Kent

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KENTounty of Southeast England, known as the `garden of England“, which has contained the new unitary authority Medway Towns since April 1998.

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Local Links Kent County Council - Medway Council - Maidstone Borough Council - Ashford Borough Council - Canterbury City Council - Dover District Council - Sevenoaks District Council - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

owns and cities Maidstone (administrative headquarters), Ashford, Canterbury, Deal, Dover (ferry terminus), Gravesend, Hythe, New Ash Green (a new town), Sevenoaks, Royal Tunbridge Wells; resorts: Folkestone, Margate, Ramsgate
rea 3,730 sq. km / 1,440 sq. miles
opulation 1,551,300 (1994)
opography

Bluebell Woods

DoverKent is bounded by Thurrock and Medway Towns to the north; by London and Surrey to the west, and by East Sussex to the south. It is a county of great geographical contrast, and the arrival point in England for thousands of foreign visitors. A long-distance footpath follows the crest of the North Downs and some of the Pilgrims' Way and near Ashford a loop goes off to take in Canterbury and the surrounding orchard country. The gentle northward chalk slopes of the North Downs provide the excellent conditions for Kent's fruit farming, especially around Faversham and Sittingbourne.

The rocks of the Tertiary period found in this area are also found in the isles at Grain, Sheppey, and Thanet. To the south of the North Downs is the Weald, which extends into Surrey and Sussex and has a complement of small towns such as Cranbrook and Hawkhurst with half-timbered yeomen's houses set in rolling, wooded countryside. Parts of Northwest Kent has now been absorbed into outskirts of London, or lie within the commuter belt. the North Downs; White Cliffs of  Dover; rivers: Thames, Darent, Medway (traditionally, a `man of Kent“ comes from east of the Medway and a `Kentish man“ from west Kent), Stour; marshes (especially Romney Marsh); the Isles of Grain, Thanet and Sheppey (on which is the resort of Sheerness, formerly a royal dockyard); the Weald (an agricultural area); Dungeness (peninsula and headland)

ommerce Agriculture: cereals, hops, apples, soft fruit, vegetables; in Kent are found about half the orchards, half the hops, and one fifth of the soft fruit grown in England and Wales; livestock production
Industries: cement (Gravesend), paper, oil refining, shipbuilding, tourism. The East Kent coalfield ceased production in 1989.
amous people Christopher Marlowe, Edward Heath
ttractions

Canterbury
Old English Cantwarabyrig `fortress of the men of Kent“

Historic cathedral city on the River Stour. The city is the metropolis of the Anglican Communion and seat of the archbishop of Canterbury. It is a popular tourist destination. 
Augustine, sent from Rome to convert England to Christianity, was welcomed here in 597 by Ethelbert, king of Kent, and became the first archbishop of England in 601. The shrine of Thomas ą Becket, murdered in the cathedral in 1170,
was an important centre of pilgrimage until the Reformation.
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church are together a World
Heritage site. The Roman Museum, opened in 1994, displays Roman artefacts recovered in the area. The University of Kent was founded here in 1965.
Canterbury was the site of the Roman town Durovernum Cantiacorum. Situated on Watling Street, the Roman road between Dover and London, it was an important fortress and military station. Damage caused by World War II bombing raids and subsequent demolition revealed considerable Roman building works, including baths, streets, walls, and theatres.
It is believed that a settlement was maintained from Roman times until the Saxon period, and in the 6th century the town, now known as Cantwarabyrig, was the capital of Ethelbert, king of Kent, .
St Augustine's Abbey
St Augustine founded a Benedictine monastery here in 598, later named St Augustine's Abbey. The ruins include 7th-century walling, and part of the site is occupied by the King's School, founded by Henry VIII in 1541.
Canterbury Cathedral
St Augustine first established Christ Church on the site in 603, but the foundations of the present cathedral were laid by Lanfranc, the first Norman archbishop (1070-89); subsequent additions range from Norman to Perpendicular. The shrine
of Archbishop Thomas ą Becket was destroyed at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries; there is a plaque on the floor marking the place where he is thought to have been martyred. The cathedral includes fine medieval stained glass
and the largest Norman crypt in Britain. It contains the tombs of Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince) and Henry IV. In 1993 excavations prior to re-flooring and the installation of a new heating system revealed the foundations of an
Anglo-Saxon cathedral, 20 cm/6 in below the floor laid in 1786.
St Martin's church, one of the oldest churches in England still in use, is built partly of Roman brick and tile; St Augustine reputedly baptized King Ethelbert in its font. St Dunstan's Church houses the burial vault of the Roper family, which contains the head of Thomas More given to his daughter, Margaret Roper, after his execution.

Many 17th- and 18th-century buildings remain and there are ruins of a Norman keep. West Gate, the only surviving gate in the city walls, contains a museum. The 14th-century Poor Priests' Hospital now houses the Museum of Canterbury's Heritage; exhibits include an engine built by George Stephenson which was used on the Canterbury-Whitstable railway.

The poet Geoffrey Chaucer visited the city between 1360 and 1361 and wrote the Canterbury Tales about a group of pilgrims on their way to visit the shrine of Thomas ą Becket. The city was the birthplace of the poet and dramatist Christopher Marlowe, and Richard Barham, author of The Ingoldsby Legends. The writer Somerset Maugham was educated at the King's School.

Dover

Market town and seaport on the coast of the English Channel. It is Britain's nearest point to mainland Europe, 34 km/21
mi from Calais, France. Dover is the world's busiest passenger port and England's principal cross-channel port, with ferry, hovercraft, and cross-channel train services. 
As Roman Dubris, the port was an important naval base and the starting point of Watling Street. The Roman beacon or `lighthouse“, dating from about 50 AD, in the grounds of the Norman castle, is one of the oldest Roman buildings in the country.
Dover was the largest of the original  Cinque Ports.

Dover is known for its white cliffs, and views from the castle keep, 116 m/380 ft above sea level, can include the French coast from Boulogne to Gravelines, the shoreline from Folkestone to Ramsgate, and many of the fortifications honeycombing the Dover cliffs. The White Cliffs Experience Museum illustrates the history of Dover from Roman times
to World War II. The Roman Painted House describes the Roman occupation and includes Roman wall paintings and the remains of an underground Roman heating system. The Duke of York's Royal Military School is located in the town.

Dover Castle
Dover Castle was built on the cliffs overlooking the town, on the site of earlier fortifications. An important military headquarters and defensive garrison for centuries, it has a massive keep built by Henry II in the 1180s, with walls 5-7 m/17-22 ft thick. The castle was seized by Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War, and it was strengthened
during the Napoleonic Wars. Within the grounds of the castle is the Saxon church of St Mary in Castro.
The harbour is divided into three main areas incorporating the outer harbour, the seaward boundary of which is the south breakwater, the west docks, and the east docks. The west docks include the Hoverport; Admiralty Pier, the main operating point for cross-channel services; the Prince of Wales' Pier; the train ferry dock; and the tidal basin with the Granville and Wellington Docks. The east docks comprise berths, the industrial land area, and the east docks' car ferry terminal, opened in 1953.

Maidstone
Town and administrative headquarters of Kent, located on the River Medway has a number of medieval buildings, among
them the parish church of All Saints', the late 14th-century Archbishop's Palace (a former residence of the archbishops of Canterbury), and the College of Priests (1395-98) built of Kentish ragstone from quarries to the west of the town. The Elizabethan Chillington Manor is an art gallery and museum.
A range of 18th-century buildings include Sir John Banks' Almshouses (1700), a Unitarian church, and the Town Hall (1762-63). The Palace stables and tithe barn house the Tyrwhitt-Drake Carriage Museum, containing a collection of 17th-19th- century carriages.

Royal Tunbridge Wells
Spa and commuter town between London and Hastings and one of England's most elegant towns.. The town developed after the discovery of iron-rich springs here in 1606. The Pantiles or shopping parade (paved with tiles in the reign of Queen Anne), was a fashionable resort; visited by Queen Victoria, the town has been named `Royal“ since 1909.
Following the discovery of the chalybeate (containing iron salts) springs in the area visitors at first stayed at Tonbridge or Southborough to the north, but in the 1630s large houses were built near the springs and shaded walks were laid out. 
Tunbridge ware, wooden boxes whose mosaic lids are decorated with rural scenes and ornamental borders, was produced here from the 17th century. A fine collection of Tunbridge ware, which is no longer made, is housed in the museum and art gallery. There was an Iron Age hill -fort at High Rocks nearby. The common is over 100 ha/247 acres.


The Coastline between Dungeness and Dover is littered with 74 Martello towers. Built to repel invasion by Napoleon.

Leeds Castle (converted to a palace by Henry VIII); Ightham Mote; Hever Castle (where Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn); Chartwell (Churchill's country home), Knole, Sissinghurst Castle and gardens; the Brogdale Experimental Horticulture Station at Faversham has the world's finest collection of apple and other fruit trees; the former RAF Manston became Kent International Airport 1989; Dungeness nuclear power station. St Thomas ą Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage until the Reformation.  Kent's proximity to the continent and to London has meant that many historically important events have taken place in the county. It was on the coast of Kent that Caesar landed in 55 BC; to which Hengist and Horsa brought their Saxon mercenaries; and to which St Augustine led his followers. The Archbishop of Canterbury traces his descent as Primate of all England from St Augustine. Canterbury is of great antiquity and evidence has been found here for continuity of settlement from Roman to Jute and Frankish times. The influences of these groups reflected in Kent's language, custom, and settlement pattern, which contrast with those of the more predominantly Saxon Surrey and Sussex. Parts of Kent are open countryside, which could easily be invaded, and the former Royal Military Canal was cut across Romney Marsh as a defence against Napoleon.