Eccles comes from the Old English ‘aecclesse’ meaning the ‘meadow of the oak’. The
Domesday Book records Eccles as Aiglessa.
Eccles is the site of an Iron Age settlement, and a Roman villa estate with pottery
kiln. Following Roman rule, it reverted back to agriculture.
In 1850, Thomas Cubitt
opened a brickyard and cement works in Eccles. Local farmer, Thomas Abbott, foresaw
the workers in the new industries would need homes, and built a row of 22 houses,
this soon increased to 300. In 1861 Thomas Kemsley, built the Walnut Tree public
Workers came from all over the country, drawn by the promise of high wages. They
earned £5 a week and spent most of it in the Walnut Tree. A strong temperance movement
grew up and in an effort to wean the men from their alcoholic ways they built a church,
dedicated to St Marks, a Chapel-of-Ease to Aylesford, at the end of the 1880's. By
the 1930's, Eccles had its own cinema, pubs, working man's club and a recreation
ground. In 1979, the church closed.