Eccles from Blue Bell Hill
|Eccles shown within Kent|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
It is the site of a Roman villa estate and pottery kiln, excavated between 1962 and 1976. It replaced an Iron Age settlement, and was occupied until the end of Roman rule. The name "Eccles" comes from the Latin word "ecclesia" meaning church, suggestions that a post-Roman Christian community existed in the village beyond the Roman withdrawal and into the Saxon period are conjecture. The name likely comes from its proximity to the Carmelite Monastery in Aylesford. The area was merely known as 'Bull Lane' until the mid-19th century. Also, a cemetery was found with six skeletons all of whom showed injuries caused by weapons. Three had single long sword cuts to the left side of the skull. The other three had multiple injuries - one had been hit three times on the left side of the skull, another had been hit in the spine by a projectile, either an arrow or a javelin, which probably disabled him and a single sword cut to the head. (information from British Archaeology, Sept 1999)
There is a school, a church, a pub, a convenience store with post office services, and a doctors’ surgery with dispensing facilities. There is also a church hall, which is used by the village pre-school, and a drop-in centre for the over-50s in Cork Street.
At the centre of the village is a large park (‘the Rec’) with a skate park, children's play facilities and exercise equipment for adults. On weekends there are junior football games. Nearby, there is a sports field which has been used by Eccles Football Club since the 19th century.
There is now just one pub in Eccles, the Red Bull. The Walnut Tree was demolished and the site developed into private housing.
St Mark’s School, Eccles, is a well-resourced, Church of England Primary School. It was rebuilt in 2002 on a green-field site close to the small Victorian building that it replaced. It is set in attractive grounds, with solar roof panels, a large science and sensory garden, allotments, a modern ICT suite and a new sports court.
A library bus visits every Tuesday afternoon.
Location and surroundings
Although Eccles enjoys a quiet semi-rural location, it has good access to national transport routes. It is just 3 miles from junctions 5 and 6 of the M20 motorway, and the same distance from junction 3 of the M2 motorway. Maidstone East Station is 4½ miles away; a journey of 12 minutes or less by car.
Eccles sits between Aylesford village (1 mile away) and the nearby village of Burham (also 1 mile away), below the North Downs whose shelter provides a favourable micro-climate for both the village and the adjacent vineyards.
There is a good network of footpaths around the village providing access to the surrounding countryside, vineyards and the River Medway. There are all-weather footways south to Aylesford Priory and north to Pilgrims' Way and hence to Burham.
Eccles features on a number of popular ramblers’ routes. For example, it is part of the ‘Ancient Sites of Aylesford’ walk which incorporates the ancient monuments of Kit's Coty House and Little Kit's Coty House.
- Sharon Bennett, English Illustrator, designer, artist and author
- Detsicas, A, The Cantiaci, Sutton, Gloucester, 1987
Media related to Eccles, Kent at Wikimedia Commons