Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for AYLESFORD

AYLESFORD, a small town, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a lathe, in Kent. The town, the parish, and the subdistrict, are in the district of Malling. The town stands at the foot of a hill, on the right bank of the Medway, adjacent to the North Kent railway, 3 miles NNW of Maidstone; and it has a station on the railway, and a post office‡ under Maidstone. It dates from the times of the Saxons; and was then called Eaglesford. A battle was fought at it, in 455, between the British king Vortimer and the Saxon chiefs Hengist and Horsa; and terminated in favour of the Britons The alleged grave of Horsa is shown, in a heap of flint stones, at Horsted, 2 miles to the N; but is claimed also at Horsham and Horsted in Sussex. Victorious battles against the Danes also were fought in the vicinity, in 893 by Alfred, and in 1016 by Edmund Ironside. The town consists of one long street. Remains of a Nor man keep, about 10 feet high, are in it; and a six-arched bridge, of considerable antiquity, is adjacent on the river. A Carmelite priory was founded at it, in 1240, by Richard Lord Grey of Codnor; passed, at the dissolution, to Sir Thomas Wyatt of Allington; went, in the time of Elizabeth, to John Sedley of Southfleet; was sold, in the time of Charles I., to Sir Peter Rycant; and came eventually to Heneage Finch, who was created Earl of Aylesford in 1714, and whose representatives still possess it. The existing edifice retains much of the ancient buildings; but includes additions and alterations, from the 17th century downward, by its successive occupants. The parish church crowns an abrupt rising ground at the end of the town; is principally Norman, with a square tower at the west end; and contains a brass of 1426, monuments of the Colepeppers, the Sed leys, and the Rycants, and a costly one to Sir John Banks, who died in 1699. There are a neat Wesleyan chapel, a literary institution, national schools, an alms house-hospital with £135 a year, restored in 1841, and other charities £43. An extensive stone-ware pottery and a large paper-mill are on the river a short way to the E. A remarkable Druidical monument, called Kitt's-Cotty-House (which see) is on the hillside, above the town. Cosenton, the seat of a family of its own name, from the time of King John till that of Henry VIII., but now a farmhouse, is on the same hillside. Sir Charles Sedley, the poet, and Sir Paul Rycant, the oriental traveller, were natives of Aylesford.

The parish comprises 4,391 acres. Real property, £10,104. Pop., 2,057. Houses, 327. The property is subdivided. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £531.* Patrons, the Dean and Chap ter of Rochester.-The subdistrict contains ten parishes. Acres, 19,208. Pop., 8,036. Houses, 1,437.—The district of Aylesford lies N of Malling district; and bears the name of North Aylesford. It consists of the sub district of Northfleet, containing the parishes of North fleet, Ifield, Nursted, Meopham, Luddesdown, Cobham, Denton, Chalk, and Shorne and Merston; and the sub district of Strood, containing the parishes of Strood, Higham, Cliffe-at-Hoo, Frindsbury, Cuxtone, and Hal ling. Acres, 41,732. Poor-rates, £11,138. Pop. in 1841, 14,576; in 1861. 19. 121. Houses. 3,579. Marriages, 206; births, 643,-of which 27 were illegitimate; deaths, 327,-of which 131 were at ages under 5 years, and 6 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60,1,868; births, 6,390; deaths, 3,648. The places of worship in 1851 were 14 of the Church of England, with 4,484 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 744 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 571 s.; 3 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 514 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 220 s.; and 1 of the Wesleyan Methodist Association, with 55 s. The schools were 12 public day schools, with 1,277 scholars; 37 private day schools, with 857 s.; and 24 Sunday schools, with 1,933 s. The workhouse is in Strood.-The lathe of Aylesford extends from the Thames to Sussex; is from 7½ to 23 miles broad; and contains the hundreds of Brenchley and Horsemonden, Chatham and Gillingham, Eyhorne, Hadlow, Hoo, Larkfield, Littlefield, Maidstone, Shamwell, Toltingtrough, Lowey Tunbridge, Twyford, Washlingstone, West Malling, and Wrotham. Acres, 261,743. Pop. in 1851, 121,108; in 1861, 138,752. Houses, 24,897.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a small town, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a lathe"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Aylesford CP/AP       Aylesford SubD       Kent AncC
Place names: AYLESFORD     |     NORTH AYLESFORD
Place: Aylesford

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