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History of Aldington

Aldington comes from the Old English ‘ing’ a connective particle, linking the first and last elements, with ‘tūn’ meaning an ‘enclosure, a farmstead, village’ combined with a personal name; therefore ‘farm/settlement connected with Ealda’. The Domesday Book records Aldington as Aldintone. 

Aldington parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. The Saxons built the first church in the 11th century. The Normans extended the chancel in the 13th century, adding the chapel and pews later that century and early in the next. Successive Archbishops of Canterbury, whose palace was next door, enlarged the building between the 14th and 15th centuries. Various members of the village contributed to the building of the tower between 1507 and 1557. There is a record of three bells in 1552. John Peele cast and hung a new ring of five bells in 1705. In 1774, Pack and Chapman recast them into a ring of six. In 1799, Edward Hasted described the Aldington church as ‘large and handsome, and consists of two isles and two chancels, having at the west end a handsome tower steeple, well and strongly built, the top of it being covered with lead, flat and without battlements, seemingly as if unfinished. This steeple was begun about the year 1507, and went on so slowly, most probably for want of money, that it was not finished in 1557, as appears by the legacies left towards the work of it, in several wills in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury. There are six bells in it, cast about twenty-four years ago’. The architect Sir Arthur Blomfield carried out restoration work in 1876. They added battlements to the tower in 1911.

A large population of the village died in the Black Death, with the remaining villagers moving it a mile from its original position.

Around 300 years later, a gang of smugglers, known as the 
Aldington Gang,   based themselves in the village. They had many brushes with the authorities, before final capture. They deported the leader George Ransley to Tasmania.

Local legend suggests a giant, with a sword, lay buried in Aldington Knoll, protected by a curse. The owner of the land once wanted to level the knoll, although no labourer in the village would carry out the work for fear of the fate that would befall them. Eventually, the owner employed a man from outside the village, who dug up a skeleton and a sword, and then died. They replaced the knoll, never to be touched again. The RAF used it for an observation post during WWII.