14 March, 2010

Maidstone, Kent

I was debating whether to go to Aylesbury again but decided to go to Maidstone instead. I've been before but not blogged about it before so that swayed me. Maidstone is the seat of the County of Kent with the kent County Hall there.

When I was there before the museum was robbed while I was in it. (Wasn't me guv). I had been in a small gallery and when I went back into the gallery one of the cases was smashed. I noticed that it had been repaired on this visit but it is disconcerting that a museum could be robbed while one is present.

Maidstone has a traffic problem and some of Kent's finest old buildings. The Carriage museum is housed in the Archbishop's old stables, these have been built for 600 years or so.
The Archbishop's palace has been turned into the town registry office and lies, as is appropriate, next to All Saints Church. The palace was home to the Archbishops of Canterbury from the reign of King John to Henry VIII. Falling into decay it was rescued for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.

The Collegiate church was surrounded by scaffolding when I called so I couldn't get a picture, but the original miseriecords were present for the college of 24 canons who were to pray for and educate the people. they had beautiful old carving rubbed smooth by the bottoms over 6 centuries although I noticed one chorister had the 21st century habit of leaving chewing gum on the ancient woodwork. The church is a wonder, and the ruined college next door picturesque.

Andrew Broughton the regicide lived in Maidstone, and may have known the old Tudor Chillington Manor, the town museum.
William Hazlitt also lived in Maidstone and the library had some of his books - in the discarded stock sale!

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