In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Maidstone like this:
Maidstone.-- parl. and mun. bor., par., and co. town of Kent, on river Medway, 39 miles SE. of London by rail - par., 4576 ac., pop. 29,647; bor., 4008 ac., pop. 29,623; 2 Banks, 6 newspapers. Market-days, Thursday and Saturday. Antiquaries affirm that there can be no doubt that this town had ancient British and Roman associations. During the Saxon era its name was Medwegeston, and in Domesday Book it appears as Medestane. In more modern times the town has historical associations with the revolts of Wat Tyler (1381), Jack Cade (1450), and Sir Thomas Wyatt (1554). ...
For its share in the last mentioned rising it was disfranchised by Queen Mary, but received a new incorporation from Queen Elizabeth. In 1648 Maidstone having declared for the King, was stormed and captured by the Parliamentarians under Fairfax. All Saints Church (probably of 14th century), 227 ft. by 91 ft., is one of the largest parish churches in the kingdom. In the district are various well-known paper mills; other leading occupations being the mfr. of oil, brewing, malting, iron founding, tanning, coachmaking, and the mfr. of agricultural implements. The principal trade, however, is in hops, Maidstone being the centre of a great hop district. The river is from 12 to 15 ft. deep at Maidstone, and is navigable for heavy barges. Andrew Broughton, mayor of the town, read the death sentence to King Charles I. Maidstone returns 1 member to Parliament; it returned 2 members from Edward VI. until 1885, when its parl. limits were reduced by the exclusion of the Hamlet of Loddington.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Maidstone has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Maidstone. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Maidstone and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Maidstone in Kent | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 25th May 2013
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