Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

been long disused, and the place is now very dull, The Church is a large and handsome building, with a square tower at the west end. In the chancel are sixteen ancient stalls or seats, supposed to have been designed for the accommodation of the monks of St. Augustine's Abbey at Canterbury, when they visited their lands in this parish, which were bestowed on them by Cuthred, King of Kent, about the year 800. Against the south wall is a stone confessional chair. The population of this place, in 1821, was 1959.

LEWISHAM is a populous and genteel village, about one mile from Greenwich, and is inhabited by many opulent merchants and tradesmen, whose avocations demand their presence in the metropolis during the greater part of the day. Here was a Benedictine Priory, founded before the reign of King Alfred, of which not a vestige remains. The present Church, which was built in 1774, is a handsome edifice, with a chaste and beautiful portico. It contains several monuments, two of which, to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Petrie, are deservedly admired. There are two Dissenting Chapels in this village; two excellent Schools, founded by the Rev. Abraham Colfe, in 1657; and an Alms-house, for “ six poor godly householders,” endowed by the same benevolent individual. In this parish is a hill, on which is a tree, called the Oak of Honour, on account of Queen Elizabeth having, it is said, dined under it. The present tree, however, is but a substitute; the original oak having long ago perished. A branch of the Ravensbourne runs through Lewisham, and gives a clean and lively air to the village. The population, which has much increased within the last few years, was, in 1821, stated to be 8185 persons. It is doubtful if a large and commodious Workhouse, lately erected, should be mentioned among the improvements of this place.

LINTON, a small village, three miles from Maidstone, is celebrated for the hops grown in its neighbourhood, and has a neat Church. Near this place is CoxHEATH, celebrated as the scene of several Encampments during the American War; in 1778 more than 15,000 men were assembled here, and it was the fashion of the day to visit the camp, which produced considerable bustle in the neighbourhood.

Loose is a village beautifully situated on a small. stream which falls into the Medway, a short distance from Maidstone. On this rivulet, whose wbole course does not exceed three miles, are twelve corn and paper mills. The Church, a venerable building, with a square tower and a spire, is situated on an eminence near the water. The population of the parish is about 1000.

LYDD, A small Market-town, once of importance, but now much decayed, has nevertheless a Corporation, consisting of a Bailiff, Jurats, Common-Council, &c.; and is a member of the Cinque Port of New Romney, from which it is distant about 31 miles. It is a place of very little trade, and its inhabitants, whose number in 1821 was 1437, are principally employed in fishing, and, according to some accounts, in smuggling. The Church is a fine and ancient edifice, with a square tower, surmounted by four irregular pinnacles. A National School has been established here, and a small market is held every Thursday,

DUNGENESS LIGHT-HOUSE is situated on the coast near this town; it is the property of Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, and is said to produce him a very considerable annual income. The building was erected about thirty years ago, is 110 feet high, and partly after the plan of the Eddystone Light-house. Near the same point of land is a Fort; and extensive Barracks were erected here during the late war.

Lymne, a mean village near Hythe, is supposed to be so named from its contiguity to the Portus Lemanis of Antoninus. It is placed on the brow of a hill, below which is an ancient fortress, evidently of Roman construction, intended to guard the harbour, which extended from this hill to the sea.

It is now called Stutfall Castle, and is of an oblong shape, including an area of about five acres; its walls are of immense thickness, but in a very dilapidated condition. The Church of Lymne is an ancient building, with a square tower, of Norman architecture; it is

[ocr errors]

situated on the summit of the hill, and very near to it is a farm-house, called the Castle, supposed to be a fragment of an Abbey, which formerly stood here. It appears, as well as the Church, to have been in part constructed with the materials of some Roman buildings.

[merged small][graphic]

The county town of Kent, is finely situated on the banks of the Medway, over which it has a bridge of five arches, in the midst of a most picturesque and fertile country, in the highest state of cultivation; and the soil of the surrounding district is peculiarly favourable for the growth of hops, cherries, and filberts, which accordingly are found here in the most luxuriant abundance.

Maidstone has been asserted, by Camden and others, to have been an important Roman station, and also a previous seat of the Britons; while other antiquaries contend that the evidence adduced in support of either of these facts is insufficient for their establishment; and that the few Roman remains found here, are not so numerous as to justify the opinion that they are the relics of a city, but only of some detached habitations, or villas, scattered over the 'neighbourhood. However this be, Maidstone was well known to the Saxons by the appellation of Medwegestun, from its situation on the Medwege, or middle river, so called from its stream running through the midst of this county. This place belonged to the See of Canterbury from a very early period (before the Conquest) until the Dissolution ; on the latter event it became the property of the Crown, and Edward VI. bestowed it on Sir Thomas Wyat, who being attainted in the following reign, this manor reverted to the sovereign, and was lastly granted by Charles I. to the Countess of Winchelsea, by whose descendants it was sold to Lord Romney in the early part of the 18th century.

Maidstone was first incorporated by Edward VI. in 1550, and in 1552 two Members of Parliament were returned from hence. Early in the reign of Mary, however, this town having supported Wyat in his rebellion, was doomed to share in his punishment ; several of the inhabitants were executed, and the town disfranchised. During this reign, also, Maidstone was the scene of several of those horrible sacrifices at the shrine of Popery, which attach lasting infamy to the memory of that bigoted princess. Elizabeth, in 1560, granted a new Charter to the inhabitants, confirming their former privilege of being governed by a Mayor, Jurats, and Common-Council, and also establishing their right to send two Members to every Parliament, a right which they have continued since that period to exercise uninterruptedly. James I. granted two further and explanatory charters; and these being abrogated in the time of Charles II. were restored after the Revolution, and continued in force until 1748, when they were superseded by a new one, under which the town is now governed, by a Mayor, twelve Jurats, forty CommonCouncilmen, a Recorder, and inferior officers.

Maidstone has but one Church, which is a handsome and venerable fabric, with a tower, which was formerly crowned with a spire, but this was destroyed by lightning in 1730. This building is one of the largest parish churches in England, being 227 feet long, and 91 wide; it is elegant in its appearance, being rebuilt by Archbishop Courteney, in the reign of Richard II, when ecclesiastical architecture was in a very high state of perfection in this country. The east window is particularly admired. The Archbishop was buried here, and his skeleton was discovered in 1794, lying under a plain marble slab, now destitute even of an inscription. In the chancel are the stalls originally used by the Master and Brethren of a College founded here by the same prelate. The Church also contains several monuments, but not any which deserve particular notice. It is kept in very neat order, has several galleries, and a good organ.

The College above-mentioned was an extensive building, a great part of which still exists, but is now converted into dwelling-houses, and warehouses for hops, &c. It was richly endowed by its founder, and among its masters was William Grocyn, one of the earliest patrons of what was in his time called the “ New Learning," who taught Latin and Greek with great success at Oxford, having previously travelled to Italy to acquire a greater proficiency in those languages than he before possessed. He was the friend and tutor of Erasmus, and dying in 1522, was buried at Maidstone.

A Palace for the residence of the Archbishops of this diocese was erected in Maidstone, in the reign of King John, which was rebuilt by Archbishop Islip, about the middle of the fourteenth century, and considerably improved by succeeding prelates, who frequently resided here, until the time of Archbishop Cranmer, when the buildings, with the manor, &c. were taken possession of by Henry VIII. After various changes, this edifice became the property of Lord Romney, and its remains are still considerable enough to form a handsome and convenient residence. It is seated immediately adjoining to the churchyard, and on the same eminence with both the Church and the College.

There are several remains of other ancient buildings in this town, which do not, however, possess much interest. The Free Grammar School, established by the Mayor and Corporation in the reign of Elizabeth, is held in the Chapel of a Benedictine priory, near the river; it has four exhibitions at Oxford, and a number of eminent literary men have here received their

[blocks in formation]
« НазадПродовжити »