Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for GILLINGHAM

GILLINGHAM, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Medway district, Kent. The village stands on the river Medway, ½ a mile NNE of New Brompton r. station, and 1½ NE of Chatham; was known to the Saxons as Gillinga, and at Domesday as Gelingeham; had once a palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury; was a market-town in the time of Edward II., and in later times; and, prior to the rise of Chatham, was an important station of the royal navy. Some remains of the palace still exist, measuring 100 feet by 30, showing traces of decorated English, and converted into a barn. The Danes made frequent descents on the village; and 600 noblemen who came in the retinue of Edward and Alfred, were slain here by Earl Godwin. A fort was erected in the north-western vicinity by Charles I., for protecting the dockyard; and it was afterwards enlarged, and took the name of Gillingham castle; but it is of no great importance. The parish includes also part of the town of Brompton; lies partly within the borough of Chatham; and contains Brompton barracks, St. Mary's barracks, Garrison hospital, a new prison, and several other public institutions. Post town, Old Brompton, under Chatham. Acres, 6, 683; of which 1, 430 are water. Real property, £27, 909; of which £1, 000 are in quarries, £370 in railways, and £300 in gas-works. Pop. in 1841, 9, 321; in 1861, 14, 608. Houses, 1, 995. The increase of pop. arose partly from the presence of 1, 269 inmates in the new prison, and partly from the increased number of labourers and artificers in the dockyard and other government works of Chatham. Pop. of the part within Chatham borough, 12, 241. Houses, 1, 496. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged to the Archbishops of Canterbury from a time prior to the Conquest. Much of the land is disposed in hop-grounds and famous cherry gardens. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Lidsing, in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £643.* Patron, Brasenose College, Oxford. The church has characters from early English to perpendicular; exhibited for many years indications of having been a very fine edifice, treated with neglect; consists of nave, aisle, chancel, and two side chapels, with a west square tower; once possessed, in a niche over the porch, an image of "Our Lady of Gillingham, " much visited by pilgrims; and was variously restored and rebuilt, so as to be completely altered, in 1869. The vicarage of Brompton is a separate benefice. There is a chapel of ease at Lidsing. There are also chapels for Wesleyans, Free Methodists, and Bible Christians. There are likewise a national school and charities £21, together with a share in Pitt's school at Chatham. William de Gillingham, the author of a history of Britain, and William Adams, the discoverer of Japan, were natives. A coast-guard station is here; and Grange hamlet, a member of Hastings Cinque port, is adjacent. The sub-district includes part of Chatham parish, and all Grange and Lidsing. Acres, 11, 445. Pop., 34, 255. Houses, 4, 841.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a village, a parish, and a sub-district"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Gillingham AP/CP       Gillingham SubD       Medway RegD/PLU       Kent AncC
Place names: GELINGEHAM     |     GILLINGA     |     GILLINGHAM
Place: Gillingham

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