Gillingham, Kent

Historical Description

Gillingham, a village and a parish in Kent. The village stands on the river Medway, 1½ mile NE of Chatham. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Chatham, and a station (New Brompton) on the L.C. & D.R. Acreage of civil parish, 4317; population, 27,872; of ecclesiastical, 9676. Gillingham was known to the Saxons as Gillinga, and at Domesday as Gelyngeham; 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. The Danes made frequent descents on the village, and 600 noblemen who came in the retinae of Edward and Alfred were slain here by Earl Godwin. A fort was erected in the northwestern vicinity by Charles I. for protecting the dockyard, and it was afterwards enlarged and took the name of Gillingham Castle. It has been demolished to make room for the dockyard extensions. 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, and several other public institutions. 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 in the diocese of Eochester; value, £180 with residence. 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 (t 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, as also St Mark's, New Brompton, which is in the gift of the Vicar of Gellingham. The church of St Bamabas, which has become a separate ecclesiastical parish, was consecrated in 1890. The living is a vicarage. Patron, the Bishop. There is a fair on Easter Monday. William de Gillingham, the author of a history of Britain, and William Adams, the discoverer of Japan, were natives.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Kent
Ecclesiastical parish Gillingham St. Mary Magdalene
Hundred Chatham and Gillingham
Lathe Aylesford
Poor Law union Medway

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Gillingham from the following:


Online maps of Gillingham are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Kent newspapers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Kent, 1619 is available on the Heraldry page, as is also The Visitation of Kent, 1663-68.

RegionSouth East
Postal districtME8
Post TownGillingham