Posted by: madkentdragon | March 4, 2011

Maidstone Part 1

The reason that it’s part one is that I don’t want to bore you for too long so have decided to break this post up into several parts.

Maidstone, to those who drive through, avoid by taking the motorway or just visit the generic shops and shopping centres is an ordinary town – except we have 4 shopping centres actually in the town!

However if you look beyond the shop windows there is an overwhelming amount of history. We’ll start with All Saints Church – stop yawning, because it isn’t just an ordinary church it was originally a collegiate church – built in 1935 with permission of King Richard by Archbishop Courtenay. (Richard was at Leeds Castle at the time) it is recognised as one of the largest perpendicular churches in England. But enough of the technical stuff – the church has much of interest in it and stands on a former 9th century church and at the back of the church, you can see some of its walls.

When you go into the church, look up and you will see all the Regimental Colours of the two main regiments from the town, the Buffs and the Royal Engineers 36 Regiment, that is not all – look at the wall plaques and you will be surprised to see one of the first depictions of the Stars and Stripes which is commemorating a local lawyer by the name of Laurence Washington who lived in the 17th century in a house nearby which unfortunately is no longer there.

Then there’s the college, built at the same time as the church, it was a college of priests whose main purpose in life was to pray for the soul of the archbishop! But it came in very useful during the “town and gown” disputes in Oxford as many of the students escaped here and it is rumoured Erasmus may have stayed for a while.

One more place for this one – the Tithe Barn, built to receive the tithes that all had to pay to the church, it is roughly the same age as the church and now houses a display of carriages, including a royal carriage and a Russian sled belonging to the children of the Russian royals.

I won’t bore you any more for now, but will tell you about probably the oldest bridge in Kent and the Archbishop’s palace and these are still in the same area as the church, college and tithe barn!


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