insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 68 Nov 2017 - Page 61

TOWNSPOTLIGHT Spotlight on MAIDSTONE Maidstone is Kent’s county town, so it holds a special place of importance when it comes to the administrative side of the Garden of England. MAIDSTONE ISN’T JUST ABOUT ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNANCE, HOWEVER, THE TOWN ALSO HAS PHENOMENAL BEAUTY AND HISTORY TOO, AS WELL AS EXCELLENT TRANSPORT LINKS AND AMENITIES. MAIDSTONE, AS A COUNTY TOWN, DOES US PROUD. HISTORY IN BRIEF Maidstone has always been somewhere that people wanted to be, an allure that first made itself clear way back with the Romans and the Normans. Both of these groups of settlers made drastic improvements to the town, turning it from a small but perfectly placed village into an industrial hub of enterprise. The Romans built the roads and a number of villas, while the Normans established an abbey, hospitals, and even a college for priests. Leeds Castle Maidstone has always been historically significant and there are many fascinating stories about exactly what went on there. For example, on 1st June 1648, the Battle of Maidstone took place wherein 2,000 Royalist soldiers defended the town against the New Model Army led by General Fairfax; the Royalists surrendered in the churchyard at midnight. And on 28th April 1868, the last woman to be publicly hanged in Britain, Frances Kidder, was executed at Maidstone prison. Today, Maidstone is an excellent place to go shopping, with a popular shopping centre (Fremlin Walk) and a huge number of independent stores, boutiques, and cafés to browse and buy from. 61