream which runs through the enclosure pos- 
sesses a petrifying quality ; substances which have 
been immersed in it for two or three months will be 
found completely incrusted with a stony matter. 

The dwelling house, the residence of Lady M. 
Finch, is a modern edifice. The only part of the 
Abbey itself remaining in good order, is a large build- 
ing measuring above one hundred and eighty feet in 
length, and thirty-six in breadth : it probably was 

. . s 

* See Kilburne. 



62 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

the refectory ; the original walnut-tree timbers of its 
roof are still quite sound. There were B< 
entrances to the Abbey, the principal one was towards 
the north west. According to Lambarde, the town 
of Boxley formerly stood chiefly in the neighbour- 
hood of the Abbey. 

On the left hand side of the lane leading towards 
S .nulling from the Abbey, there is a remarkably pic- 
turesque old stone cottage, which was formerly a 
Ch \ pel dedicated to St. Andrew, and was served by 
a priest specially appointed to it : the chapel and the 
curate's apartments, which are attached to it, are 
still almost entire, and are well worth the notice of 
the antiquary. 

The walk from Boxley Abbey to Maidstone is pe- 
culiarly adapted for the twilight hour ; the pat': 
across the Lower Grange farm, and thence, cro- 
the stream, winds through the wood to the lane at 
the back of Park House, (the scat of E. H. Lu>!; 
ton, Esq., which commands a most beautiful and ex- 
tensive view of the valley of the Medway,) and then 
passes through the evergreen alley over Thorn-hills 
to ihe town. 



NORTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 
No, 2. 

The first spot that claimed our attention in this 
walk was Penenden Heath ; noted as having been 
the place for the public mei tings of the county ever 

the time of our S ax m forefathers: its i 



NORTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 63 

was formerly written Pinenden, which is derived from 
the Saxon pinion, to punish, the malefactors of Kent 
having from time immemorial, till within the last few 
years, been executed here. In the 11th year of 
William the Conqueror's reign, "not only the whole 
number of the most expert men of this shire, but of 
sundry other countries also," assembled on this heath 
to settle the disputes between Lanfranc, Archbishop 
of Canterbury, and William's brother, Odo, Bishop 
of Baieux, and Earl of Kent, who, with others, had 
encroached on the possessions and liberties of Lan- 
franc, and the Bishop of Rochester. There were 
present, — Harao, the Sheriff; Goisfrid, Bishop of 
Constance in Normandy, who sat as the King's re- 
presentative ; Egelric, Bishop of Chichester, who, be- 
ing well acquainted with the laws and customs of 
the realm, was ordered to assist, and, on account of 
his great age and infirmity, was brought hither in a 
waggon; the Archbishop, who complained in person ; 
Odo, who defended himself; Richard de Tunebrige; 
Hugh de Montfort ; "William d' Arsic; and many 
others of the English and Norman nobility, besides 
the hardy stout freeholders of the county. After a 
trial of three days, a decision was given in the Arch- 
bishop's favor.* 

A new Shire House was about five years ago 
erected on the heath : it is a neat stone building, 
but its size and shape seems to have been taken too 
faithfully from those of "the poor low shed" of which 
it fills the place. 

We proceeded hence to Boxley, which is one of 

* See Lambarde and other historians of Kent. 



64 i w ikons OP MAIDSTONE. 

the most picturesque villages in this county. The 
loveliness of its surrounding scenes, the retirement of 
its situation, the quid and neatness of its street, 
\\hi( h is shaded by stato ly forest trees and watered 
by a pellucid brooklet, induce me to exclaim, as 
Horace did in allusion to his Tibur, — 

"Oh, may this be my resting place in age!" * 

At the lower part of the village, is Park House, a 
fine old mansion, the seat of Colonel Best, which 
stands in a small, but pretty paddock. The Earl of 
Romney has also a good residence, called Boxi.i v 
House, at the upper end of the street, which is at 
present occupied by his son, Lord Viscount Marsham 
On the side of the hill, behind this mansion, there 
is a summer-house, whence, in a clear clay, the pros- 
pect is exceedingly fine and extensive, and fully 
compensates for the toilsome ascent by which it 
is obtained. 

At the crossing of the roads, which is a short dis- 
tance northward of this summer-house, stands an old 
Stepping Stone, which, from the lines on it, appears 
to have been placed there for the convenience of those 
horsemen who might choose to ease their beasts in 
ascending or descending the hill. The inscription, 
now scarcely legible, is as follows : — 

HIKE I WAS SET 
WITH LAllo\ K 
GREAT.. JVIKii: \s 
yOV PLEASE TW AS 
FOR Vo\ K E \s| . 1()09. 

The last couplet offers an apology for the whimsical 
charity of the founder. I am not posit ive as to the 

' Sit meae sedes utinam senecUE. Lib. 2. Ode 5. 



NORTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 65 

date : the author of "Summer Wanderings" in this 
neighbourhood, has given it as 1409, or 1609; I 
thought the latter. 

Detling was our next pausing place. A few 
years ago some entrenched embankments were dis- 
covered at a distance of about two miles from this 
village, in the direction of Bredhurst, which were 
considered by the antiquaries of this neighbourhood, 
to be the remains of a Roman camp ; they formed 
nearly a square, with a double vallum on the north- 
west side. 1 am informed that a plan was drawn of 
this enclosure by a gentleman residing in this village, 
who carefully surveyed it for that purpose. Several 
fragments of Roman urns and other vessels, were 
found in digging for the foundation of the new par- 
sonage, recently erected in the village street. Det- 
ling also contains a living curiosity — a man named 
Yorke ; and he is indeed a rara avis — a second 
Diogenes in every thing but his deportment, which 
is affable. We paid him a visit at his dwelling, which 
is scarcely larger than the Cynic's tub, not being 
above seven feet square, though it serves him for shop, 
kitchen, study, and dormitory. As we approached 
his door, he eyed us closely : my friend could not 
forbear smiling at his appearance — his long hair, flow- 
ing beard, and strange garb, might have excused this 
expression of surprise ; but the old man seemed of- 
fended, and resumed his work. However, we wooed 
him into good humour ; and had a long conversa- 
tion with him on a variety of subjects, from which, 
we considered that he possessed a quick and vigor- 
ous, though untutored, mind. He showed us a 

E 



I KVIR0N9 01 M UD8TON1 • 

powerful turning lathe, an air pump, and an electrical 
machine with its apparatus, :'ll <>t' his own handiwork. 
II- supports himself by exercising the ti 
whitesmith and turner. It mighl be Biipp 
Buch a man as this had nought to do with vanity; but, 
if I mistake not, Yorkehas ao little pride in the know- 
ledge that all others regard him as one who is n 
they arc; and. moreover, lie sit-ins "fond of the 
music of his own sweel voice." At length, having 
obtained his paxvobiscum, we proceeded to the ruins 
of Thurnham C \m ii . which stand on the chalk lull 
just above the village : a portion of the foundation of 
the outer wall, and some fra of the entrance, 

which was towards the north-east, now alone remain 
to "demand and taunt the Strang There 

are several opinions with regard to the time of the 
erection of Thome Castle. Kilburne Bays, that it 
v, as founded in Stephen's reign by sir Leonard < lod- 
dard ; some suppose it to have been a Saxon fortifica- 
tion, and others a watch-tower and station of the 
Romans/ The last opinion is, in Borne degree, con- 
firmed by the numerous relics of that nation which 
have been dug up about this hill ; besides, the exist- 
ing remains bear marks of a much greater antiquity 
than that Kilburne concedes to them ; for even the 
Mints ofwhich they are built are completely eaten into 
by time and exposure to the weather. belaud, v. ho 
wrote early in the sixteenth century, describes this 
castle as I., i , i _i then a ruin ; so that Goddard must 
have been rather its restorer, than founder. Proba- 
bly he incorporated the remains of the orig 

Philipott and Harris. 



NORTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 67 

tower, with his own buildings, and the more ancient 
portions have outlasted his less durable additions. 
The walls contained about half an acre. On the 
south-eastern side is a hillock formed of fallen build- 
ings, which probably composed the keep. I regret 
that I am unable to collect any further information on 
this subject : so completely has it survived its history, 
that even Speculation scarcely finds a point, whereon 
" to plume her wing for airy flight." 

In a field not far from Thurnham church, in a 
north-westerly direction, the remains of a Roman 
building have been recently discovered. Some 
curious specimens of plain and ornamented stucco, 
together with a few coins of some the later emperors, 
and fragments of earthen vessels, were found within 
the square enclosed by the walls 

Among the knights who attended Richard Coeur de 
Lion, in Palestine, was Robert de Thornham, who ap- 
pears to have distinguished himself in the Crusade, in 
which however, according to Weever, he was slain. 

On our way home from Thurnham, we visited the 
remarkable Sand Caverns at Newnham court farm ; 
and really they are well worthy of notice. These 
subterranean passages are so long and intricate, as to 
render the assistance of a guide necessary. The boy, 
who conducted us, said that the length of the various 
pits exceeded half a mile, and that formerly their 
extent was much greater, more than a half part of 
them having been filled up by the falling in of the 
earth above, in consequence of the excavators having 
imprudently cut away the points of support, where 
some of the passages intersected each other. Those 



68 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

persons who intend to descend far into these caverns, 
should provide themselves with a fire box, as many 
have, by their torches being extinguished, been lost 
in their gloomy and dangerous maze for hours. From 
these pits many of the principal glass manufacturers 
and stationers in the kingdom, are supplied with the 
fine white sand used in their trades. 

Crossing the road from Newnham court, we passed 
by Venters, anciently the residence of a family of 
that name : it now belongs to James Whatman, Esq. 
whose father purchased the estate, and built the pre- 
sent elegant mansion, a view of which is presented 
to the reader with this walk. Several Roman coins 
and urns have, at different times, been found in this 
neighbourhood. The park attached to Vinters is 
small, but exceedingly beautiful, possessing the 
charming variety of hill and dale, wood and water, 
with a pleasing, although not very extensive pros- 
pect. 



EASTERN EXCURSION. 

No. 3. 

From Maidstone our path lay through the paddock 
of Vinters, mentioned in the last walk, to the hamlet 
of The Grove, where there is a vein of very fine 
fullers' earth, which for the last two centuries, has 
been a source of considerable profit to its different 
owners. In the reign of Charles the I. John Ray 
was pilloried and fined £2000, by the sentence of 



■ 







ea 



: 



EASTERN EXCURSION. 69 

the Star Chamber, for exporting this earth contrary 
to the king's proclamation.* Many years ago several 
Roman remains were discovered here, among which 
were some coins of Adrian and a funeral urn. 

Bersted followed next in order ; this truly Old 
English village surrounds a large and very pleasant 
green, and has many good houses. Small white crys- 
tals are frequently found in the sand in this parish, 
they are exceedingly hard, and when polished arc 
very brilliant; they are known in this neighbourhood 
by the name of Bersted diamonds. This place be- 
longed to the illustrious family of the Berties, from 
whom it took its name. It seems to have been in 
their possession as early as the time of the Saxon 
king, Ethelred, in which Leopold de Bertie, who was 
constable of Do\er castle, having a quarrel with the 
monks of Canterbury respecting the tithes, in which 
his son was slain, appealed for redress to the kinu' ; 
he however sided with the Archbishop, Alphegus, 
and Bertie, then induced Suene, king of Denmark, 
to invade this kingdom, and returning with an army 
of Danes, he took Canterbury, made the Archbishop 
prisoner, and, in 1014, revenged his son's death by 
killing every tenth monk in the Abbey. Soon after, on 
the defeat of the Danes, the son of Bertie retired to 
the French court, where his descendants remained 
until Philip de Bertie came over with Henry the II. 
who reinstated him in this his patrimonial estate, 
which continued in the hands of his family down to 
the time of Henry the VII. From this Philip de 

* See Hume and Hasted, and the authority cited. 



70 ENVIRONS 01 MAIDSTONE. 

Bertie descended the Dukes of Ancaster, now ex- 
tinct, the Earls of Abingdon, the Barons of Wil- 
loughby and many other illustrious families.* 

In the Church was buried Master Freeman Sonds, 
(second son of Sir George Sonds, of Lees court.) 
This youth was executed at Penenden Heath, on 
the 21st of August 1655, for the murder of his elder 
brother. The tower is ornamented with several gro- 
tesque heads, similar to those seen in the halls of col- 
leges and other buildings of the 12th and two follow- 
ing centuries; and on its top are the figures of three 
animals, which some persons, for the sake of analogy 
with the name of the place, would have to be bears ; 
but, from the positive dissimilarity of their forms, 
there can be, at all events, but one figure of that 
beast : we allowed that each might with equal pro- 
priety claim the distinction of the name, and con- 
cluding, therefore, that they were intended to repre- 
sent creatures of classes now extinct, we left them in 
their "pride of place," and proceeded on our way. 

On arriving at Hollingeourne, we first visi- 
ted the Church, the interior of which is decorated 
with some very fine and curious monuments. At 
the eastern end of the northern aisle there is an elegant 
chapel, beneath which is the vault of the Culpepers, 
formerly of this place: the walls of this chapel are 
almost covered with black marble shields, intended 
for the arms of those members of that family who 
might be buried here, but, with the exception of two, 

* See Francis Nichols' British Compendium or Rudiments 
of Honour.— 1731. 



EASTERN EXCURSION. 71 

they are unlionored : in the centre of the pavement 
there is a splendid specimen of sculpture ; it is a mo- 
nument of white marble in memory of Lady Elizabeth 
Culpeper, who died in 1638 ; her figure lies at length 
on the top of a raised tomb. The whole of the work 
is exceedingly fine, but the pre-eminent skill of the 
artist is shown in the most difficult part of this task, 
the drapery, which has that appearance of lightness 
and graceful ease, which can alone be given to stone 
by a master spirit. The chancel also contains some 
good monuments of the Culpepers, and one of Sir 
Martin Barnham and his wives. We could not ob- 
tain a sight of the superb plate and furniture of the 
altar. There are many other remarkable memorials 
of the dead in this church ; but our time was so limited 
that we could not give them the attention they justly 
claimed. 

At a short, distance above the church in the village 
street, stands an old brick mansion of the Elizabethan 
age, which exhibits a remarkably fine specimen of 
the architectural style of that time. Hasted says that 
the rector of Hollingbourne claims the use of two 
rooms in this house. 

Sandys, the translator of Ovid's Metamorphoses,* 
speaks, (in the notes to the eighth book, while treat- 
ing of the punishment of Eresicthon,) of one Wood, a 
labourer of this parish, who required as much food as 
twenty ordinary men. The author, on the testimony 
of eye witnesses, says that Wood eat at one meal, 
a whole hog, and at another, thirty dozen of pigeons! 

* See the original folio edition — 1632. 



72 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

being a needy man he "could hardly compasse better 
food then the livers of bullocks." 

For the sake of the prospect, we ascended the hill 
to the elegant villa of Baldwin Duppa Duppa, Esq. 
whence there is a most enchanting view of the valley, 
including Hollingbourne, Harrietsham, Leeds park 
and village, Otham, Bersted and their vicinities. 

Hollingbourne having no farther attractions, we 
turned to Leeds Castle, which is one of the most 
interesting objects in this part of Kent. The northern 
view of this noble pile, has been selected as the illus- 
tration for this division. The park is generally 
allowed to be the most beautiful in the county : its 
surface is pleasingly broken into hill and valley, richly 
wooded with fine forest trees, and watered by the Len, 
which winds through its centre, falling occasionally 
in cascades, and spreading into large ornamental 
ponds. The castle is encircled by a very wide moat : 
the greater part of the present building was erected 
a few years ago, and corresponds in style with the 
remaining portions of the old edifice, which seem to 
be of the time of Henry VIII. There are, however, 
some relics much more interesting on account of their 
antiquity : the shattered and ivied walls of the bar- 
bican, and the sullen grandeur of the gateway tower, 
carry the mind back to the times of feudal pomp and 
power : they are supposed to be remnants of the castle 
built here soon after the conquest by the Crevequers, 
on the site of an Anglo-Saxon fort. On the right 
hand side of the court, within the gates, is a large 
square building, said to be a part of the additions 
made in the time of Edward III. to this castle, at the 



EASTERN" EXCURSION. id 

expense of the crown, under the superintendance of 
William Wykeham, "the good Bishop of Winches- 
ter," who gained that honorable title by expending a 
portion of the vast revenues of his bishoprick in 
founding hospitals for the sick and poor, and schools 
for the encouragement of learning. 

There are many remarkable persons and events 
connected with the history of this place, of which I 
cannot forbear taking a brief review, though, in so 
doing, I depart, in some measure, from my usual con- 
ciseness. The first record we have of this place men- 
tions that one Ledian, chief counsellor of the Anglo- 
Saxon king, Ethelbert the II. built a fort here, about 
the year 865,* which was soon after destroyed by the 
Danes. The name of this castle and parish is a cor- 
ruption of that of Ledian. In the early part of the 
Conqueror's reign this place was in the possession of 
his brother, Odo, on whose disgrace it was given to 
the Crevequers, one of whom in the same reign built 
a castle on the ruins of that of Ledian. Kilburne 
ascribes that work to Sir Hugh de Crevequer, and 
his son Robert. In the reign of Stephen, dur- 
ing the contest between that king and the empress 
Matilda, Robert, Earl of Gloucester, her natural 
brother, on a report of Stephen's death, seized this 
castle for the empress; "but King Stephan used 
against him such force and celeritie, that he soon 
wrested it out of his fingers. "f 

* See Kilburne ; — Ethelbert the 2nd. commenced his reign 
in 861. 

t See Lambarde. 



74 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

From the family of the Crevequers it passed to 
the Leybournes, of whom the last possessor surren- 
dered it into the hands of Edward I. it being consi- 
dered, on account of its great strength, a necess; ry 
appendage to the crown : it was settled by that king 
on his second queen, Margaret, as part of her dower. 

Edward the II. afterwards granted this castle and 
manor in fee to Bartholomew de Badlesmere, who, 
from his immense wealth, was named "the rich lord 
Badlesmere of Ledes :" he joined the Earl of Lancas- 
ter and the barons in their attempt to overthrow the 
Spencers, in the year 1321. The king, anxious to 
wrest this strong hold from Badlesmere's hands, in- 
structed his queen, (the infamous Isabel,) to gain pos- 
session of it, if possible. For this purpose she set 
out with a large train, as if "minding a pilgrimage 
towards Canterburie," and approaching Leeds castle 
about sunset, sent her marshal to prepare lodgings 
therein, for herself and her attendants, in the king's 
name. Badlesmere was then in the north of England 
with the malcontents, having intrusted the custody 
of his castle, family, and treasure to Thomas Culpe- 
per, his castellan, who proudly and peremptorily told 
the queen's officer that " neither the queen ne any 
other person should be lodged there, without the 
commandement of his lord the owner." Isabel, on 
coming up, attempted to force an entrance, but was 
repulsed, and some of her attendants were slain. 
The King, vexed at the failure of his plan, hastily 
raised an army in London and Essex, and personally 
invested the fortress. Badlesmere persuaded his 
confederates to march to its relief; but they advanced 



EASTERN EXCURSION. 15 

no farther than Kingston, and, according to Sir 
Thomas De la More, endeavoured to make terms with 
Edward, by the mediation of the Bishops of Canter- 
bury and London. The king rejected their propo- 
sals, and stormed the castle, which, after a despe- 
rate struggle, was taken. Culpeper and the men 
under his command were immediately hung, the 
family of Badlesmere were sent to the tower of Lon- 
don, and the treasure and munitions appropriated 
by the king to his own use. Some writers assert 
that the garrison surrendered the castle for want of 
food. In the following year, Edward, having routed 
the rebels at Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire, and taken 
Badlesmere (amongst others) prisoner, sent him to 
Canterbury, where he was drawn, hanged, and be- 
headed ; his estates were confiscated to the crown, 
in the possession of which this portion of them con- 
tinued to the reign of Edward VI.* 

Edward III. caused this castle to be repaired, and 
its splendor and strength so much increased, that 
it became a favourite residence of his successor, 
Richard II. Here too, it is said, that unfortunate 
prince was confined after his deposition, prior to his 
removal to Pomfret.f His successor, Henry the IV. 
also spent a short time here, while the plague raged 
in London. Henry the V. committed his step mo- 
ther, Joane, to Leeds castle for conspiring against his 
life. In the reign of Henry VI., Eleanor, Duchess of 
Gloucester, was tried here before Archbishop Chichely 

* See Camden, Lambarde, Philipott aud others. 
t See Kilburne. 



76 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

for sorcery. On the accession of Pochard the III. 
Sir Thomas Bourchier, who resided at this castle, 
was one of the commissioners appointed to take the 
oaths of allegiance of the inhabitants of this county. 
In the reign of Henry the VIII. Henry Guildford, Esq. 
■who held this estate of the crown, rebuilt a great part 
of the castle at the king's cost. 

I have already stated that this place formed a part 
of the possessions of the crown till the time of Ed- 
ward the VI.: that king granted the fee of it to the St. 
Legers : they alienated it to the Smyths, who sold it 
to the Culpepers, one of whom, Lord John Culpeper, 
is famed for his faithful attachment to the cause of 
the Stuarts; he shared the exile of Charles the II. 
during which Leeds castle was used by the republi- 
cans as one of their places of rendezvous, and as a 
state prison for the principals of the royalist party. 
From the Culpepers this estate passed by marriage to 
Thomas, the fifth Lord Fairfax, who was the son of 
the cousin of the celebrated parliamentary general, 
Thomas, third Lord Fairfax, of whose deeds, so 
much, — of whose motives, so little, is known. Robert 
the seventh Lord, dying without issue in 1793, left 
this castle, with his other estates, to his nephew the 
Rev. Denny Martin, D. D., who assumed the name 
and arms of Fairfax: on his death it passed to his 
brother, General Martin, who by his will left it to 
Fiennes Wykeham, Esq. who has since taken the 
surname of Martin, and is the present owner.* 

* For further historical information respecting Leeds castle, see 
Camden, l.ambarde, Hasted and others. 



EASTERN EXCURSION. 77 

On the 3d of November, 1778, George the III. and 
his queen, after having reviewed the grand camp at 
Coxheath, visited Leeds castle, where on the follow- 
ing day, they received the nobility and gentry of the 
neighbourhood. 

At a short distance to the westward of Leeds park 
is Battle Hall, a building evidently of very ancient 
date : in one of the walls there is a large Gothic arch, 
which rises to the top of the house; the piers of this 
arch are ornamented with curious figures : there is 
also a place for holy water : these, and several other 
remains, indicate that the edifice was designed for re- 
ligious purposes: one of the rooms has a carved 
mantel-piece of fine workmanship. It is probable 
that this was a chapel under the priory of Leeds. 
When Hamon, or Hugh de Crevequer commenced 
building Leeds castle, he placed three canons in a 
chapel which he erected at the north-western side 
of it, who were removed by his son Robert, to the 
priory, which he founded in this parish in the reign 
of Henry I.* Some suppose that Battle Hall stands 
on the site of Crevequer's chapel ; but, as Hasted 
remarks, no part of the present building seems suffi- 
ciently ancient to give any support to this opinion, 
nor does its situation correspond with the above 
statement of that of Crevequer's chapel. 

The Church stands between Battle Hall and the 
village; it has a singularly low and strong square 
tower, which from its style is generally supposed to 
have been built soon after the conquest. It was 

* See Kilburne and others. 



Ts ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

probably erected by Robert de Crevequer when he 
founded the priory. This church contains several 
curious tombs of the Merediths, the possessors of 
Leeds Abbey, from the time of James I. to that of 
George II.; and a most costly monument of white 
and black marble, to the memory of Lady Jane, 
Dowager Countess of Carbery, who died in 1643 ; 
her first husband was Sir Wm. Meredith, Bart.: this 
tomb is almost covered with heraldic and other 
ornaments, but still has a very clumsy appearance. 

The site of the Abbey or Priory is immediately 
behind the south-eastern side of Leeds-street, but 
nothing exists now, save a few fragments of the walls, 
and the stone arch of the water-way of the mill, which 
belonged to the establishment. 

This priory was founded in the yearll 19, by Ro- 
bert de Crevequer, (of whom I have frequently before 
made mention,) for black canons of the order of St. 
Augustine.* At the time when Henry VIII. thought 
it expedient " to turn church lands to lay" this was 
one of the principal of the lesser monasteries. It is 
said to have had a large and magnificent church, 
which contained a celebrated figure of the Virgin, 
that of course possessed all the miraculous powers 
necessary to make money pass from the hand of the 
admiring and credulous devotee, to that of the priest. 
Several of the Crevequers, Guido Mone, Bishop of St. 
David's in the reign of Henry the IV., and many 
other persons of note were buried in this church, of 
which now the place even is unknown. In cleaning 
one of the ponds on the abbey lands some years 

* See Lambarde and Philipott. 



EASTERN EXCURSION. 79 

ago, a small dagger of great antiquity was found ; 
the. hilt appears to have been ornamented with 
chased work, and the shank is bound with twisted 
silver wire. 

The most pleasant path from Leeds to Maidstone, 
lies through Caring- street, and the valley at the back 
of Millgate, the late residence of the Rev. Charles 
Cage, whence it turns into the turnpike road at Link 
or Lilk hill. 

Most persons in this neighbourhood are well ac- 
quainted with the beauties of the Mote Park, though 
the free enjoyment of them has long been forfeited by 
the public, in consequence of the abuse of the privi- 
lege by many of those who availed themselves of it. 

This manorial estate, in the time of Henry the III. 
formed part of the extensive possessions of the Ley- 
bournes. In the early part of the reign of Edward 
the III. it appears to have belonged to John de Shof- 
ford, by whose family name it was called. It was 
afterwards held by Ralph de Ditton, from whom it 
passed to the Burghersh family : Bartholomew de 
Burghershwas one of the first knights of the garter 
and held many high offices. In the latter part of this 
reign the Mote became the property of the Wydevilles 
or Woodvilles. John de Wydeville possessed it in the 
reigns of Richard the II. and Henry the IV. His son 
Richard was made a baron, by the style of Lord Ri- 
vers, Grafton and De la Mote, by Henry the VI. and 
Earl Rivers, by Edward the IV. who had married his 
daughter : that monarch also conferred the highest 
honors and trusts of the state upon him. The good 
fortune of Lord Rivers excited the jealous hatred of 



80 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

the nobility, and he was beheaded at Northampton, 
without trial, by the people who had risen, under the 
Earl of Warwick, in favor of the dethroned Henry. 
When Edward had quelled this rebellion, Anthony, 
son of Richard Earl of Rivers, succeeded his father 
in the king's favor ; he was made a knight of the 
garter, governor of Calais, constable of several cas- 
tles, captain-general of the king's forces, both by sea 
and land, chief butler of England, and governor of 
the Prince of Wales, his nephew. On the death of 
Edward the IV. he fell a victim to the diabolical de- 
signs of Richard Duke of Gloucester, (afterwards 
Richard III.) The unfortunate Anthony was suc- 
ceeded by his brother, Richard, Earl Rivers, from 
whom the Mote and his other estates in Kent were 
wrested by Richard the III. and bestowed on Sir 
Robert Brackenbury, constable of the tower of Lon- 
don : Henry the VII. restored them to the Earl. lie 
left them to his nephew, Thomas Grey, Marquis of 
Dorset, who sold this part of them to Sir Henry Wiat, 
a privy counsellor of Henry the VII. His grandson, 
Sir Thomas Wiat was executed for rebellion in the 
first year of Queen Mary's reign, and the Mote, 
among his possessions, was confiscated to the crown. 
In the time of James the I. Sir Thomas Caesar, one 
of the barons of the exchequer, owned this seat. His 
family alienated it in the reign of Charles I. to Sir 
Humphrey Tufton, brother of Nicholas, 1st Earl of 
Thanet.* 

About the year 1690, it was sold by one of this 

* See Philipott, Newton and Hasted. 



EASTERN EXCURSION. 81 

family to Sir John Marsham, of Whorne's place, in 
Cookstone, Bart. He was succeeded by his son of 
the same name, on whose death without issue, this 
and his other estates passed to his uncle, Sir Robert 
Marsham, of Bushey hall, Hertfordshire, whose only 
son, Sir Robert, was made a peer in 1716, with the 
title of Baron Romney. His son and heir, Robert, 
Lord Romney, was L.L.D. F.R.S. President of the 
Society of Arts, and Lieut. Colonel of the West Kent 
militia. He was succeeded on his death in 1793, by 
his eldest son, Charles, who, in 1799, built the present 
mansion, the situation of which is in every respect 
preferable to that of the old house, which stood in the 
valley on the other side of the moat. 

On the 1st of August, 1799, his lordship enter- 
tained king George the III. his queen, the royal 
family, the principal officers of state, a great number 
of the nobility and gentry of the kingdom, and the dif- 
ferent corps of the Kentish volunteers, making collec- 
tively nearly 6000 men. This grand fete was given 
on the review of the volunteer force of the county, by 
his majesty. Hasted, at the end of the 10th volume 
of the octavo edition of his history of Kent, has given 
a very particular account of the review and dinner, 
as well as of all other matters connected with them : 
my limits will only allow room for a brief summary 
of the bill of fare : — the principal dishes were in 
number about 2,200: seven pipes of wine were 
bottled off to supply the tables, near which were 
placed 16 butts of the best ale, and the same quantity 
of good beer, to be resorted to by the guests at their 

F 



82 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTON] . 

pleasure; besides which, li is Lordship's cellar was 
open in case of a further supply being necessary. 
Hasted says that the length of the several tables 
added together, was 13,333 yards; but I conceive 
the word yards was put by mistake for feet . With 
the surplus of this splendid banquet, above 600 poor 
families, in Maidstone and its neighbourhood, were 
relieved on the following day. His majesty, by 
the commander in chief, and afterwards by an of- 
ficial letter, expressed his gratification in the warmest 
terms. 

Soon after the review the corporation of Canter- 
bury voted the freedom of the city to his Lordship, 
and in 1801 he was created Earl of Romney. In the 
same year the officers of the Kentish volunteers 
erected an elegant Pavilion, on the spot where the 
royal marquee stood at the review, to commemorate 
that event, and to mark their high respect for his 
Lordship's character, and their gratitude for his kind 
attention to their corps on every occasion, and parti- 
cularly for his unparalleled hospitality on the 1st of 
August 1799. This building is of a circular shape 
with a dome roof. 

At the southern part of this park there is a ca- 
vern or subterranean passage of great length, which 
seems to be a work of art, though it would be difficult 
to say for what use it was designed ; on this point 
there are several absurd speculations current in this 
neighbourhood, which are not worthy of repetition. 
Caverns of a similar description found in England, 
are supposed by some writers to have been dug by 
the Britons or An°lo Saxons for secret erranaries or 



SOUTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 83 

places of concealment.* The passage is generally 
about seven feet high and six broad, but in some 
places is much contracted, and in others expands 
into large cavities or rude chambers. The soil 
through which is passes is the hard rag-stone. 

The late earl died in 181 1, leaving one son, Charles, 
the present earl, and three daughters, Frances, Har- 
riet, and Amelia Charlotte : Lady Frances, in 1805, 
was married to Sir John Riddell, of St. Boswell's 
Green, Scotland, Bart., since deceased : Lady Har- 
riet Marsham died about nine years ago. The 
present earl has within the last few years repaired 
the Mote house, and built a stone wall round his ex- 
tensive park. 

I must not conclude this excursion, without no- 
ticing a chalybeate spring which rises under Turkey 
mill, and is said to be as strongly impregnated as 
those ofTunbridge Wells. Another little rill, which 
runs into the Len below the Artichoke public house, 
is said to possess a petrifying quality. 



SOUTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 

No. 4. 

For this walk we left the town by the Sutton road, 
from which we turned into the path which passes 
through Willington-street to Otham. 



* See Camden's account of those near Faversham in this 

county. 



84 IN VI RONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

The view from Otham Church-yard is not sur- 
passed, if it be equalled, by any other in thi> neigh- 
bourhood : in the foreground lies a valley possessing 
every scenic charm but that of water : on the i 
ground beyond, to the left, are the hamlets of The 
Grove and Wavering; in front, Bersted church, 
Thumham, and Aldington place; and, to the right, 
the paddock of Millgate, with its groves of oaks : 
while "the bluehills in the distance rise" as the lovely 
boundaries of the prospect. 

Not far from the church is the mansion of Gore 
Court, now the property of the Rev. Win. Home, 
rector of the parish. Over the mantel, in the hall 
of this house, there is a fine specimen of antique carv- 
ing in oak; its devices are chiefly floral, and are 
wrought in a most masterly style ; at the lower part 
the heads of a king and queen are introduced, but 
they are not sufficiently good likenesses of any 
English monarch and his consort to determine the 
precise age of the work : it may, however, be safely 
said to be of a date prior to the time of Henry VIII. 
George Home, Bishop of Norwich, was born in this 
house, on the 1st November 1730. He received his 
early education at Maidstone grammar-school, whence 
he went to University Coll. Oxford. This learned pre- 
late was one of the most successful opponents of 
Hume, and is well known in the literary world by his 
numerous theological and philosophical writings. His 
most popular work is the Commentary on the Book 
of Psalms, published in 1776. He was made Dean 
of Canterbury in 1781, and Bishop of Norwich in 
1790. He died on 17th January 1792, and was 



SOUTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 85 

buried at Eltham. William Henley, Esq. the late 
owner of this estate, married the Countess of Berg- 
hausen in Germany, who was celebrated for her 
beauty and accomplishments. 

In the reign of Richard the II. a monastery was 
founded in this parish for Prcemonstratenses, or 
Avhite canons, by one Ralph de Dene, but the es- 
tablishment was soon after removed by his daughter 
to Bayham in Sussex, where an abbey was built on a 
piece of land given by Sir Robert de Thornham.* 

FromOthamwe proceeded to Langley. A spring 
rises in the park lands in this parish, which,, after 
running about a mile, sinks into the earth at Brissing 
farm, and takes a subterranean way for nearly half a 
mile, but bursts forth again below Boughton Quarry 
and thence flows on without any farther break till it 
joins the Medway. The connection of the stream 
has been frequently proved by the re-appearance at 
Boughton of oil and pieces of wool thrown into the 
water at Brissing. 

In the year 1472, (according to Kilburne), a new 
spring broke forth in Langley park : Leland gives 
a curious account of this brook ; — he says, that the 
pit in which it rose would, when any battle was about 
to take place, be dry ; but, when no battle was near, 
it would be full of water, however dry the weather 
might be. We could not find this mysterious and 
quaker-like spring. f 

* See Kilburne and Philipott. 
t There are several streams in this county, which, like this, 
only flow occasionally ; they are commonly called nailbourns ; 
there is one in the parish of Addington. 



86 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

We then took the high-road to Town Sutton, or 
Sutton Valence. The latter addition to the name 
of this place is derived from the Valences, Earls of 
Pembroke, who held the manor in the reigns of Henry 
III. and of the first and second of the Edwards. 

A few years ago, a Roman Burying Ground of 
large extent was discovered immediately above the 
street of Sutton ; it contained about 100 earthen and 
glass vessels ; among which were several parterse, 
dishes, bottles, and urns in a perfect state ; many of 
the urns had ashes and fragments of human bones 
in them ; some of the pieces are very highly glazed 
and a few have names upon them, which, however, 
as they were evidently impressed at the pottery, were 
probably those of the makers. The ground was 
nearly square, and bounded on every side by a stone 
wall ; at one corner there was a small square walled 
off from the rest of the enclosure. Most of the valu- 
able relics collected from this spot are in the posses- 
sion of a gentleman in Maidstone, whose kindness 
enabled me to give this account of them. 

At the eastern end of the village stand the ruins 
of The Castle, which, as some suppose, was built 
early in the reign of Edward I. by William de Va- 
lence, Earl of Pembroke, then owner of this place.* 
Others, however, consider it to be of much greater 
antiquity, and many, from the appearance of its re- 
mains and the materials of which they consist, 
which are quarry stone, flints and thin bricks, are of 
opinion that it was erected by the Romans as a watch 

* See Philipott. 



SOUTH-EASTERN EXCURSION. 87 

tower, and converted after the conqnest, by the 
nobles who possessed the Sutton estate, into a for- 
tress for their adherents in times of commotion. 
This opinion, with regard to the origin of Sutton 
castle, is much strengthened by the discovery of the 
Roman burying ground. 

The now remaining fragments of this fortress are 
luxuriantly enveloped with ivy and form an exceed- 
ingly picturesque object, as the reader will observe 
from the accurate view accompanying this account 
of them. 

Edward I. sent Aymer de Valence, in 1306, to 
quell the third insurrection of the Scots against the 
dominion of England. He, suddenly attacking them, 
at Methven in Perthshire, after an obstinate conflict, 
completely overthrew them, though led by the gallant 
Bruce, who in vain exerted his utmost power and 
skill, and exposed himself to every danger; thrice he 
was dismounted, yet still continued the fight, until he 
was obliged to fly, his army being entirely routed. 
After this battle, Bruce concealed himself in the 
Western Isles, until a favorable opportunity presented 
itself, in the following reign, to liberate his country 
from the English yoke.* 

In the 2nd year of Henry IV. the castle and 
manor of Sutton Valence passed to Reginald Lord 
Grey of Ruthin, whose quarrel with Owen Glendower 
led to the war between the Welsh, headed by that 
chieftain, and the English.* Lord Grey being taken 
prisoner by the Welsh, this with other estates be- 
longing to him, was sold under the king's licence, 

* See Hume. 



88 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

to pay his ransom which was fixed at 10,000 
marks. 

A new Church was built here about eight years 
ago, on the site of the old one. 

There is a Free Grammar School in this place, 
which was founded, in 1578, by William Lamb, a 
native of this parish, who, as my reader will remem- 
ber, was a benefactor to the Maidstone school : he 
gave to the master of that of Sutton the use of a 
house and garden, with an annuity of £20, and the 
yearly sum of £10 to the usher. He also founded 
and endowed six alms-houses in this village. 

Sutton commands a most extensive and enchanting 
view of the rich valley of the Weald of Kent. It is 
said that 16 churches are to be seen from this place. 
Kilburne states that these low-lands were once co- 
vered by the sea, and brings forward to justify this 
assertion, the fact of an anchor having been found at 
a short distance below Sutton castle, not long before 
the time at which he wrote, (1659). A few years 
after, that is to say, in 1683, this opinion received a 
farther confirmation, from the discovery of a large 
collection of sea-shells imbedded in marie, at the 
foot of the hill at Hunton : this stratum lay about 15 
feet below the surface; it was about an inch in 
thickness, and several square yards in extent ; when 
dry, it resembled in appearance the Bethersden mar- 
ble in a rough state. 

There was nothing to attract us from the turnpike 
road on our way homeward, excepting the Laby- 
rinthian Path, in Mangravit Wood, which was 
made by the late Earl of Romney : after wandering 



SOUTHERN EXCURSION. 89 

through its maze we again turned into the road, and 
soon regained our place of repose. 



SOUTHERN EXCURSION. 
No. 5. 

We found nothing worthy of notice in this walk 
until we reached Boughton Mount. This estate is 
situated on the eminence which overlooks the quarry, 
from the Maidstone side. The late proprietor, John 
Braddick, Esq. built the present house about seven 
years ago : the old mansion, which stood on the 
other side of the road, and nearer to the valley, was 
a clock-house, and appeared to be of the time of 
Mary or Elizabeth. Mr. Braddick, who was a distin- 
guished member of the Horticultural Society, chose 
this spot for his experiments, and stocked the grounds, 
at an immense expense, with the rarest and choicest 
fruit trees. This plantation will, it is thought, in a 
few years be one of the most valuable in the county. 

The glen of Boughton Quarry has charms for the 
admirers of the picturesque and romantic, which are 
unrivalled in this neighbourhood. The valley is 
bounded by broken precipices of the rock, and 
abruptly-rising grass banks ; while the neat cottages 
peep here and there between the trees by which its 
centre is ornamented. There was formerly at the 
north-eastern side of the quarry, a curious cavern 
commonly named Tinker's Hole from its being 
used for many years as a dwelling and work-shop 



90 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

by an itinerant brazier, during his stay in these parts, 
which he visited annually. The cave, which was in 
the solid rock, was about twenty five feet in diame- 
ter, and was covered with a dome of rough crag-; 
which formed a ceiling not very pleasing to the eye of 
him who stood beneath it. At the farther part of 
the cavern, towards the right, was a recess in which 
the Tinker used to spread his couch; he also cut 
several smaller holes in the rock for storing his pro- 
visions, tools, and other necessaries. I have not 
been able to collect any biographical anecdotes of 
this eccentric son of Vulcan, nor can 1 find that any 
vera effigies exists of him ; his likeness would be an 
excellent companion to that of old Yorke of Detling 
It is not known whether Tinker's hole was a natural 
or an artificial cavern — probably the former ; it was 
destroyed when that part of the quarry was levelled 
about eight years ago. Many fossil remains were then 
found near this spot, and among them those of an 
animal much resembling the hyaena, which were pre- 
sented to the museum of the Zoological Society in 
Baker-street, London. 

The greater number of the houses in Boughton are 
at the Quarry, but the Church stands above a mile 
to the southward of it. On the 30th of December, 
1832, the body of Boughton church was destroyed 
by fire: it has since been restored. In the church- 
yard there is a stone with the following curious in- 
scription on it : — 

B 

HOVLD 

1 stand here to testify that here lyeth the body of 

Thomas Walker, youngest Sone of Sarah Maddox. 

He departed this Life the 12 day of January, 1688. 

Aged 10 yeares. 



SOUTHERN EXCURSION. 91 

The chancel of this church contains several re- 
markable monuments, which were happily preserved 
from the fire, but I have only room to notice here 
that of Sir Christopher Powell, of Wiarton in this 
parish, who died on the 25th of June, 1742. The 
figure of Sir Christopher, in the Roman costume, lies 
at length on a sarchophagus of black marble ; on one 
side is the figure of his wife ; her eyes are turned to- 
wards heaven and the expression of her countenance, 
that of resignation, is very strikingly marked ; a 
figure on the other side, represents his mother. 
The three figures are cut in white marble and are of 
the full size ; the tomb is also adorned with shields 
of arms, and heraldic devices. This superb work is 
from the chisel of Scheemaker. 

Near to the church is the mansion of Boughton 
Place, the seat of Thomas Rider, Esq., one of 
the members of parliament for West Kent. A great 
part of the present house was built in Elizabeth's 
time, by Robert Rudston, Esq. who, in the preceding 
reign, had forfeited this with his other estates, and 
been even condemned to death, as one of the coadju- 
tors of Sir Thomas Wiat in the Kentish rebellion ; 
Mary, however, spared his life, and Elizabeth res- 
tored his property. # 

A spring rises near Boughton church, which is 
supposed to have communication with that of Bris- 
sing, which I noticed in my last excursion ; several 
experiments have been made in order to ascertain 
whether a connection existed between them or not, 
but accounts both pro and con. are given of the 
result of these trials. 



92 environs or MAIDSTONE. 

Coxheath lies at a sliort distance to the west- 
ward of Boughton church. This spot on account of 
its contiguity to those parts of the sea coast of Britain, 
which arc nearest to the continent of Europe, and 
also for its healthly situation, has been repeatedly 
chosen for encampments, when this kingdom has 
been threatened with invasion. In 1756, there was 
a Hanoverian camp here of 12,000 men. In 1778, 
a force of 15,000 lay here, which was personally 
inspected, on the 3rd of November, by George the 
III. In the following year, and in 1781, as also in 
many other subsequent years, there were large en- 
campments on this heath, and even as recently as 
1804, it was a Campus Martius. It is now en- 
closed, and 

The corn-field takes the place of bristling spears. 

We then entered the Maidstone road, and soon 
arrived at the village of Loose, which probably is so 
called from its being situated on the stream, which, 
as I have before said, loses itself in the earth at 
Brissing, and rises again at Boughton quarry, whence 
it flows on through this place. The view which em- 
bellishes this excursion will at once recal, to the 
minds of most of my readers, the beauties of this 
village, as they appear from the path leading towards 
the ponds below Loose Court. 

The steepness of the descents to Loose from Cox- 
heath and Maidstone having occasioned many seri- 
ous accidents, a new road was a few years ago raised 
across the valley, not far from the old one, in the 
easterly direction. It passes over the stream and 
the Boughton road, on a fine arch almost rivalling 



*-« 




'•^'K 






SOUTHERN EXCURSION. 93 

that at Highgate. As far as we could judge by 
the eye, its span is about fifty feet, and its height 
about thirty. 

The old mansion house of Salt's Place, formerly 
the seat of the Bufkin family, now a part of the 
estates attached to Leeds Castle, stands just out of 
the village on the way to Bough ton. The gardens 
have still terraces in them. 

On our way homeward, instead of keeping the 
highway, we took the road which passes by Loose 
Court. This elegant villa belongs to Edward Pen- 
fold, Esq. who has laid out the grounds attached to 
it in the most tasteful manner. About midway be- 
tween Mr. Penfold's and the town of Maidstone is 
Hayle Place, formerly named Le Haylc from the 
healthiness of its situation : Colonel Jones, its pre- 
sent owner, has much enlarged and improved the 
house. In the last spring several Roman Urns, 
were found on this estate, some of which were of a 
singular shape ; unfortunately few of them were suf- 
ficiently perfect to be worth preserving. From the 
side of the hill to the northward of Hayle Place, 
Maidstone is seen to greater advantage than from 
any other point, and the back ground of the scene 
is rich in those charms which the pencil of Claude 
Lorraine loved so much to depict. 

Our walk was then nearly ^finished and we re- 
entered the town by Stony-lane and Knight-rider- 
street. 



94 I W [R0N9 OF MA1D8TON1 . 



SOUTH-WES1 ERN EXCURSION. 

A'.-. G. 

In commencing this walk, as in fiuishing our 1; Bt, 
we passed over the spot where the Kentish royalists 
first engaged the Parliamentary forces, under their 
celebrated general, Fairfax, when they attacked 
Maidstone in 1648, as I have before stated. 

The hop-ground, (commonly known by the name 
of its possessor, Mr. Corrall,) through which our 
path lay, is a favorite walk of the inhabitants of 
Maidstone in the summer months. As this planta- 
tion is uniformly well cultivated, it is frequently vi- 
sited by the London dealers in hops, during the 
growth of the plant, in order that they may be en- 
abled, from the appearance of this their sample Har- 
den, to form an estimate of the probable growth of 
the particular year. It may here be remarked that 
it is supposed the hop was first planted in the neigh- 
bourhood of Maidstone, after its introduction to 
England from the Netherlands, in 1524. Thomas 
Tusser, the poet, who flourished at that time, gives 
directions for its culture, which are by no means 
despicable even in these days ; he concludes with the 
following quaint lines : — 

The hop for its profit, I do thus exalt, 
It strengthened drink, and it savoureth malt, 
And being well brew'd, long kept it will last, 
And drawing abide, if you draw not too fast.* 

On the other side oftheToville road, where this 
path joins it, is the Pest- house, [t derives it name 

" See his ' Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.' 



SOUTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 95 

from having been used as an hospital for those who 
were afflicted with the small-pox, when it raged in 
Maidstone, to a most terrific extent, about the middle 
of the last century. 

In the quarry behind this building, the skeleton 
of a man was found about nine years ago ; a bayonet, 
and some military buttons, bearing the East India 
Company's mark, were with the bones, which, from 
that circumstance, were supposed to have been 
those of a soldier in that service. I have heard that 
the bayonet also bore the date 1809, and that some 
fragments of cloth remained attached to the buttons, 
so that, probably, 

On earth foredoom'd to feel the pangs of hell, 
He still exists whose tongue the whole could tell. 

The discovery furnished a topic for mysterious 
surmise for a few days, but was treated too much 
as a subject for mere wonder. A gentleman in this 
town certainly exerted himself to obtainra clue which 
might lead to the discovery of the circumstances 
connected with the death and burial of the man, 
but, unfortunately, his laudable efforts were without 
success. 

The hamlet of Toville is pleasantly situated on 
the banks of the Langley stream, which just below 
falls into the Medway. On this brook, between 
Bough ton Quarry and its junction with the river, 
a distance of about three miles, there are no less 
than twelve large mills for paper and flour. The 
house of Toville Place, now belonging to — Hep- 
burn, Esq. is most delightfully placed on the Maid- 



96 ENVIR0K9 01 MAIDSTON1 . 

stone side of tlic hamlet, and overlooks t lie town, and 
the rich country through which 

The silver Med way glides, and in lier breast 
Views the reflected landscape. 

On the top of the hill, at the other end of Tovilh , 
within a short distance of the road to the Farleighs, 
is an old Burying Ground Cor dissenters: theoldesl 
tombstone now remaining there is that of Simon 
Pine, which bears date 1681. 

I presume that most of my readers have enjoyed 
the enchanting view from the field hard by this 
cemetery : those who have once known its charms 
must again often seek the renewal of the delight they 
bestow ; those who are unacquainted with them have 
a new pleasure in store, which will not fall short of 
their brightest imaginings : cynical indeed must lu- 
be, who, gazing on such a scene as is herr presented 
to the eye, would not, for the time at least, i 
to rail against the world, and to remember its cares 
and vexations. 

In the dwelling house of the Rev. B. Post, which 
stands near the burying ground, there is a room 
which was used as a conventicle by the Puritans, 
during the persecutions to which they were subjected; 
on the walls of this apartment, until they were pa- 
pered recently, several texts from the Holy Scriptures 
were legible. There was a very spacious hall in this 
house, but it has been long since divided into se- 
veral rooms. 

From this place we returned to Toville, and took 
our way up that beautiful vale through which the 



SOUTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 97 

Langley stream, which I have had occasion frequently 
to mention before, takes its course, forming those 
several fine sheets of water, commonly known by the 
name of the Loose Ponds. This happy valley com- 
bines within its narrow bounds the most varied and 
exquisite beauties of scenery : — 

'Tis lovely in hill and in dale, 

And in groves, those soft groves, 

Where the nightingale loves, 
To warble his tenderest tale, 

While the moon from above, 
Smiles down on this beautiful vale. 

'Tis lovely in crag and in lake, 

And in stream, gentle stream, 

Where the pale lilies gleam, 
When Zephyrs their liquid couch shake, 

And all playfully seem 
To fondle the charms they awake. 

There is not even in this neighbourhood, rich as it 
is in the romantic and picturesque, a more delightful 
spot than this, for an evening walk, 

When the mind is at ease, and the eye and the heart 
are contented. 

Near Hayle mill there are several little rills which 
have been tested and found highly impregnated with 
iron. 

From the southern or upper end of this valley, we 
turned up the hill to Pimpe's Court, which takes its 
name from the Pimpes, who held this manor from 
the reign of Edward I. to that of Henry the VII. 
I shall have occasion to speak again of this illustri- 
ous family in my next division, under the head of 
Nettlested Place, which was their principal seat. 

G 



98 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

In the reign of Henry the VIII. Pimpe's court be- 
longed to Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, 
and lord constable of England. This nobleman was 

descended from Edward the III. and, being a beliei er 
in astrology, made "some dark applications to a 
wizard and a monk" named Hopkins, who persuaded 
liim that on the king's death without issue he would 
by right succeed to the throne. By this infatuation 
he was beguiled into treasonable expressions and acts, 
for which he was tried and condemned by a jury of 
peers, and shortly afterwards beheaded, and this and 
his other estates were forfeited to the crown.* On 
the accession of Mary, Pimpe's court belonged to 
William Isley, Esq. who, taking a part in the Kentish 
rebellion against that queen, forfeited this witli his 
other possessions : his father, Sir Henry Isley, who 
was also concerned in that unfortunate affair, was 
executed at Maidstone, or, as some state, at Seven- 
oaks. There are no remains of the old mansion 
standing now, at least none deserving notice. 

Passing over the western end of Coxheath we 
then went to Hunton. As I had heard much of 
the old mansion of BuRSTON in this parish, we 
visited it first; but were much disappointed when 
we found that its appearance was very similar to 
that of any other large farm-house : however, 
a friend of mine, who resides in the neighbour- 
hood, told us that he well remembered the time 
when a great part of the old house was standing, in 
which there were several fine rooms, a very spacious 
gallery, and a small chapel. The only thing now 

• Pliilipotl and Ihime. 



SOUTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 99 

remaining to show that the place has ever been more 
distinguished than it is at present, is the terrace walk 
in the garden. The manor and house of Burston 
belonged to a family of that name, from the time of 
Henry III. down to that of Elizabeth, when they 
were sold to the Fanes, several of whom lie buried in 
this church. The Parsonage, which is not far below 
Burston, is an elegant and spacious house, most 
pleasantly situated in the midst of pleasure grounds, 
which are laid out with very great taste. In a 
retired part of the garden there is a summer-house, 
which is built and fitted up like a hermit's cell, and, 
in the summer, must be a delightful haunt for medi- 
tation. A little farther on is the house of Jennings, 
the seat of — Malcolm, Esq. which is surrounded by 
a neat paddock, ornamented with oaks and other 
forest trees. 

We next visited the Church, in which, on the north 
side of the altar, there is a grand monument to the 
memory of Sir Thomas Fane, of Burston, Knight, 
Lieutenant of Dover castle, and Dame Helen So- 
merset, his wife, who both died in the year 1606. 
Their figures, finely carved in white marble, lie at 
length on the tomb ; he is represented in armour ; 
beneath are the figures of two children, one kneel- 
ing,, the other lying as if dead. In the chancel there is 
a curious place for the reception of holy water, which 
is in a fine state of preservation. Near the church 
stands an old clock-house, with the dial-plate still 
remaining. At Barnhill farm there is also an old 
dwelling, the gables of which are ornamented with 
carved wood-work. In the centre of the cross-beam 



100 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

(which is decorated with figures that may be taken 
for dragons, or any other description of winged an- 
imals,) is the name Samvel Rich, surmounted by 
the date 1623. 

Re-crossing Cox-heath, we paid a visit to West 
Farleigh. Smith's Hall, the residence of Sir H. 
Fitzherbert, Bart., stands on the site of an old man- 
sion of the same name, which for many centuries 
belonged to the Brewer family. In the reign of John, 
William de Brewer, of Smith's Hall, was Lieutenant 
of Dover castle. Tutsham, or Totesiiam Hall, 
stands about three quarters of a mile to the westward 
of the church; the present house is chiefly modern, 
but some parts of the original mansion are still to be 
seen. John de Totesham was one of the Judges of 
the great Assize under king John. Tiie view from 
this spot is exceedingly fine : immediately beneath 
the eye is a most lovely valley, in which the corn- 
field, the hop-garden, the orchard, and the mead, in- 
terspersed with stately trees, unite their varied 
beauties, amidst which, the Medway holds its path, 
enlivening with its silvery mazes the charms of the 
prospect, which is bounded on the left hand by the 
high part of Mereworth park, — in front, by the 
church, village, mansion and park ofTeston, and on 
the right by the rising ground of Barming, and 
the Boxley hills which are seen in the distance. 

We were then homeward bound, and soon arrived 
at East Farleigh. In the church of this parish 
there are several monuments of the Amhersts, and 
it is said that many of Pimpes lie buried in it : a 
large canopied tomb, without any figure or inscrip- 



SOUTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 101 

tion, which stands in a chapel in the south chancel, 
is supposed to have been placed over the remains 
of one of that family ; the chapel still belongs to 
the Pimpe's court estate. There is a curious flat 
arched tomb on the north side of the chancel, bear- 
ing- the arms of the Culpepers. The lofty door way 
which opens from the tower into the church is Nor- 
man ; it is ornamented with chevron or zig-zag 
mouldings. 

The Farleighs were given by Queen Ediva, in the 
year 941 , to the monks of Christ church Canterbury, 
to whom they produced an annual rent of 1200 eels.* 
As we took this walk during the hopping season, we 
had the pleasure of seeing the Irish pickers in their 
glory : hundreds of these poor, but happy creatures, 
divided into parties of six or eight each, were em- 
ployed in preparing their suppers at fires by the 
side of the road; and, excepting an occasional skip 
and " hurrah ! for ould Ireland !" seemed as amiably 
quiet and contented as their betters. The hop 
has often engaged the attention of the poet ; the 
beauty and virtues of this valuable plant are fre- 
quently alluded to by Philips, in his poem entitled 
Cider, (which I may remark, is considered to be the 
closest imitation extant of Milton's style of versifi- 
cation;) and the poems of Christopher Smart, M. A. 
who was born at Shipbourne, near Wrotham, in 
1722, contain one, 'The Hop-garden,' exclusively 
devoted to its praise ; this piece and the other nu- 
merous productions of his Muse exhibit great power 

* See Lambarde and Philipott. 



102 EHVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

and beauty both in thought and expression. Mr. S. 
was educated at Maidstone grammar school; be 
died in 1770. 

The view of this village here presented, is taken 
from the opposite side of the river a short distance 
above the bridge, a slight trespass having been made 
on the boundary of the next excursion, for the sake 
of the additional beauties which were so obtained for 
my reader's gratification . We then crossed the river, 
in order that we might return to Maidstone by the 
path along its bank. I must here notice that when 
General Fairfax marched to surprise Maidstone, 
he passed across the Medway, just below East Far- 
leigh, having dispersed a small body of the royalists, 
who ventured to oppose him. On the Farleigh side 
of the stream, at a short distance from the village, is 
a modern castellated house of a very singular style, 
which was built by the late Captain Dominicus. 

Near Fant there are several large hollows where 
stone was formerly dug; these quarries are supposed 
to have been worked many centuries ago. Henry V. 
in 1419, gave an order to John Benet, a mason in 
Maidstone, for 7000 stone cannon balls, which were 
probably supplied from this spot : the use of iron 
shot was introduced by the French, at the siege of 
Cherbourg, in 1418, to annoy the English camp.* 
Passing on by the river side, through the Pakk 
Meadows, which are in front of the Palace, of wdiich, 
when it was the residence of the Archbishops, thev 
formed the Park, we re-entered the town by the 
bridge. 

* See Grose's Military Antiquities. 



WESTERN EXCURSION. 103 

WESTERN EXCURSION. 

Ko. 7. 

Turning from the Tunbridge road, at the Bower, 
we went through the fields to the estate of Half 
Yoke or Halfway Oke, which lies near to the 
northern end of East Farleigh bridge, and was 
formerly a manor. Halfway Oke formed a part of 
the possessions of the Pimpes, from whom it passed 
to the Isleys, and was forfeited to the crown on 
the attainder of Sir Henry Isley for treason against 
Mary. 

About a mile from East Farleigh bridge is that of 
St. Helen, which is built of wood: its name is de- 
rived from St. Helen's, or East Banning manor, 
the house of which stood a short distance northward 
of the river, where it is now crossed by this bridge. 
This manor of East Banning was called St. Helen's, 
Ellen's, or Elen's, (for the name is thus varied in 
different writings) because it was anciently attached 
to the nunnery of St. Helen, in Bishopgate-street, 
London. 

We continued in the delightful path by the river's 
side, till we arrived at Xettlested, which is about 
six miles from Maidstone. The ruins of the mansion 
of Nettlested Place, which was the principal seat 
of the Pimpe family for many centuries, stand near 
to the western bank of the Medway, and hard by 
the parish church. Sir Philip de Pimpe was one of 
those who were assessed bv Edward the III., during: 



104 BNVIBOV8 01 KAID8TOV1 . 

his wars with France, to provide a guard for th< 
coast of Kent. Reginald de Pimpe, joining the Duke 
of Buckingham against Richard III. was attainted, 
and forfeited the manor of Nettlested with his other 
estates, but, on the accession of Henry VII. h( 
restored in blood and re-instated in the possession of 
his property. He left an only daughter, who carried 
tin's estate in marriage to John Scott. Esquire, of 
Scott's Hall, at Sinethe, in this county, about 1.300. 
His grandson, Sir John Scott, Knight, in the n ign 
of Mary, married a lady of the Strafford family, who, 
being a zealous protestant, in order to avoid pi 
cution, retired to Geneva, where she remained till 
the accession of Elizabeth, when returning to I 
land, she was received by that queen with the 
greatest kindness, and made one of the ladies of 
the bedchamber. I presume that her husband died 
duringher exile, as it appears that on her return she 
resided at Nettlested place with her son. Sir John 
Scott, wdio during her life repaired the house, in 
the year 1586. She died in 1598, and i< buried 
in Nettlested church. It is said that Elizabeth 
once visited this mansion while this lady posw BSed it. 

The estate remained in the Scott family till the 
time of William III. when it was sold to the Boi 
of Teston House, in Teston, to the owner of which 
(Lord Barham,) it still belong 

The parts of the mansion now remaining seem to 
have tunned the southern wing, and a -mall portion 
ofthe centre, which connected the eastern e\tn mities 
of the wings. The southern wall is strengtl 
with buttresses of a curious construction, each being 



WESTERN EXCURSION'. 105 

hollowed within so as to form a recess in the apart- 
ment against which it is placed, and pierced with a 
circular window : between these buttresses there are 
gothic windows of a remarkably elegant design. On 
the sides of the upper part of a stone door case in 
this wall is inscribed A.D. — 1586. We noticed one 
room the sides and ceiling of which seemed to have 
been handsomely panelled with oak, but only a small 
piece of this ornamental work now remains on the 
walls; the joists to which the ceiling was attached 
have beenentirely cut away. Under this apartment is 
another which appears to have been the kitchen, at 
one end of which there is a very fine crypt, vaulted 
with stone arches intersecting each other : two short 
pillars support the ends of the arches in the middle 
line of the vault, which is now divided into three 
small rooms, by modern brick walls, and is used 
for store cellars : its entire length is about thirty-five 
feet. 

The Church stands at a short distance to the 
north of these ruins. The body of the present build- 
ing is supposed to have been erected between 1460 
and 1470 by Reginald dePimpe, of whom I have be- 
fore spoken. The windows on the north side of the 
church are chiefly of painted glass, exhibiting the 
coats of the Pimpes, Scotts and several other illustri- 
ous families, interspersed with white roses, from 
which it may be presumed that those whose devices 
are here depicted, were favorable to the house of 
York. Several of the Pimpes and Scotts are buried 
in Nettlested church, and amongst those of the latter 
family, the Lady Scott of whom I have before 



106 ENVIRONS Of M lIDSTt I 

spoken, who, from thf h indsome marble monument 
which covers her remains, appears to have died in 
1.598. Before I quit this interesting place, I should 
inform my readers, that the account I have give i of 
it- Former possessors in some points differs from thai 
of Hasted, my information on the subject having 
been derived from the M.S. of a gentleman, whose 
account seems to be more connected than that of the 
great Kentish historian. 

We next visited Mereworth Castle, the Beat of 

the ancient and noble family of the Le I >■ spencers. 
This house was built about the year 1740, by John, 
the seventh Earl of Westmoreland : the plan was taken 
from that of a villa near Venice, di signed by tl. 
lebrated Palladio. It is surrounded by a moat, and 
approached by a noble flight of steps m the north- 
ern side : the building is of a square form, and is 
surmounted by a lofty dome, under which is the hall: 
the walls and ceiling of this and the other pi incipal 
apartments are painted : the wings stand a little in 
advance of the main building, with which 
correspond in design. The park is ex> 

itiful, being watered by a fine stream, and well 
wooded with stately oaks: the high grounds at its 
southern side command delightful views of this th- 
richest district in Kent. 

Mereworth, from the time of Henry the II. to 
that of Edward the III. was held by a family of that 
name. William de Mereworth accompanied Richard 
Coeur dc Lion to Palestine. It subsequently be- 
longed to the Earls of Arundel, the Lords Iberga- 
'. liny, and the Fai aoreland. It 



WESTERN EXCURSION. 107 

passed on the death of John Eavl of Westmoreland, 
in 1760, to Sir Thomas Stapleton, Bart., afterwards 
Lord Le Despencer, whose grand-daughter at this 
time possesses it together with the title, the Barony 
of Le Despencer descending to the heirs general. 

The Church of Mereworth, which was also built 
by the Earl of Westmoreland, about the same time 
as the castle, is remarkable for the beauty of its style : 
at the west end there is a fine Corinthian portico 
and a tower surmounted by a lofty and elegant spire : 
the interior is painted and the windows are orna- 
mented with coloured glass. 

At Wateringbury, our first enquiries were for 
the Wooden Borsholder and its Deputy, but we 
found that these powers had ceased to be. As the 
instrument was formerly a thing of no little import- 
ance in this parish, perhaps a description of it will 
not be deemed out of place here. In shape and 
size it nearly resembled an instrument well known 
in this county — the hop pitcher : at its top there 
was a round knob to which an iron ring was attached ; 
four more rings of the same metal were affixed to the 
swell at the lower part of the staff, which was shod 
with a strong spike ferrule of iron, about four inches 
long; the length of the staff", exclusive of the spike, 
was about three feet. The deputy of this Dumb 
Borsholder of Chart, as it was generally called, 
claimed liberty over fifteen houses situated at Pizein 
Well, near a place called Chart Garden, in this 
parish, into any of which he might, with the aid of 
his principal, force an entrance, without a justice's 
warrant, if stolen goods were supposed to be con- 



108 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

cealed therein. This instrument has for nearly a 
century been deprived of its power and deputy, 
the borsholder of Wateringbury baving ever since it 

was put aside had authority over the whole par sli. * 
In Wateringbury Ciilhch there are some fine speci- 
mens of painted glass. One of the windows, on the 
southern side, seems formerly to have been orna- 
mented with a pictorial representation of some his- 
torical subject from the Holy Scriptures, but the 
fragments remaining are insufficient even to develope 
the story. 

I must not pass by Teston Horsr., or Bauiia.m 
Court, as it is also called, without remarking that 
it belonged, in the reign of Henry II. to Randal 
Fitz-Urse, one of the four knights who murdered 
Thomas a Beckct at the altar of St. Benedict, in 
Canterbury Cathedral, on the 29th December, 1170. 
After the assassination of the Archbishop, Fitz-Urse 
fled to Ireland and took the name of Mac Malion, 
of which the meaning, the son of a bear, was simi- 
lar to that of his former name.f His estate passed 
to one of his near relatives, Robert de Barham, whose 
descendants possessed it down to the latter part of 
Elizabeth's time, when it went by marriage to the 
Boteler family. Sir William Bottler, who in 1641 
was made a baronet by Charles I., distinguished 
himself by his firm attachment to that monarch, dur- 
ing the civil war with the parliament. He was one 
of those who signed the petition for peace, when the 
parliament had declared war against the king, for 
which he was committed to the Fleet prison, and 

• See Hasted. t See Philipott. 




■ 










■■ '■' 



WESTERN EXCURSION. 109 

there confined for seven weeks, when he was dis- 
charged on bail to the amount of £20,000. After 
this his house at Teston was attacked and plundered, 
and his estate devastated by the opposite party, who 
exacted above £3000 from him before they permitted 
him to resume the possession of his own property. 
Far from being disheartened by this persecution, he 
raised and armed a regiment of royalists, at his own 
cost, at the head of which he was slain at the battle 
of Cropredy bridge, in 1644. A full account of this 
gallant cavalier, is to be found in Lord Clarendon's 
history of the rebellion. Lord Barliam now owns 
this estate. The house, an elegant modern building, 
stands in a very pleasant park, and overlooks the 
Medway, and the greater part of that tract which is 
justly denominated The Garden of Kent. 

Here towering spires 
First catch the eye, and turn the thoughts to heaven. 
The lofty elms in humble majesty 
Bend with the breeze to shade the solemn groves, 
And spread a holy darkness : Ceres there 
Shines in her golden vesture. Here the meads, 
Enrich'd by Flora's daedal hand, with pride 
Expose their spotted verdure. Kor are you, 
Pomona, absent ; you 'midst hoary leaves 
Swell the red cherry ; and on yonder trees 
Suspend the pippin's palatable gold.* 

The annexed sketch exhibits many of the charms 
which the poet has so happily described. 

We then passed on by the road to Barn-jet, or 
West Barmixg. The manor house, and the greater 

* From ' The Hop-garden,' by Christopher Smart, M. A. 



110 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

part of this little parish, have for more than a century 
belonged to the Amherst family. The living of this 
parish in the reign of Henry the VII., was united to 
that of Nettlested. The church, or ratlier chapel, 
which stood immediately behind Barn-jet house, of 
course soon became ruinous, and now not a stone of 
it remains. The inhabitants have since paid a small 
yearly sum to the patron or the rector of Nettlested 
as a composition for tithes, and supported their own 
poor. 

About fifty years ago, some skeletons of men and 
horses with several fragments of armour, were dug 
up between Barming Heath and the river, on the 
spot where a small party of the royalists attempted to 
dispute the passage of the parliamentary forces in 
their march to attack Maidstone in 1648. Several 
Roman urns and coins have at different periods been 
discovered in the vicinity of this heath, which 
strengthens the opinion of those antiquaries who 
think that the military way to the Roman station at 
Oldborough, in Ightham, passed over this spot. 

A Lunatic Asylum for this county was built 
about four years ago on the eastern part of Banning 
heath, but within the bounds of Maidstone parish. 
It is calculated for the reception of 168 patients and 
cost about £40,000. It is a plain stone edifice, well 
adapted in situation and every other respect to the 
melancholy purpose for which it is designed, and 
much as we must regret that so large a building of 
this description is required for this county, we must, 
at the same time, admire and commend the be- 
nevolent care which thus provides a safe and proper 



NORTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. Ill 

hospital for those, who, by the severest of earthly 
afflictions, are rendered unfit to join in the commerce 
of society. 



NORTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 

No. 8. 

The first object of interest which we had to seek 
in this walk, was the ruin of The Free Chapel of 
Longsole, which stands nearly in the centre of the 
wood between East Mailing and Maidstone. On 
arriving at Rocky hill, we turned to the left in the 
path which passes behind the large stone quarries of 
Messrs. Bensted and Higgins. In March last a consi- 
derable portion of the fossil skeleton of an Iguanodon 
was discovered here, at a depth of above forty feet 
below the surface of the earth : the rock which con- 
tained it was blasted with gunpowder, and conse- 
quently a great part of the skeleton was destroyed, 
Mr. Bensted carefully collected and arranged all the 
fragments that could be found, which were inspected 
by Mr. G. Mantell, F.R.S., Mr. Saul, F.S.A. Lord 
Cole and other geologists and scientific persons 
It appears that the Iguanodon was an herbivorous 
reptile, and by a careful comparison of its bones 
with those of the Iguana, that its length sometimes 
exceeded 100 feet; that of the individual animal, 
whose remains were discovered here, was computed 
to have been about 70 feet. The bones of the 
Iguanodon had previously only been found in the 



112 ENVIRONS 01 MAIDSTONE. 

Hastings sands, in Tilgate forest. This interesting 
relic of the antediluvian world, is in the museum of 
Mr. Mantell, who resides at Brighton. Two fossil 

teetli of the crocodili.m type, one of which was I 
inches long, have since been found in this quarry. 
Hence we proceeded through the wood to the Her- 
mitage, for such is the common name of the little 
farm on which the ruin of the chapel stands. It is 
now used as a barn, and there is little to show that 
it was ever designed for a higher use, excepting a stone 
door-case of good workmanship and proportion-, at 
the western end of the building. It was dedicated 
to St. Lawrence, and seems to be of very early found- 
ation. Edward III. granted his licence to Stephen 
Fynamour, chaplain to Longsole chapel, to buy lands 
of the yearly value of 100 shillings, for the mainte- 
nance of himself and his successors. In the 
of Henry the V. an enquiry was instituted to deter- 
mine whetht r Longsole was in the parish of Ailing 
or of Aylesford; the rector of the former, and the 
vicar of the latter, mutually claiming the oblations 
offered at this chapel; when it was ascertained to be 
in Aylesford parish.* 

From the Hermit ig _ lined the London road, 

in winch we continued till we reached Larkfield, 
when, again inclining to the left, we passed by 
Bradbournj , the delightful seat of Sir John Twis- 
den, and through the village of East Mailing 
West or Town Malling. At the eastern end of 
Town Mailing Btand the remains of the Abbey for 
black nuns of the order of St. Benedict, which was 

• See Hasted 



NORTH-WESTERX EXCURSION. 113 

founded about the year 1078, by Gundulph, bishop 
of Rochester, the church of which was dedicated to 
the blessed Virgin.* He governed this establish- 
ment himself, and, when dying, appointed Avice 
lady abbess ; but, before he consigned to her the 
pastoral staff, ring, and gloves, he obliged her to 
promise canonical subjection to the see of Rochester, 
and to swear that no nun should be admitted, nor 
abbess appointed to that house, without the consent 
of him and his successors. Lambarde, in his zeal 
against papistry, insinuates that the bishop annexed 
these conditions from an attentive regard to the 
comfort of the monks of Rochester, and gives a long 
paragraph in support of this opinion under the head 
of The Solaces of Sole life. Gundulph, in 1090, en- 
dowed the nunnery with the manors of East and 
West Mailing, together with the church of the latter, 
and the chapel of St. Leonard in this parish, and 
this place, which, before the founding of the abbey, 
had borne the name of Mailing Parva, soon became 
a town of consequence. In the reign of Richard I. 
both the town and abbey were devastated by fire ; 
but, by the munificence of that monarch, and the 
contributions of individuals in the neighbourhood, 
they were soon rebuilt. In the year 1348 an epidem- 
ical disease raged in West Mailing, which, in a short 
time, carried off two abbesses, and almost depopu- 
lated the convent, leaving only four professed, and 
the same number of uninitiated nuns. In the 30th 
year of Henry VIII. this house was surrendered into 



* See Kilbume. 



114 ENVIRONS OF .MAIDSTONE. 

the hands of the king by Margaret Vernon, the ab- 
bess, and her eleven nuns; and in the next year the 
site of it was granted to Cranmer, with its appen- 
dant manors.* 

To this summary of the history of Mailing abbey, 
I must add a description of its venerable remains. 
The approach is by a fine gateway tower, with two 
archways ; over the smaller one of which are three 
shields, two bearing the arms of benefactors of the 
house, and the other, a heart pierced with an arrow 
and distilling drops of blood. This device was pro- 
bably intended as an emblem of the nature of the 
house — an asylum for the heart wounded by the 
follies or cares of the world. On the left-hand side, 
within this tower and connected with it, there is an 
antique oratory, which is now used as a dwelling ; 
the window at the eastern end is worth the notice of 
the antiquary; but the most attractive part of the 
ruins is the western tower of the conventual church, 
which is undoubtedly a portion of the work of Gun- 
dulph : on either side of it is a turret richly decorated 
with small semicircular arches ornamented with 
chevron or zigzag mouldings and grotesque heads. 
This portion of the abbey is of a design very similar 
to the western end of Rochester cathedral, the work 
of the same bishop; it forms the subject of the illus- 
tration for this walk. Some stone coffins containing 
human skeletons, and a quantity of human bones, 
have, at different times, been dug up near the south 
side of the church. The situation of the abbey is 

* See Hasted. 



NORTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 115 

particularly pleasant ; a fine stream flows through 
the grounds, in which there were formerly several 
large ponds. The present house was built about 
the middle of the last century by Frazer Honeywood, 
Esq. who, at that time, possessed the estate : it is in 
the Gothic style. Mr. Losack is now the proprietor 
of Mailing abbey. 

The Church of this place has a Norman tower at 
the west end, and contains some curious old brasses: 
the nave was rebuilt in the latter part of the last 
century. 

I have before said that the chapel of St. Leonard 
was attached to this nunnery; the hamlet of St. 
Leonard lies a short distance to the southward of 
Mailing street : a part of the square tower of the 
chapel still remains, which seems to be of the same 
age as the ruins of the abbey. 

As the distance between West Mailing, and the 
remains of Leybourne Castle scarcely exceeds a 
mile, we could not omit visiting the latter, although 
we had already exceeded our usual limits. In the 
reign of William the Conqueror, the manor of Ley- 
bourne was given to one of his knights, Sir William 
d'Arsic ; but the castle, for there appears to have 
been one here before the conquest, was held by 
the Leybournes, then, and for many succeeding 
reigns, a family of distinction. Sir Roger de Ley- 
bourne was among the Kentish knights who attended 
Richard I. to the Holy Land, and he particularly dis- 
tinguished himself at the siege of Aeon. His grand- 
son, also Sir Roger, in the 36th year of Henry the 



1 16 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

IH, killed Ernulfde Mounteney in a grand tourna- 
ment of the knights of the Round Table, which was 
held at Walden in Essex : Mounteney had in a pre- 
vious encounter broken Leybourne's leg-, and it was 
supposed that the latter thus took revenge for the 
injury, as his lance was without a rocket and struck 
his adversary's throat, which accidentally wanted the 
protection of a gorget. His son, Sir William, enter- 
tained Edward I. at Leybourne castle, who immedi- 
ately afterwards appointed him his Admiral. Two of 
his younger sons, Henry and Simon de Leybourne, 
were knighted by Edward the I. under the roval ban- 
ner at Carlaverock in Scotland, for their gallant con- 
duct at the siege of that place. Sir William de Ley- 
bourne survived all his children, and died earlv in the 
reign of Edward the II. leaving his grand-daughter 
Juliana his heir. Her property in this county was so 
great that she was commonly called the Infanta of 
Kent: she was thrice married; first to John de 
Hastings, secondly to Thomas le Blount, and lastly 
to Sir William de Clinton, afterwards Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon. On her death, no person was found who could 
take her estates, which therefore escheated to the 
crown, and this part of them was granted to the abbey 
of St. Mary Graces, on Tower-hill, London. On 
the dissolution of that monastery, Henry VIII. gave 
Leybourne manor in exchange to Archbishop Cran- 
mer, but afterwards resumed it, and gave it to Sir 
Edward North, chancellor of his court of augmenta- 
tion. After passing through several families it was 
purchased by James Hawley, M.D. and F.R.S. in 



SOUTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 117 

the year 1776, and now belongs to Sir Joseph Henry 
Hawley, Bart.* 

Only a part of the entrance, and the towers which 
flanked it, with a few fragments of walls, now re- 
main of this castle. The moat enclosed about three 
quarters of an acre of land. The ruin is probably a 
portion of the castle which Sir Roger de Leybourne 
built in the reign of Richard I. 

As in our return to Maidstone we took the road 
which passes along the north-western-side of the 
paddock of Preston Hall, the seat of Charles Milner, 
Esq., to Aylesford, we had an opportunity of inspect- 
ing the buildings on Mr. Milner's estate which bear 
the very remote date of 1102. This date, and the 
initials T. C. with the arms of the Culpepers quar- 
tered with those of the Hardreshulls, are to be seen 
on the lintel of a stone door-case in a brick building, 
which stands by the side of the road, and on the end 
of a stone barn, near the mansion. Neither of these 
buildings seems to be of more ancient date than the 
16th century, so that it may be presumed they were 
erected by Thomas Colepeper, who possessed Preston 
Hall, in the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, and that 
he set up the date 1102, to mark the time at which 
one of his ancestors first acquired that estate, and 
added his arms, quartered with those of Hardreshull, 
to denote that he belonged to that branch of the Cul- 
pepers, of which one, in the reign of Edward III. had 
married a lady of the Hardreshull family. The date 
in both instances is in Arabic numerals, which were 
not used in Europe till the latter end of the 13th 

* See Hasted. 



118 I NVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

century, nor were coats of armour quartered before 
the beginning of the 14th; it would, therefore be 
absurd to suppose, that these stones were cut at the 
time to which the date they bear refers.* 

We then descended the hill towards Aylesford, but 
turned to the right on approaching the bridge, as by 
crossing that, we should have passed from this our 
last division, into our first. 

In deepening the river about nine years ago, several 
ancient weapons and other articles, made of a curi- 
ous mixed metal, the art of compounding which is 
now lost, were found in the shoal near Little Preston. 
Among them were many fine specimens of the small 
battle-axe, commonly called a celt; and a sword 
blade about 18 inches in length. These, with other 
weapons of a similar description, which have, at dif- 
ferent times, been discovered in this neighbourhood, 
are probably the relics of the engagement which took 
place between the Britons and Saxons in this neigh- 
bourhood, and is noticed in the first excursion, in 
which, however, I omitted to state that the Saxons 
had been previously defeated at Darent, and were 
overtaken in their flight by the Britons at Aylesford, 
formerly called Anglesford or Eglesford, — the ford 
of the Saxons. 

We continued in the path along the western bank 
of the river, passing by the lonely little church of 
Allington to Great Buckland, which is situated on 
the side of the hill near the Medway. This name 



* Hasted mentions some other early inscriptions in Arabic 
figures. 



NORTH-WESTERN EXCURSION. 119 

seems to be a corruption of Bocland, which, in the 
Saxon, was used to denote lands held by deed, hoc 
signifying a book or roll of writing. This estate is 
now divided into two farms, Great, and Little Buck- 
land. The manor, previous to the time of John, was 
held by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who then 
granted it to a family, which took its surname from 
it, in whose hands it continued till the reign of 
Richard II. when it again passed back to the church, 
and was annexed to the College of All Saints, at 
Maidstone, by the founder, Archbishop Courtney. 
On the dissolution of that establishment, in the first 
year of Edward VI., this estate was held by the 
Smyths, or Smythes, and continued in their tenure 
for many years after that time. The pedigree and 
arms of this family, which has ever since continued 
in this neighbourhood, are given in the Visitation 
of Kent, made in the time of James I. Edward VI. 
granted Buckland to Sir George Brooke, Lord Cob- 
ham, whose grandson forfeited it with his other estates 
for treason against James I. However, his wife was 
permitted to enjoy this part of them for her life ; on 
her death it was given to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salis- 
bury, from whose family it passed through many 
hands, till about the beginning of the last century, 
when it went by marriage to the Finch family : it 
still forms part of the Earl of Aylesford's property. 
The old mansion is yet entire, and exhibits a good 
specimen of the style of country houses in the begin- 
ning of the 17th century. 

After pausing for a few minutes, to enjoy the de- 



120 ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

lightful view of Maidstone and the beautiful scenery 
that environs it on every side, which the path from 
Buckland commands, we entered the town, and thus 
completed the pleasing task of our perambulatory 
excursions. 



POETRY. 



THE MED WAY. 



Wanderer of a vale as fair 

As Eden's garden in its prime, 
Where angels deign'd its sweets to share, 

With man, then pure as they from crime, 
Unto the gazer's raptur'd eyes 

The scenes that deck thy lovely stream, 
Soft Medway, more than realize 

Of Poesy the brightest dream, 
And task the painter's subtlest art 
Their beauties' semblance to impart. 
With thine enlink'd shines many a name 
Bright in the choicest lists of Fame : 
Thy mazy way too lies among 

Fields which can boast full many a spot 
Still hallow'd by Tradition's song, 

Nor e'en in History's page forgot. 
The Lusian stream, to which of old 
The poets gave a bed of gold,* 
And that, whose rapid currents sweep 
'Neath Drachenfels' proud castled steep, 
Though grac'd with Nature's majesty, 
In loveliness must yield to thee: — 
The velvet mead ; — the hanging wood, 
Stooping to kiss thy silvery flood ; — 

* Tagus aurifer. — Silius. 



122 POETRY. 

The golden corn-field, shining here ; — 
The thriving orchard, smiling there ; — 
The neat white cot, scarce seen among 

The shelt'ring groves of some sweet dell. 
Which echoes all the spring night long 

The soft love-notes of Philomel ; — 
The village spire, — and on the hill 
The, here for ever busy, mill : — 
The frequent arches o'er thee laid ; — 
The town by thee enrich'd with trade ; — 
The shady elms, — the oaks more grand, 
To form the bulwarks of our land; — 
The ruin'd tower, whose spectral air 

Of glories gone doth sadly tell; — 
The park and modern mansion, where 

Retiring Wealth and Honour dwell; — 
The craggy glen; — the flowery nook, 
Enlivened by the sparkling brook ; — 
The hops, supplying here the place 
Of vines, as well in use as grace : — 
These are the charms strewn round thy path, 

And that is beauty's perfect line : 
Can Cintra boast that such she hath ? 

Do such adorn the banks of Rhine ? — 
While, with a gentle swell around, 

The blue hills in the distance rise, 
A soft and worthy chain to bound 

And fence this England's paradise ! 
Well might the bosom doom'd to roam 

From scenes which such delights bestow, 

E'en midst the lovely Pays de Vaud, 
Thus breathe its longing sighs for home. 



POETRY. 123 

My native land ! beloved clime ! 

Thou brightest gem that decks the sea ! 
Ever to thee at eve's soft time, 

My thoughts in mournful fondness flee : 
Though lovely scenes around me shine, 
I turn from them to dream of thine. 

Though here the Alps about me raise 
Their heads, as if to meet the skies, 

To those soft hills my fancy strays, 
Which round my native valley rise ; 

Though amidst splendor still I pine 

For charms which can be only thine. 

With front of stately pride, this tower 
Looks on the smiling lake below, — 

But lovelier far to me the bower 

Near which the Medway's waters flow ; 

Though Leman brightly blue may shine, 

More dear to me that stream of thine. 

Yes, lovely and beloved land, 

This hour e'er brings thee to mine eye, — 
Awhile in bliss entranc'd I stand, 

Then wake for absent scenes to sigh ; 
While pleasures here as spells combine 
To make me think the more of thine. 



124 POETRY. 

LINES 

WRITTEN IN THE RUINS OF ALLINGTON CASTLE. 

Here, where once stood the festive hall, 

Now strewn in ruin wide, 
I'll sit me on the broken wall, 

To muse on human pride : 
The lesson books have feebly told, 
E'en to the eye these towers unfold, 

And vanity deride ; 
Straight to the heart those truths they teach, 
Which Stoics long might vainly preach. 

Ah! who would now deem, Allington, 

Beholding thy decay, 
Thou wast the lov'd retreat of one, 

The glory of his day . 
Would deem thy riven, ivied towers 
Were once the Muses' loveliest bowers, — 

That Wit and Learning's ray 
Bright'ning thy courts had ever shone, — 
Where silent gloom now reigns alone. 

Yet, though thy noontide glories now 
Are past, on Medway's stream, 

Like yonder sun from western brow, 
Thou smil'st with setting beam ; — 

He goes his way again to rise 

In morning splendor through the skies, — 
How fondly could I dream, 

Albeit in vain, that so with thee 

The future as the past might be. 



POETRY. 

All is but vanity ; — a span 

Equals our time to live, — 
Yet, of its flight unmindful, man 

Rears dwellings to survive 
Even the echo of his name, — 
Save when supported by the fame 

Which virtuous actions give ; 
Such as protects thy "Wiat's tomb 
For ever from Oblivion's gloom: 

For he reposed not his trust 
On strength of turrets high ; 

Norlook'd to things of mould'ring dust 
For immortality ; 

His confidence, his treasure lay 

Far 'bove the danger of decay ; 
To heaven he rais'd his eye : 

Thus, upon earth his fame ensur'd ; 

Thus, an eternal crown secur'd. 



125 



TWILIGHT 

ON THE BANKS OF THE MEDWAY. 

If in this life of toil one hour be given, 
An earnest of the tranquil bliss of heaven, 
'Tis that which rises when the summer Sun 
Declines into the west, his circuit done : — 
Ling 'ring he seems to feel the soothing pow'r, 
The heavenly influence of the coming hour, 
Then, sinking down his gilded screen below, 
He leaves to man the joys he can't bestow. 



126 POETRY. 

O, then 'tis sweet to roam by Medway's side, 

Where Fant's soft groves o'erhang the gentle tide ; 

Or where with orchards rich, enchanting sight ! 

The golden hops their elegance unite ; 

Or where the Wiats' time-worn towers display 

The vestiges of grandeur pass'd away ; 

While Memory lends to each endeared scene 

The rainbow hues which once its own have been ; 

And with her soft " ' Twas here ! " — demands a sigh 

For hopes which crush'd, yet, worm-like, will not die. 

O, then how sweetly beams the Evening-star, 

No stronger light her loveliness to mar ; 

From us withdrawn, 'tis sweet to mark the day 

Still light the hill-tops with a pallid ray, 

Till o'er them, one by one, the darkness thrown, 

Mild Evening undisputed reigns alone, 

To mortals sent in pity from above, 

The beauteous queen of peace, of rest, of love. 



THE END. 



INDE X. 



Preface 
Sonnet 



Pagj 



MAIDSTONE. 

Of the Situation of Maidstone - - - 1 
Of the Antiquity of the Town, and Derivation of its 

Name ..... ibid. 

General Description of the Town, &c. • - 2 

Local Government, Charters, Privileges, &c. - 4 

Antiquities ..... 6 

Churches, &c. ----- 12 

Public Buildings, and Institutions, Charities, &c. 16 

Historical Matters connected with Maidstone - 27 
Persons of Xote born in, or otherwise connected with 

the Town ..... 33 

Trade, Manufactures, &c. ... 42 

Of the Parish, Hundred, and Manors 45 

ENVIRONS OF MAIDSTONE. 

Northern Excursion, No. 1. - - - 49 

North-eastern 2. - - 62 

Eastern 3. ... 68 

South-eastern 4. - 83 

Southern 5. 89 

South-western — 6. - 94 

Western ■ ■ 7. - - - 103 

North-western 8. - - 111 



128 INDEX. 

POETRY. Page. 

The Med way - - - - 121 

Lines written in the Ruins of Allington Castle 124 

Twilight on the Banks of the Medway - 125 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 




Map to front Title 




Maidstone: All Saints' Church, 6cc. 


to front 1 


Kits Coty House ... 


49 


Vinters .... 


68 


Leeds Castle ... 


72 


Sutton Castle - 


87 


Loose .... 


92 


East Faileigh - 


102 


Teston Biidge ... 


100 


Mailing Abbey • 


114 



CORRECTIONS. 



Page 1 , line 15, for ' nearly ' read ' more than' 

5, note, for « 34th ' read ' 22d.' 

21, line 32, for ' 12 ' read ' 13 ' 

22, The head-master of the Subscription Academy does 

not hold his house rent free. 
• 34, line 28. for ' include read ' included' 

40. — 14, after ' in ' read ' this ' 

41, — 12, for ' 34 ' read ' 33." — J. Jefferys was boru 

in the spring of 17 51. 

43, — 10, for ' caried ' read ' carried ' 

51, — 4, dele ' con-' 

56, — 19, for *it ' read ' Kits Coty House' 

57, lines 27 and 28, for ' a sacrificial altar or a monumental 

trophy' read 'sacrificial altars or monumental trophies' 

94, last line, for ' it ' read ' its ' 



MAIDSTONE ■• 
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87, WEEK STREET. 



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