Southeast England, known as the `garden of England“, which has contained the new unitary
authority Medway Towns since April 1998.
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
||3,730 sq. km / 1,440 sq. miles
||Kent 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)
||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.
||Christopher Marlowe, Edward Heath
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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
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.