|Alt names||Maegdestane||source: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 311|
|Maeidesstana||source: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 311|
|Meddestane||source: Domesday Book (1985) p 148; Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 311|
|Penenden Heath||source: settlement in parish|
|Tovil||source: settlement in parish|
|Type||Parish (ancient), Civil parish, Borough (municipal)|
|Located in||Kent, England|
|See also||Maidstone Hundred, Kent, England||ancient county division in which it was located|
|Maidstone District, Kent, England||district 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.
- 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.
- Census records for Kent are available on FamilySearch, Ancestry and FindMyPast. The first site is free; the other two are pay sites but have access to microfilmed images. Steve Archer produced a very useful round-up of the available sources, but this information may not be up to date.
- 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.
- England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911 The full database from Kent Archives Office, Maidstone, has been available online from FamilySearch since June 2016.
- Kent had five family history societies (now only four):
- Volume 2 of the Victoria County History of Kent (published 1926) is available online through the auspices of British History Online. It includes accounts of the early history of Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals, and of several sites now within the conurbation of London.
- Volume 3 of the Victoria County History of Kent (published 1932) This includes the text of, and the index to, the Kent Domesday survey. It has been provided by the Kent Archaeological Society.
- In place of the other volumes of the Victoria County History, British History Online has transcriptions of the numerous volumes of The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent by Edward Hasted (originally published 1797)
- English Jurisdictions 1851, a parish finding aid provided by FamilySearch, is particularly helpful in locating parishes in large ancient towns and cities like Canterbury.
- Kent Probate Records Numerous links provided by Maureen Rawson
- GENUKI lists other possible sources, however, it does not serve Kent so well as it does some other counties.