Aldington, Kent

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Aldington
Court Lodge Aldingham Kent Geograph-3687873-by-Ian-Yarham.jpg
Aldington is located in Kent
Aldington
Aldington
 Aldington shown within Kent
Area  18.23 km2 (7.04 sq mi)
Population 1,248 (Civil Parish)[1]
   – density  68/km2 (180/sq mi)
OS grid reference TR063365
Civil parish Aldington
District Ashford
Shire county Kent
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Ashford
Postcode district TN25
Dialling code 01233
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Folkestone & Hythe
List of places
UK
England
Kent

Coordinates: 51°05′37″N 0°56′28″E / 51.093611°N 0.941111°E / 51.093611; 0.941111

Aldington is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent, England. The village centre is eight miles (12 km) south-east of the town of Ashford. As with the village centre, set on a steep escarpment above agricultural Romney Marsh and the upper Stour is Aldington Knoll, which was used as a Roman burial barrow and later beacon; it has a panorama towards the English Channel and of low land such as Dungeness.

Geography[edit]

The parish is bounded to the north by the M20 motorway and the straight rail links that include High Speed 1. To the south it drops to the Romney Marsh (about 10% of the parish lies there) to the north bank of the Royal Military Canal. It covers 3,400 acres (1376ha) and has a population of 981. The parish, part of the North Downs), is considered an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a large area is also part of the Old Romney Shoreline Special Landscape Area. The main road across the parish follows the path of a Roman road[2]

Aldington Frith is difficult to separate from the village proper and forms a salient to the west along the village's main street where it has a further but smaller pub.

St Martin's church[edit]

The area's church (the ecclesiastical parish having approximately the same boundaries as the civil parish) dates from the 12th century: its 16th-century tower became a landmark for seamen. It is built in Perpendicular style.[3]

History[edit]

The village of Aldington is steeped in history: more than 50 buildings of historical or architectural interest are in the civil parish. Beside the church was one of the Archbishop of Canterbury's palaces, of which only ruins remain.[4] Court Lodge Farmhouse was its manor house and hunting lodge, particularly favoured and improved by Archbishops Morton (1486-1500) and Wareham (1508-1532), both of whom also embellished the adjacent parish Church of St. Martin. The house, park and chase (1000 acres) were bought and extended by Henry VII of England in 1540, the whole complex said to have 5 kitchens, 6 stables and 8 dovecotes.[5]

After the Napoleonic Wars, Aldington was the stronghold of The Aldington Gang, an infamous band of smugglers who roamed the marshes and shores of Kent plying their trade. The gang's leaders, Cephas Quested and George Ransley, natives of Aldington, made the Walnut Tree inn (see below) their headquarters and drop for their contraband. High up on the southern side of the inn is a small window through which the gang would shine a signal light to their confederates on Aldington Knoll.[6]

Aldington Knoll itself is the subject of local and wider legend. Traditionally, it is said to be the burial site of a giant and his sword and is protected by murderous ghouls who will kill anyone attempting to flatten the area. Ford Maddox Hueffer's poem "Aldington Knoll" is inspired by this legend. Others, including HG Wells, with is lush wooded slopes have suggested that it is the entrance to a fairyland.[7]

In 1511 Erasmus of Rotterdam, the theologian and scholar, was appointed rector of Aldington by Archbishop Warham. He lived at the rectory next to the church in what is now called Parsonmage Farm. Erasmus spoke Latin and Dutch but no English. He could therefore not preach to the English congregation and resigned one year later after a kidney complaint, which he blamed on the local beer.

Elizabeth Barton born in the village in 1506, became a maid to one of the local families, but claimed she had visions. She was provided a place in the convent at Canterbury, and through some manipulation by Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More she prophesied that King Henry VIII would die a villain's death if he divorced Catherine of Aragon.

In August 1926, a Blériot 155 of Air Union crashed at College Farm, Hurst (in Aldington parish) killing three of the 15 passengers and crew.

Notable inhabitants[edit]

Many famous literary figures have made their home here, including

  • Joseph Conrad (December 3, 1857 – August 3, 1924), the Polish-born novelist.
  • Ford Madox Ford (December 17, 1873 – June 26, 1939) the novelist and publisher.
  • Sir Noël Coward (December 16, 1899 – March 26, 1973) the actor, playwright, and composer of popular music.

More recently it has been home to Noel Redding, bass player with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, comedians Vic Reeves, Paul O'Grady (Lily Savage) and Julian Clary.

Amenities[edit]

In Aldington and its outcrop locality, Aldington Frith, the amenities include a primary school; a large pub The Walnut Tree (with restaurant); and a post office/village store. There is a village hall and a recreation ground including a tennis court and children's play area. 2010 saw the civil parish council pay for a gym area on the Reynold's Playing Field and playground equipment for children.

References[edit]

External links[edit]