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MALLING AND ITS VALLEY:
A fanua and flora of Kent.
Rev. C. H. FIELDING, M.A.,
SECOND-CLASS LAW AND HISTORY, OXFORD; EXHIBITIONER OF TONBRIDGE SCHOOL
HENRY C. H. OLIVER,
LONDON AGENTS :
[All Rights Reserved.]
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE EARL OF STANHOPE.
I have much pleasure in dedicating this book to your lordship, because of the lively interest you take in all matters historical and archæological which concern England in general, and, more especially, this county of Kent. It would take a lifetime to describe accurately all that can be learned in these matters in our whole county; more particularly if, as I have done, one attempted anything like its flora and fauna : I have, therefore, selected a district of Kent known to me from childhood, which affords us many monuments and records of individuals, who have lived in the varied scenes of English History, that teach us by the means of the small valley of Malling how one of the many similar districts into which our country can be divided gives existing proofs of what has happened in it from the very earliest times. Scattered about us, though frequently unnoticed among the rough flint stones that bestrew our paths, are the uncouth though sharp tools of the earliest races that lived in our island; but hereabouts the prehistoric period is still more plainly marked by monuments like Kit's Coty House, the Countless Stones, the Coffin Stone, the fallen stones at Addington, and the Dolman at Coldrum.
Leaving this period behind, we find ourselves amidst written annals and archæological facts, that record in this valley the different scenes of English history from the earliest times to the present day.
The British period is marked by weapons, coins, and ornaments; perhaps by the paved causeway under the Medway at Aylesford, and the grass road popularly known as the Pilgrims' Path.
The Roman period can be traced by relics found at Holboro', Snodland, and in most of our parishes, which prove beyond a doubt that the world-subduing race once trod this valley.
The Saxon period is distinguished by weapons, by ornaments, by coins, by roads, by ancient battle-fields, and by documents
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE EARL OF STANHOPE.
that record the grants of many of the Saxon princes of this country, such as those of Egbert, king of Kent, Offa, king of Mercia, Egbert, Ethelwulf, Ethelstan and Edmund, and perhaps by some of the oldest parts of the church of Trottescliffe.
The Norman period has left us most of our churches, Malling abbey, St. Leonard's tower, and the castles of Allington and Aylesford.
The Barons' wars, during the reigns of John and Henry III., are exemplified here by the history of Roger de Leybourne and his compeers.
The Crusades are marked by the heart shrine in Leybourne church of Sir Roger de Leybourne and by the friars at Aylesford, built for the Carmelites by Lord Grey of Codnor on his return from the Holy Land.
The Scotch wars of Edward I. are called to our memory by Sir William de Leybourne and his contemporaries.
Edward II.'s reign is connected with this district by the disgrace of one of the abbesses of Malling.
We had some of our landowners holding castles in France ; while the Black Death clearly stopped the church-building about here, as well as carried off some of our clergy; and it would appear that Jack Straw, who joined Wat Tyler with a ruffianly mob, was a native of Offham.
Though not one of the battles of the Wars of the Roses was fought in Kent, still, the Nevills, who at this period obtained a settlement in our valley, as all the world knows, were well to the front, and no doubt drew away large numbers of the inhabitants of this part to fight for York. The rebellion of Cade was aided specially from the neighbourhood of Malling.
Tudor Times are marked by the history of the Wyatts. At Allington lived Sir Henry Wyatt, the poet, and Sir Thomas, the rebel leader.
The conspiracy of Babington found partisans in this neighbourhood, and in Pole's “ Register" we learn that a vicar of East Malling was presented by the serene princes Philip and Mary, King and Queen of England. This period is farther marked by the dissolution of Malling abbey and the Carmelites at Aylesford, and by changes in property and by the commencement of some of our registers.
In the times of the Stuarts the Kentish people from Bluebell hill watched Fairfax and his army proceeding from Gravesend to Maidstone ; and at East Malling, Judge Twisden, who tried the regicides, and Colonel Tomlinson, who took Charles I. to