The History and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of All Saints (Classic Reprint)

The History and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of All Saints (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The History and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of All Saints

Maidstone is in the bailiwick of Eyehorne, Lathe of Aylesford, west division of the county, and division of the justices of the corporation of Maidstone; the church is in the diocese of Canterbury and deanery of Sutton, and is thus entered in the black book - "de Maidstone cum capellis de Loose et Detliug."

Placed in the centre of a fertile valley, on the banks of a navigable stream, and in easy communication with every part of the county, this town must early have risen into that consideration which, without recession, it has maintained by a course of quiet nnventuring industry. Though a place of much resort, enriched by the passage of the Canterbury pilgrims, and a favoured residence of the archbishops, it can scarcely be said to have any history of its own, but, responsive only to influence from without, has served here and there to give a site to an historical event, and fill its unambitious part in social organization.

Maidstone, however, possesses several objects that arrest the attention of an antiquary; the due proportion of religious foundations that one expects in an ancient town flourished here; the liberality of the archbishops augmented and upheld its ecclesiastical establishments, and private wealth and station have left their record in such buildings as one would expect to proceed from the aristocracy of a country town, too great to be adorned by the hand of baronial and feudal power, and not great enough to leave any remarkable memorials of itself to posterity. Leland gives the following description of it, as it was in the reign of Henry VIII., about 1538. "Ther is in the town a fair colledge of prestes. The castel standeth about the myddes of the town, being well maynteyned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Ther is the common gayle or prison of Kent, as in the shyre town; it is a market town of one long street, and full of ynnes."

As it is chiefly to the munificence of the archbishops that Maidstone is indebted for its architectural embellishments, a brief sketch of their connexion with the town may with propriety be introduced here.

At a very early period, even as far back as Edward the Confessor, the manor of Maidstone was owned to be the property of the Archbishop of Canterbury, probably by the gift of one of our Saxon princes; it is thus entered in Doomsday Book: "Meidestane est proprium manerium archiepiscopi et in T. E. R. se defendebat pro x full.' Et ex iis tenet Radulphus unum fulL quod est apprcciatum 50s. Et Willi-elmus firater Episcopi Gundulphi full.' Et sunt appretiat ?10. Et ansetillus de Ross unum full.' quod est appretiatum 60s. Et duo homines habcnt inde 1 full.'

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