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West Malling

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"WEST MALLING, (or Malling Town), a parish and decayed market town in the hundred of Larkfleld, lathe of Aylesford, county Kent, 2 miles W. of East Malting, and 5½ N.W. of Maidstone. It was anciently called Malinger, and was given by Edward the Confessor to the Bishops of Rochester, one of whom, Gundulph, founded a Benedictine nunnery here in 1090, which, about a century afterwards, was burnt, but again restored. Its revenue, at the Dissolution, was returned at £245 108. 2½d. The W. front of the abbey is all that now remains, forming an interesting ruin. Adjoining it is the modern mansion, called Malling Abbey, built by the Honeywoods partly out of the remains of the old structure. The market, granted with the fairs to the abbess, in the reign of Henry III., was held on Saturday, but has long been discontinued. The town, situated in a healthy spot, is neatly built, and contains some good houses. The streets are wide and well paved. Petty sessions for the upper half of the S. division of the lathe of Aylesford are held in the town. More than a third of the parish is woodland, and a considerable portion laid out in hop grounds. It gives name to a deanery in the archdeaconry of Maidstone and diocese of Canterbury. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury, value £280. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient structure with a Norman tower at the W. end. In 1778, it was reroofed, and anew spire subsequently, added. It contains a monument to Sir Robert Brett. The Baptists have a place of worship. There is a National school. It is the head of a Poor-law Union comprising 22 parishes, and the seat of a superintendent registry; but it is included in the Maidstone new County Court district. Fairs are held on the 12th August, 2nd October, and 17th November."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]

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