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.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Gillingham St. Mary Magdalene|
|Hundred||Chatham and Gillingham|
|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:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Gillingham (St. Mary Magdalene))
Online maps of Gillingham are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Kent newspapers online:
- Kent & Sussex Courier
- Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald
- Dover Express
- Kentish Gazette
- Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald
- Kentish Chronicle
- Maidstone Telegraph
The Visitation of Kent, 1619 is available on the Heraldry page, as is also The Visitation of Kent, 1663-68.