"CHILHAM, a parish in the hundred of Felborough, lathe of Scray, in the county of Kent, 7 miles N. of Ashford, and 7 from Faversham. It is a railway station on the London and South-Eastern line, and is situated on the river Stour. This village, which was once a market town, is the Chilleham of Domesday Book, and extends along the road between Canterbury and Ashford. It is very pleasantly situated, having the church and vicarage to the N., and the castle and park of Chilham on the S., just opposite to which there is a delightful view over the vale of Ashford. This place was in early times the scene of many sanguinary contests, and was made a station or castrum by the Romans, as is shown by the many relics in the neighbourhood. In the Saxon times, King Withred, of Kent, towards the close of the 7th century, resided here, and greatly strengthened the fortifications. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury, value with the curacy of Molash annexed, £698, in the patronage of Charles Hardy, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a handsome cruciform structure in the early English style, with an embattled tower, and two chapels, which are attached to it. It contains a monument to Sir Dudley Digges; and there has existed for near a century a mausoleum of the Colebrooke family, sadly out of keeping with the architectural appearance of the fine old church. This mausoleum, through the kindness of the present owner, Sir E. Colebrooke, is now (1863) in course of removal, and the chancel of the church is being thoroughly and beautifully rebuilt at the sole cost of C. Hardy, Esq. There are National schools for both sexes, besides an infant school. Chilham Castle was built by Sir D. Digges, in 1616. Its walls, venerably mantled with ivy, are from 10 to 12 feet thick, surrounded by a fine park. Not far from the park is a barrow 180 feet long, known as Julaber's Grave, and supposed to be the place of interment of Julius Laberius, a Roman general. At Olwoods (or Old Wives) Lees annual foot races formerly took place, when two young men and two maidens, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, ran a tye; the foremost young man and woman were rewarded with £10 each, left by Sir Dudley Digges, in 1638. The money is now spent in prizes for the scholars of the National schools. Charles Hardy, Esq., is lord of the manor, and chief landowner. A cattle fair is held on the 8th November."
[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]