Place:Otterden, Kent, England

TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.245°N 0.79°E
Located inKent, England
See alsoEyhorne Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Faversham Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Hollingbourne Rural, Kent, Englandrural district of which it was a part 1894-1974
Maidstone District, Kent, Englanddistrict municipality which has covered the area since 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Otterden is a village on the hills called the Kent Downs in the borough of Maidstone in Kent, England.

Otterden has an important place in the history of science: Stephen Gray and Granville Wheler carried out their seminal experiments showing that electricity can be conducted over long distances at Wheler's estate there in 1729.

end of Wikipedia contribution

Otterden was a civil parish in Hollingbourne Rural District from 1894 until 1974, and since 1974 has been part of the non-metropolitan Maidstone District. Originally it was an ancient parish in the Eyhorne Hundred and also in the Faversham Hundred.

A nineteenth century description

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Otterden from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"OTTERDEN, a parish, with a village, in Hollingbourn [registration] district, Kent; 2 miles S S W of Eastling, and 6½ S W by S of Faversham [railway] station. Post-town, Eastling, under Faversham. Acres: 1,434. Real property: £1,460. Population: 194. Houses: 41. The property is divided among a few. The manor belonged formerly to the Lewins and the Curteises; and, with Otterden Place, belongs now to the Rev. Wheeler. [Otterden] Place is a pretty mansion, partly of the time of Henry VIII.; was the scene of experiments, allied to those of Dr. Franklin, leading to the identification of lightning with electricity; and commands fine views over the wooded country toward Faversham, with distant glimpses of the sea. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Canterbury. Value: £307. Patron: the Rev. W. A. Paxton. The church was re-built in 1753; is an elegant structure of brick and stone; and contains some 17th century monuments of the Lewins and the Curteises. Charities, £10 and alms-houses."

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.
  • 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.