Place:Maidstone, Kent, England

Watchers
NameMaidstone
Alt namesMaegdestanesource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 311
Maeidesstanasource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 311
Meddestanesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 148; Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 311
Penenden Heathsource: settlement in parish
Tovilsource: settlement in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates51.283°N 0.533°E
Located inKent, England
See alsoMaidstone Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Maidstone District, Kent, Englanddistrict municipality into which it was absorbed in 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Maidstone is the county town of Kent, England, 32 miles (51 km) southeast of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river was a source and route for much of the town's trade as the centre of the agricultural county of Kent, known as the Garden of England.

The town is in the Borough of Maidstone. In the UK census of 2011, the town had a population of 113,137, about 73 per cent of the population of the borough.

Maidstone's economy has changed over the years from being involved in heavy industry, to more light industry and service industries.

Neolithic finds have revealed the earliest occupation of the area, and the Romans have left their mark in the road through the town and evidence of villas. The Normans set up a shire moot, and religious organisations established an abbey at Boxley, hospitals and a college for priests. Today’s suburb of Penenden Heath was a place of execution in medieval times.

Maidstone's charter as a town was granted in 1549; although briefly revoked, a new charter in 1551 created the town as a borough. The charter was ratified in 1619 under James I. Maidstone has had the right to a town gaol since 1604.

During the English Civil War, the Battle of Maidstone took place in 1648, resulting in a victory for the Parliamentarians. Andrew Broughton, who was Mayor of Maidstone in 1649 (and also Clerk to the High Court of Justice) was responsible for declaring the death sentence on Charles I, and today a plaque in Maidstone Town Centre memorialises Broughton as 'Mayor and Regicide'.

Paper mills, stone quarrying, brewing and the cloth industry have all flourished here. The paper maker James Whatman and his son invented wove paper (Whatman paper) at Turkey Mill from 1740. This was an important development in the history of printing.

A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of cavalry barracks in 1798. Invicta Park Barracks is now home to the 36 Engineer Regiment.

Maidstone Prison is north of the town centre and was completed in 1819.

Maidstone has continued to grow. In doing so it has incorporated hitherto separate settlements, villages and hamlets within its boundaries. These include Allington, Barming, Bearsted, Penenden Heath and Sandling. (Places in italics are redirected here.)

Maidstone was originally an ancient parish in the Maidstone Hundred of Kent. It was a municipal borough from 1894 until 1974.

Research tips

  • Kent County Council Archive, Local Studies and Museums Service. James Whatman Way, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1LQ. This incorporates the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone and the East Kent Archives Centre near Dover.
  • Canterbury Cathedral Archives see the Archives web pages on the Canterbury Catherdral site.
  • For information on the area around the Medway Towns, have a look at Medway Council's CityArk site.
  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Kent illustrates the parish boundaries of Kent when rural districts were still in existence and before Greater London came into being. The map publication year is 1931. An earlier map of 1900 may also be useful. The maps blow up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. Maps in this series are now downloadable for personal use.
  • Steve Archer has produced a very useful round-up of the available census records for Kent - and where/from whom they are available.
  • Registration Districts in Kent for the period 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.
  • Bishop's Transcripts for Kent parishes, 1558-1887, can be found on FamilySearch since February 2016
  • The Kent Family History Society and the North West Kent Family History Society are the most dominant, but there are also
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Maidstone. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.