Visit Maidstone and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Maidstone, Kent. The busy county town of Kent on the Medway has many interesting features and is an excellent centre for excursions. There was a settlement here in Anglo-Saxon times (and probably before that in Roman) but it did not come into prominence until around the 14th century, then mainly as a centre of revolt and support of lost causes. John Ball, the ‘mad priest’, was imprisoned here; Wat Tyler, the leader of the tragic Peasants' Revolt, came from Maidstone; Sir Thomas Wyatt, who led the rebellion of the Men of Kent against Mary I, was a landowner in the district; the town supported the Royalist cause in the Civil War, and lost an engagement with the Parliamentary forces at nearby Farleigh Bridge.
Many industrial buildings front the river, but there is also a fine group of l4th-century structures: the Archbishop's Palace, All Saints Church and the College buildings. All of them are better seen from the river banks than from the road.
All Saints is built in Kentish ragstone in Decorated and Perpendicular style. It is the widest and one of the largest parish churches in the country. It has a magnificent oaken vaulted roof, and there are some good l8th-century stained-glass windows. There is a fine carved marble reredos representing the Te Deum, but this, unfortunately, hides a splendid window from direct view. The font is Jacobean. At one time there were no seats in the church except those along the walls, reserved for the aged and infirm; it was in this arrangement that the seemingly harsh saying “the weakest go to the wall” originated.
A mural tablet near the tower door commemorates Laurence Washington, a great-uncle of George Washington; it is surmounted by the family crest with the stars and stripes that were to be perpetuated in the United States flag. Laurence Washington, whose grave is in the churchyard, lived in a mansion in Knightrider Street little more than 100 yds from the church. Unfortunately the house has been demolished and the site is now a car park.
The Archbishop's Palace antedates the church by more than half a century. It was built as a residence for the archbishops of Canterbury and as a place for them to rest on journeys between Canterbury and London. The central part is original, the Wings Tudor.
Probably the oldest building in Maidstone is the small 13th-century St Peter's Chapel in St Peters Street, a gem surrounded by industrial buildings. It was originally the chapel of a hospital for travellers and pilgrims which has long since disappeared. After several centuries of secular use the chapel was restored and re-decorated in the 1830s.
The village of Loose is just over 2 miles from the centre of Maidstone. Although it is now really a suburb, it has kept its rural aspect, and possesses a number of old buildings, best of which is the Woolhouse. Loose was once a milling centre, and the little river which drove the mills flows through the village.
About 2 miles north east of the town is Allington Castle. It is beautifully set in dense woodlands, and its walls and turrets rise from a green surround in spring and summer. The present building was constructed in the late 13th century on the site of a former manor house and earlier castle. The castle once belonged to the Wyatt family, but they lost it after Sir Thomas Wyatt led his unsuccessful rising against Queen Mary. Later its owners hid refugee priests during a period of persecution in the reign of Elizabeth I.
Nearby towns: Ashford, Chatham, Cranbrook, Gillingham, Rochester, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Sittingbourne, Tonbridge, West Malling
Nearby villages: Aylesford, Bearsted, Bicknor, Boughton Monchelsea, Boxley, Bredgar, Bredhurst, Burham, Cuxton, Detling, East Barming, East Farleigh, East Malling, East Peckham, Eccles, Halling, Harrietsham, Headcorn, Hempstead, Holborough, Hollingbourne, Loose, Lower Halstow, Luddesdown, Mereworth, Paddock Wood, Rainham, Ryarsh, Snodland, Staplehurst, Stockbury, Sutton Valence, Ulcombe, Upchurch, Vigo, Wateringbury, West Peckham, Wouldham, Yalding
Have you decided to visit Maidstone or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Maidstone bed and breakfast (a Maidstone B&B or Maidstone b and b)
- a Maidstone guesthouse
- a Maidstone hotel (or motel)
- a Maidstone self-catering establishment, or
- other Maidstone accommodation