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AYLESFORD, a town in the Medway parliamentary division of Kent,
England, 3½ m. N.W. of Maidstone on the South-Eastern & Chatham
railway. Pop. (1901) 2678. It stands at the base of a hill on the right
bank of the Medway. The ancient church of St. Peter (restored in 1878) is
principally Perpendicular, but contains some Norman and Decorated
portions. It has interesting brasses of the 15th and 16th centuries and
an early embattled tower. At a short distance west, a residence occupying
part of the site, are remains of a Carmelite friary, founded here in
1240. It is claimed for this foundation (but not with certainty) that it
was the first House39029-h.htm'>House of Carmelites established in England, and the first
general chapter of the order was held here in 1245. Several remains of
antiquity exist in the neighbourhood, among them a cromlech called Kit's
Coty House39029-h.htm'>House, about a mile north-east from the village. (See Stone Monuments, Plate, fig. 2.) In accordance with
tradition this has been thought to mark the burial-place of Catigern, who
was slain here in a battle between the Britons and Saxons in A.D. 455; the name has also been derived from Celtic
Ked-coit, that is, the tomb in the wood. The name of the larger
group of monuments close by, called the Countless Stones, is due to the
popular belief, which occurs elsewhere, that they are not to be counted.
Large numbers of British coins have been found in the neighbourhood. The
supposed tomb of Horsa, who fell in the same battle, is situated at
Horsted, about 2 m. to the north.
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