A Brief History

Scotney Castle Lamberhurst Tunbridge WellsReferred to by many as the ‘garden of England’, mainly due to the abundance of fruit growing and hop farms that thrive so well with the warmer weather conditions generated in the south-east corner of UK.

The county town is Maidstone with Canterbury and its Cathedral being the seat of the archbishop who is the head of the Church of England.

The county of Kent covers an area of almost 1550 sq. miles and shares the main border with East Sussex, and minor borders with Surrey in the West and Greater London and the Thames estuary to the north. Approximately 30% of Kent is made up of two areas of outstanding natural beauty, The high Weald, and The North Downs.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The High Weald covers an area of approximately 550 sq. miles extending across the borders of East & West Sussex and Surrey. The beauty and character of this area are enhanced by the sandstone water flow beds created by the rivers Ouse, Rother and Medway before reaching its destination in the Thames estuary at Sheerness.

The North Downs comprise a chalk ridge that runs from Farnham in Surrey culminating on the coast at Dover giving one of our most recognisable landmarks.

With its proximity to the rest of Europe, the southern shore of Kent has always played a significant role in the defence of the Realm. The white cliffs of Dover have evolved as a symbol of defiance as guardian of the 20 mile stretch of water separating Kent from Calais in France.

Places of interest in Kent

Kent has many places of interest and is steeped in history dating back to Neolithic man and through many invasions and conquests that have shaped the landscape. As well as the stunning countryside and interesting coastline there are 26 castle sites each with its own individual story to tell. Sites such as Leeds Castle, which was once the former home of Anne Boleyn.

The ruins of St Augustine church lies on the outskirts of Canterbury city walls and near the Cathedral. In the year 597, the monk Augustine was appointed by Pope Gregory to convert the pagan King Ethelbert to Christianity is recognised as the founder of the Anglican Church of England.

The magnificent Canterbury Cathedral is a world heritage site and one of the oldest Christian places of worship in the country. The Cathedral was completely rebuilt in the 9th century and rebuilt again in Gothic style following a devastating fire in 1174. The original Nave was demolished in the late 14th century.

Dover Castle dates back to Roman times, and still surviving is the stone tower used as a lighthouse beacon for shipping in the channel. The Castle has always been a focal point of power and defence, and the underground chambers and passageways were used as a war office administration centre by Sir Winston Churchill during the world war two.

Rochester Castle is situated on the East shoreline of the River Medway, and the 12thC keep is still in remarkably good condition, and originally built to protect the south-east coast. Founded after the Norman Conquest of 1066, the castle was granted to the Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry 1st. During the reign of King John, the Baronial uprising took place with the Castle later reverting to the crown.

The importance of the river Medway and the defence of the east coast has always been recognised through the ages and was first used by the Royal Navy in 1547 as decreed by King Henry V111. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, a dockyard had been established in Chatham with 1567 being recognised as the official date of conception.