Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
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History of Maidstone
Maidstone comes from the Old English ‘mægden’ meaning a ‘maiden’ with ‘stān’ as a ‘stone, rock’; therefore, the ‘stone of the maidens’. The Domesday Book chronicles Maidstone as Meddestane.
A small community existed when the Romans arrived and added villas and other stone
The Domesday Book, records Maidstone as a centre for crafts and part of the manorial estate of the Archbishop of Canterbury. By the 16th century, the small manorial estate had grown into a market town and borough; with the founding of the first Grammar school in 1549, and with growth in the number of schools, literacy markedly improved. By 1620, Maidstone held most Assize hearings.
The Georgian period sparked off real prosperity; living standards rose, specialist industries, shops, inns and professions proliferated. Maidstone became a prominent market town, maintained by the weekly Thursday market, four annual fairs, Sunday fairs, and a monthly cattle market. Maidstone built the town hall in 1765 and replaced as Kent's most prominent town, with the opening of the first General Dispensary in 1824, a new gaol in 1819, the County Sessions House in the 1820's, and expansion of the barracks.
The Saxons built the first wooden church -
Maidstone West station opened as the terminus on the South Eastern Railway’s northward branch from Paddock Wood, on 25 September 1844…. more
Maidstone Barracks station opened on the South Eastern Railway’s Medway Valley Line, on 1st July 1874…. more