Posted by: madkentdragon | March 21, 2011

Burials, Standing Stones and Legends. Aylesford Part 3


I’m afraid we’re going to have to get in the car for the next bit, so we’ll go round to the car  park on the Bailey Bridge Road and start from there. We’ll take the old Rochester Road, so better than going on the A229 as these roads haven’t changed much through the years and then on your right just past the junction with Pratling Street , voila! Standing Stones and a
burial site! This set have the misnomer “Little Kits Coty” and the others which
are  known as “Kits Coty” are  the other side of the Pilgrims Way, which is the road this one joins on to, and then onto the footpath known as the North Downs Way which is a bit uphill and there you have it! As you can see they have modernised the old Pilgrims Way here and made it a dual carriage way with a grass verge in between the two lanes!

We’ll start with this one as some of the stones here date from the same time that Stonehenge was built and near it are also some Roman burials as well as this chambered tomb where it is supposed that Catigern, son of Vortigern was buried after the Battle of Aylesford. There was originally another one here, but in 1722 was demolished! From above, there is a henge ditch and earthen mound which is typical of a henge site (thanks Time Team!) and is possibly the reason the site was used for burials, but most of the large mound has been ploughed away. Incidentally the name Kits Coty is a local nickname – Kits = Catigern and Coty = House. Some of the standing stones are no longer standing neither are they at Little Kits Coty.

Now we’ll wander down to the other one which is called Little Kits Coty, this one has collapsed and definitely dates back to the Neolithic period and has further roman burials around it. These are also known as the countless stones because the way they are laying makes it impossible to
count them and end up with the same total twice!
Stories abound about these monuments and stones and, because they were not given the same significance as Stonehenge, I doubt if we will
ever find out;  however, they do seem to be connected  by a stone avenue 7 miles in length, with another group in the parish of Addington
which is known as a Romano-Belgic Necropolis so really “you pays yer money and yer takes yer pick”  There is one story that occasionally a ghostly battle is enacted here and another states that if you place a personal object on the capstone of the intact tomb at the time of
the full moon  and walk around the area three times the object disappears.

Further on, but unmarked are some large flint stones which are believed to be the burial mound of Horsa and the hamlet within the parish of Aylesford that these monuments stand is known as Horstead!

The Roman burials here have been identified as a group of people who came from the Belgian area of the Roman Empire, whether they were soldiers from the Battle of the Medway or from a re-buried roman villa near here is not known, but they were unusual in the way that they were buried. The burials were discovered in 1890 and the pots that were used for the ashes were made, unusually, on a potter’s wheel and
also some were placed in wooden buckets with ornamentation on the handles. These are only found in about three other places in Britain and are called the Aylesford-Swarling culture – Swarling being one of the other places that they have been found. These artefacts are now in the British Museum.

There is one other stone of note in the area, the remains of which now denote the edge of the parish boundary and is called the White Horse Stone and it’s further up the hill from the coty sites and although much round it was destroyed by local medieval farmers curious circular shafts have been found here. The stone is rumoured to be where Hengist was crowned king of Kent.

For a reference point, you are now half way up Bluebell Hill and from here you have views right over the Medway Valley.

Next time the Priory, building, dissolution and re-building.

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Responses

  1. Great to see the photos of the stones- I had no idea they were there !

  2. Me neither! You should send these to the Kent Tourism Board Pat, they’re really good 🙂


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