The picture-postcard village of Aylesford is believed to be the oldest settlement in Kent to have been continuously inhabited. Three miles north-east of Maidstone, it enjoys a romantic riverside location with a medieval stone bridge, a hilltop church and narrow streets lined with old inns and houses. The 14th Century bridge affords wonderful views of the village's historic, high-gabled cottages, made from brick and wood. In the high street, the Little Gem pub is among the smallest in the county. It was reportedly established in 1106. The low ceiling and beams and the decorative horse brasses contribute to its olde-worlde atmosphere, described by visitors as "utterly charming" and "perfect". The Church of St Peter & St Paul has stood on the same hill for almost 1,000 years. The oldest surviving part of the building is the lower section of its tower, dating back to Norman times. Just outside the village is Aylesford Priory, the magnificent home of the Carmelite Friars and a centre for retreats, pilgrimages, organised visits and spontaneous sightseeing. Another local attraction, on Blue Bell Hill, is Kit's Coty, an ancient dolmen allegedly marking the burial place of Catigern, son of King Vortigern, in the Fifth Century.
Old English Villages (Country S.)
English Villages (Writer's Britain S.)
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