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Kent Past

The History of Kent

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History of Eccles

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 house.

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.