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St. Peter's Church, Aylesford, Kent
St. Peter's Church
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Aylesford Parish



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Aylesford

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).


Aylesford Bibliography

-- 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.]


  • General references to Aylesford: vol. , pp.
  • Currently in revision

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.

Census | Church of England | Non-Conformist | Parish chest | Workhouse and Poor Law | Land | Assizes and Sessions | School

 

Census

Date The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue,
Kew, Richmond,
Surrey,
TW9 4DU
LDS Family History Centre
(Find a centre near you)
and indexed online at:
New FamilySearch.org
6 June 1841 Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851 Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851 census name index & images Currently under revision  
7 Apr 1861 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1871 Currently under revision  
3 Apr 1881 Currently under revision  
5 Apr 1891 Currently under revision  
31 Mar 1901 RG 13/785 - also online at http://www.1901censusonline.com  
2 Apr 1911 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1911 RG 78/139 - Census Enumerator's Summary Books online only http://www.1911census.co.uk and other subscription sites none
 

Church Records, Church of England

Record Type Dates Archive 1
(Addresses)
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Register   Currently under revision  
Bishop's transcripts   Currently under revision  
CMB transcripts   Currently under revision  
Parish Registers, transcribed by Thomas Colyer-Fergusson   Currently under revision  
 

Church Records, Non-Conformist

Record Type Dates Archive 1
(Addresses)
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Particular Baptist Chapel, Nonconformist Return   Currently under revision  
Methodist Church Registers   Currently under revision  
 

Parish chest records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
(Addresses)
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Council Minutes   Currently under revision  
Removal orders out of Aylesford   Currently under revision  
Settlement Examinations, Minute book   Currently under revision  
Overseers' Accounts   Currently under revision  
Return of Churchwardens, constables and defaulters     
Tithe Apportionment Files      
Poor Rate books   Currently under revision  
 

Workhouse and Poor Law Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
(Addresses)
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Admission & Discharge books   This section currently under revision  
Guardians' Minutes      
Ledgers      
Births   Currently under revision  
Deaths   Currently under revision  
Religious creed registers   Currently under revision  
Apprentice Register      
Registers of lunatics      
Letters books      
Vaccination registers 1899-1930 Currently under revision  
 

Land Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
(Addresses)
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Land tax assessments 1780-1831 Currently under revision  
Land tax assessments 1875-1876 Currently under revision  
Land tax assessments 1889-1890 Currently under revision  
Rates and Duties - Houses, Windows, Lights   Currently under revision  
Manorial Court rolls   Currently under revision  
War Damage Files 1939-1962 Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, Kent, no.: Finding Aid at CKS-DRb/RW 123 None
 

Assizes and Sessions Records
(poor laws, jail terms, oaths, and other municipal and public records)

Record Type Dates Archive 1
(Addresses)
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Hearth tax   Currently under revision  
Victuallers Recognizances   Currently under revision  
Churchwarden's Presentments   Currently under revision  
Parish rate books   Currently under revision  
 

School Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
(Addresses)
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
    Currently under revision  
       

Chronology

Coming Soon


Church Registers


Census

  • 1801-1831

  • 1841

  • 1851

  • 1861

  • 1871

  • 1901

  • 1911

Parish Chest
Records

  • Settlement Certificates
  • Removal Orders
  • Bastardy Examinations
  • Parish-assisted Immigrants
  • Churchwarden's Accounts
  • Overseer's Accounts
  • Surveyor's Accounts
  • Workhouse Records
  • Pew Rents
  • Donors' Rolls
  • Vestry Minutes
  • Bishops' Visitations
  • Parish Magazines
  • Parish Histories

Directories


Total Population

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


Aylesford Distance to

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.


Directories


Municipal & Public Records

  • Mayors
  • Town Clerks
  • Recorders
  • Chamberlains
  • M.P.s
  • Jurats, Aldermen and Common Councilmen
  • Electoral Register
  • Freeholders
  • Freemen Index
  • Freeman's Roll
  • Masters Index
  • Pubs, Taverns, Inns, Alehouses
  • Victuallers

Wills & Estate Records

  • AD index 1448-1857
  • CC index 1448-1857
  • PCC 1338-1858
  • PPR 1858-1925
  • Depositions

Court Records

  • Gaol Returns
  • Quarter Sessions
  • Transportations
  • Summons for Pavement Repairs
  • Protestation Rolls c1641-1643
  • Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy 1662
  • Oaths of Allegiance c1720s

Military Records


Land Records
& Maps

  • Parish Map
  • Deeds, Mortgages, etc.
  • Rated Property Returns
  • Returns of owners of land, 1873
  • Manor Court Baron
  • Manor Tenancy Rolls
  • Manors, Castles & Holdings of Significance

Tax Lists

  • Poll Tax
  • Hearth Tax
  • Window Tax
  • Hair Powder Tax
  • Land Tax Assessments 1780-1831
  • Land Tax Assessments 1799-1805

Other Records

  • Apprenticeships
  • Immigration
  • School Records
  • Notable Events
  • Nefarious Activities

Village Resources