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Aylesford is, ecclesiastically, in the diocese of Rochester, in the archdeaconry of Rochester and St. Albans. The church is named for St. Peter with original parish registers commencing 1653.
Aylesford, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a lathe, in Kent. The town, the parish, and the sub-district, 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 north-north-west of Maidstone; and it has a station on the railway, and a post-office under Maidstone with a savings bank and a money order office.
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 north; 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 Norman 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 Rycaut; 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 Sedleys, and the Rycauts, 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 east. A remarkable Druidical monument, called Kits Cotty House [see below] is on the hill side 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 farm house, is on the same hillside. Sir Charles Sedley, the poet, and Sir Paul Rycaut, the oriental traveler, were natives of Aylesford.
The parish comprises 4,391 acres. Real property in 1860, £10,104. Population in 1861, 2,057. Houses, 327. The property is subdivided.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £531 with a habitable glebe house. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Rochester.
The sub-district contains ten parishes. Acres, 19,208. Population in 1861, 8,036. Houses, 1,437.
The district of Aylesford lies north of Malling district; and bears the name of North Aylesford. It consists of the sub-district of Northfleet, containing the parishes of Northfleet, 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 Halling. Acres, 41,732. Poor rates £11,138. Population in 1841, 14,676; 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 sittings; 3 of Baptists, with 571 sittings; 3 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 514 sittings; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 220 sittings; and 1 of the Wesleyan Methodist Association, with 55 sittings.
The schools were 12 public day schools, with 1,277 scholars; 37 private day schools, with 857 scholars; and 24 Sunday schools, with 1,933 scholars.
The workhouse is in Strood.
The lathe of Aylesford extends from the Thames to Sussex; is from 7-1/2 to 23 miles broad; and contains the hundreds of Brenchley and Horsemonden [sic], Chatham and Gillingham, Eyhorne, Hadlow, Hoo, Larkfield, Littlefield Maidstone, Shamwell, Toltingtrough, Lowey-Tunbridge, Twyford, Washlingstone, West Malling, and Wrotham. Acres, 261,743. Population in 1851, 121,108; in 1861, 138,752. Houses, 24,897.
Kits Cotty House, a large cromlech in Aylesford parish, Kent; on a hillside, adjacent to the river Medway, 3-1/2 miles north-by-west of Maidstone. It consists of three upright stones and an overlying one; and forms a small chamber, open in front. One of the side stones measures 7-1/2 feet by 7, is 2 feet thick, and weighs about 8-1/2 tons; the other side stone measures 8-1/2 feet by 8, and weighs about 8 tons; and the overlying stone measures 12 feet by 9-1/4, is 2-1/2 feet thick, and weighs about 10-1/2 tons. The cromlech is traditionally said to have been constructed to the memory of Catigern, slain here while fighting against the Saxons under Hengist; but it really is the centre of a group of monuments, which probably indicate a great necropolis of the Belgian settlers in this part of England, and which appears to have been connected, by a stone avenue 7 miles in length, with another group in the parish of Addington. Smaller monuments, of the same description as the cromlech, cover the brow of the hill above it; a group, called the Countless Stones, is in a field immediately below; and a boulder, called the White Horse Stone, and traditionally regarded as the coronation place of Hengist, was formerly on the top of the hill, but has been destroyed. Very curious excavations, mostly circular shafts opening at the bottom into one or more chambers, and seemingly of sepulchral character, are along the brow of the adjacent chalk hills on both sides of the river. Many ancient British coins, great quantities of broken ancient pottery, traces of a very large Roman villa, and indications of a Roman burial ground, have been found in the neighbourhood. A country inn is on the Maidstone road near the cromlech. 1
1 John Marius Wilson, comp. The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).
-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates. [Note: The following volumes can be found on archive.org: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online
Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).
Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005). URL: British History Online.
Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908). URL: British History Online
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323. URL: British History Online.
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302. URL: British History Online.
Location of Records
The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England. This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues. If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.
Church Records, Church of England
Church Records, Non-Conformist
Parish chest records
Workhouse and Poor Law Records
Assizes and Sessions Records
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1801 - 912
1811 - 875
1821 - 1,136
1831 - 1,301
1841 - 1,344
1851 - 1,487
1861 - 2,057
1871 - 2,100
1881 - 2,719
1891 - 2,979
1901 - 2,676
1911 - 2,598
1921 - 3,130
London 28.3 mi.
Canterbury 26.1 mi.
Ashford 20.0 mi.
Bromley 21.0 mi.
Chatham 5.0 mi.
Cranbrook 14.0 mi.
Dartford 15.5 mi.
Deptford 25.3 mi.
Dover 38.1 mi.
Faversham 18.1 mi.
Folkestone 33.4 mi.
Gravesend 10.8 mi.
Greenwich 23.6 mi.
Hythe 31.1 mi.
Maidstone 3.1 mi.
Margate 39.8 mi.
Milton Regis 11.8 mi.
Queenborough 14.7 mi.
Ramsgate 41.2 mi.
Rochester 6.2 mi.
Sandwich 37.9 mi.
Sheerness 15.8 mi.
Tenterden 18.4 mi.
Tunbridge 14.7 mi.
Woolwich 22.2 mi.