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A Brief History of Ashford, Kent

It seems that Ashford most probably originates from an original settlement established around 893AD. It became large enough to have a mention in the doomsday book, listed with a church and two mills under the name 'Essetesford' in 1086.

Ashford officially became a market town in 1243 and by 1600 it had risen to become an important market town, primarily for livestock. Parts of the parish church date from the 13th century but was substantially restored in the 15th century with many alterations since. 1636 saw Ashford's first Free Grammar School built on the churchyards west side. It remained there until 1846.

By far one of the most important times for Ashford was in 1842, with the arrival of the railway and in 1846 with the building of the railway works. This helped the town double in size by 1861. The railway community had its own shops, schools, pubs and bathhouse. The works closed in 1981. 1996 continued the railway tradition in Ashford with the opening of Ashford International Passenger station, part of the high speed rail connection network between Britain and the continent, bringing the journey time from Ashford to Paris to about 2 hours 30 minutes. And in 2009 the high speed rail link began operation cutting journey times to London from Ashford to 37 minutes (barring the wrong kind of leaves/snow/rain/ice/breakdown <delete as appropriate>)

Ashford had one of the first known purpose built cinema's in 1911. The town also spent most of the '90's without a cinema due to the building of Ashford International Station, but now boasts one the largest cinema complex's in Kent.

Famous People connected with Ashford :

Sir John Furley - one of the founders of St.John Ambulance Service.
Simone Weil - French Authoress buried in Brook cemetary
Sir John Foggle - Lord of Repton Manor he restored the parish church in 13th century and, at his own expense, built most of the bell tower.
Dr John Wallis - Internationally recognised as one of the greatest mathematicians, credited by
Sir Isaac Newton as being the founder of his theory of gravity.

This is just an overview of Ashford's history. If you would like to find out more then visit
A Vision of Britain through the ages. Here you can read about the changes in Ashford covering
population, industry, agriculture and land use,housing and poverty and much more. It covers the period from 1801 to 2001 and uses all collected census information.

You can discover Ashford's statistical history by CLICKING HERE

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