Secret Maidstone explores the lesser-known history of the town of Maidstone through a fascinating selection of stories, unusual facts and attractive photographs.
Maidstone, the county town of Kent, has a colourful history shaped by battles, royalty, revolts, witches, mad priests, industrialists, brewers, and Victorian benefactors. Situated between Dover and London, the town was a main route for pilgrimages and a bustling centre for local and national trade, located along the River Medway. It's home to the Archbishop's Palace, formally the fourteenth century residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, and has the country's largest collection of medieval buildings in one place.
Despite many changes throughout the centuries, the ambience of old Maidstone can still be captured when walking through the town. Its history is unusual and intriguing and has everything from dinosaurs and megalithic structures. to cold war bunkers, Egyptian mummies, supernatural occurrences, tales of killer hail, gruesome executions, and a prison that has seen many executions and riots and housed some of Britain's most notorious villains.
Eminent people who have lived in Maidstone include William Caxton, England's first printer. Sir Lawrence Washington, an ancestor of George Washington, whose family crest can be seen in All Saints Church and resembles the USA national flag, and Lord Avebury who introduced bank holidays to the UK in 1872. Secret Maidstone explores the less well-known episodes and characters in the history of the town through the centuries.
With tales of remarkable characters, tucked away buildings and unusual events, fully illustrated with photography, it will appeal to all those with an interest in the history of the county town of Kent.