Kent Online Parish Clerks
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Ashford is, ecclesiastically, in the diocese of Canterbury, in the archdeaconry of Canterbury and in the deanery of East Charing. The church is named for St. Mary the Virgin with registers commencing 1570.
Ashford, a town, a parish, a sub-district and two districts - East and West - in Kent. The town stands on the Esshe or Esshet river, the western branch of the Stour, and on the Southeastern railway, at the intersection of the line from Reigate to Folkstone with the line from Hastings to Ramsgate, 67 miles southeast-by-east of London. It was anciently called Essheford, from its situation on the river; and it belonged to Hugo de Montfort, and passed to successively the Asshetfords, the Criols, the Leybornes, the Auchers, the Smyths, and the Footes. The original town is situated on an eminence, on the north bank of the river; and has a High Street of considerable width, about 1/2 a mile long. A new town, called Alfred or Newtown-Ashford, was built by the railway company, adjacent to the station; and includes extensive workshops, constructed at a cost of upwards of £100,000 and about 200 dwellings and a school, used as a church.
The parish church, in the old town, is a spacious structure, in fine perpendicular English, built or restored by Sir John Fogge in the time of Edward IV; comprises nave, transept, and three chancels, with a lofty tower, resembling the Bell Harry tower of Canterbury cathedral; and contains a figured font, the tomb of Sir John Fogge, a brass of the Countess of Athole of 1375, and some fine monuments of the Smyths of Westenhanger, one of whom was the Sacharissa of Waller.
An ecclesiastical college was founded by Sir John Fogge as a pendant to the church; but was dissolved in the time of Henry VII.
A new church, in the second pointed style, was built in the new town in 1867. Charities exist to the amount of £309; and include two public schools.
There are chapels for five dissenting bodies and Roman Catholics; a police station, built in 1864; a mechanics' institution; assembly rooms, and reading room; a four-arched bridge, a market house, a corn exchange erected in 1861, a head post office in High Street, with a savings bank and money order office, and a receiving office 1-1/4 mile distant, in the new town also with a savings bank and money order office.
There is also a neat cemetery, with two chapels.
A great stock market is held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month, and fairs on 17 May, 9 September and 12, 13 and 24 October. There are two banking offices and two chief inns. Fine linen is manufactured; and a weekly newspaper is published. The town is one of the polling places for the county; and is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates. Population in 1861, 5,522. Houses, 1,049.
Wallis, the mathematician, Glover, the antiquary and Milles, the herald, were natives. The "headstrong Kentish man" of Shakespeare also, is "John Cade of Ashford". The Osborne family, Dukes of Leeds, are said to have originated here; and the Keppels, Earls of Albemarle, take from the place the title of Baron.
The parish of Ashford comprises 2,786 acres. Real property in 1860, £27,729. Population in 1861, 6,950. Houses, 1,311.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, £460 with a habitable glebe house. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Rochester.
The sub-district of Ashford includes six parishes. Acres, 19,366. Population in 1861, 9,826. Houses, 1,884.
The district of East Ashford comprehends the sub-district of Aldington, containing the parishes of Aldington, Warehorne, Orlestone, Ruckinge, Bilsington, Bonnington, and Hurst; the sub-district of Brabourne, containing the parishes of Brabourne, Mersham, Sevington, Willesborough, Hinxhill, Smeeth and Bircholt; and the sub-district of Wye, containing the parishes of Wye, Hastingleigh, Brook, Kennington, Crundale, Boughton-Aluph, Eastwell, Challock, Molash, Chilham and Godmersham. Acres, 54,498. Poor rates, £8,292. Population in 1841, 11,530; in 1861, 12,286. Houses, 2,444. Marriages, 80; births, 396 of which 13 were illegitimate; deaths, 233, of which 64 were at ages under 5 years and 10 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 892; births, 4,141; deaths, 2,234.
The places of worship in 1851 were 21 of the Church of England, with 3,911 sittings; 1 of Baptists, with 203 sittings; 7 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 739 sittings; and 1 of Bible Christians, with 100 sittings.
The schools in 1851 were 17 public day schools, with 1,169 scholars; 14 private day schools, with 329 scholars; and 19 Sunday schools, with 1,313 scholars.
The workhouse is in Willesborough.
The district of West Ashford comprehends the sub-district of Ashford, containing the parishes of Ashford, Hothfield, Bethersden, Great Chart, Kingsnorth, and Shadoxhurst; and the sub-district of Calehill, containing the parishes of Westwell, Smarden, Egerton, Little Chart, Charing and Pluckley and Pevington. Acres, 41,901. Poor rates, £7,348. Population in 1841, 11,329; in 1861, 15,137. Houses, 2,891. Marriages, 135; births, 533, of which 36 were illegitimate; deaths, 315 of which 116 were at ages under 5 years, and 13 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,085; births, 5,281; deaths, 2,820.
The places of worship in 1851 were 13 of the Church of England, with 7,146 sittings; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 370 sittings; 5 of Baptists, with 1,395 sittings; 1 of Quakers, with 150 sittings; 6 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 966 sittings; 1 of Bible Christians, with 115 sittings; 1 undefined with 30 sittings; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 30 attendants.
The schools in 1851 were 14 public day schools, with 1,552 scholars; 19 private day schools, with 375 scholars; 21 Sunday schools, with 1,422 scholars; and 2 evening schools for adults, with 20 scholars.
The workhouse is in Westwell. 1
1 John Marius Wilson, comp. The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).
-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates. [Note: The following volumes can be found on archive.org: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online
Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).
Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005). URL: British History Online.
Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908). URL: British History Online
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323. URL: British History Online.
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302. URL: British History Online.
Location of Records
The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England. This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues. If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.
Church Records, Church of England
Church Records, Non-Conformist
Parish chest records
Workhouse and Poor Law Records
Assizes and Sessions Records
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|Hearth tax||Currently under revision|
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|Churchwarden's Presentments||Currently under revision|
|Parish rate books||Currently under revision|
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1801 - 2,151
1811 - 2,532
1821 - 2,773
1831 - 2,809
1841 - 3,082
1851 - 5,007
1861 - 6,950
1871 - 8,458
1881 - 9,693
1891 - 10,728
1901 - 12,808
1911 - 13,668
1921 - 14,351
London 48.4 mi.
Canterbury 12.7 mi.
Bromley 40.9 mi.
Chatham 20.6 mi.
Cranbrook 14.8 mi.
Dartford 35.5 mi.
Deptford 45.3 mi.
Dover 19.3 mi.
Faversham 11.8 mi.
Folkestone 13.6 mi.
Gravesend 29.5 mi.
Greenwich 43.7 mi.
Hythe 11.1 mi.
Maidstone 17.0 mi.
Margate 27.8 mi.
Milton Regis 15.0 mi.
Queenborough 19.5 mi.
Ramsgate 27.3 mi.
Rochester 23.7 mi.
Sandwich 22.8 mi.
Sheerness 21.2 mi.
Tenterden 9.3 mi.
Tunbridge 26.1 mi.
Woolwich 42.2 mi.