Posted by: madkentdragon | March 1, 2011

Loose Village in Kent


Brooks Path, Loose

Growing up in Loose, it seemed to me to be the normal boring place where nothing much happened and I longed for holidays to get away from it.

But now as holidays mean staying at home, I have taken to wandering round the area and discovering some of its history – and there’s plenty of it!

Just outside of Maidstone there is a little village called Loose, an area I thought I knew well as I spent the first 14 years of my life there, not realising that the viaduct carrying the A228 (Hastings Road) was built by Thomas Telford! The little church in the Loose Valley – All Saints – was probably built before 1300 and there may have been a church there in the 9th Century and one of the bells dates back from the mid 16th century; the old yew tree is believed to be 1000 years old In the church you can still see where the rood screen had been and the bottom half of the steps leading to the top where the sermons were preached are still there.

To complete the picture, which used to appear frequently on chocolate boxes and calendars is a stream which had about thirteen mills operating from its source to where it joins the River Medway. One of these mills, Hayle Mill, was until quite recently one of the few mills that produced handmade paper. Part of it has now been redeveloped as housing, but some of it has been saved and is a Grade II listed building

Anyway, back to the stream, the part that runs adjacent to the churchyard and a 17th Century pub has been known from time immemorial as “The Brooks” with a causeway running along its length from the bottom of Old Loose Hill to Church Street and a gate into the church yard.

The houses in this part of the village date back many centuries and are built of  ragstone which comes from a quarry in the nearby village of Boughton Monchelsea and as an aside, the Romans shipped this stone to London to build the walls of Londinium. Also there were wage riots there in 1815! That’s something I’ve discovered today when I was making sure my facts were correct!

I could continue and talk about the school, the George V playing fields, the old vicarage, but I think I’ve bored you enough for one day!

As a footnote, this was going to be a post about Maidstone, but I started at Loose and couldn’t get back up one of the steepest hills in Kent (Old Loose Hill) and so, apart from lamenting the housing estates at the top of Pickering Street where orchards abounded, I’ll leave it there.

PS it is pronounced LOOZ! As the Loose WI & Guides will emphatically tell you.

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Responses

  1. Ty for the history lesson, always great to hear and find out about another area’s history. What use to be so boring to me growing up, I find so fascinating @ my mature age of 38 :{D Ty again

  2. Hi Pat lovely blog brought back some memory’s of my old man who used to ask me ”WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN SCHOOL TODAY???” And I did learn not to say history in the end. As the next would be where when and who? I would start to talk about some (Not all but most) of the fragmented history we had been taught Then a question would be asked. It may have been local Old or new or Important I.E First/Second War But his argument Which has been addressed to the best of my Knowledge You should know your routes then the rest can come easy with context. Needless to say I did agreed with him in the end Just took 10 years or 20 ;o) But thank you for your share and memoires ;o) XXX

    XXX

    Jeff

  3. A genuine affection for your village is evident here. I guess the real lesson for us all is to take a longer look at what is right there in front of our noses! Thank you!

    • Thank you, it’s not just the village, there’s so much in Kent that I’ve discovered, but as I grew up in Loose it holds so many happy memories


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