Malling, West, or Town-Malling (St. Mary)

MALLING, WEST, or Town-Malling (St. Mary), a parish, the head of a union, and formerly a market-town, in the hundred of Larkfield, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 5¾ miles (W. N. W.) from Maidstone, and 29 (S. E. by E.) from London; containing 1784 inhabitants. In the year 1090, a Benedictine nunnery was founded here by Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, in honour of the Blessed Virgin. About a century afterwards, the town and the nunnery were nearly destroyed by fire, but they were soon restored, and the revenue of the latter, at the Dissolution, was estimated at £245. 10. 2½.: the front of the nunnery, of Norman architecture, with later insertions, still remains, forming an interesting ruin. The town is neat and clean, and contains some good houses; the streets are wide, and well paved, and the walks adjacent and the scenery are pleasing. Petty-sessions for the upper south division of the lathe of Aylesford are held here on the first Monday in every month. The market was granted, with the fairs, in the reign of Henry III., and was held on Saturday: fairs take place on August 12th and October 2nd, for pedlery, and November 17th, for cattle. The parish contains 1366 acres, 584 of which are woodland. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10; income, £400; patron and impropriator, T. A. Douce, Esq. The church is an ancient structure, with a fine Norman tower at the west end, and contains a splendid monument to Sir Robert Brett: the roof having fallen in 1778, through the decay of the main columns, the whole of the nave was rebuilt; the old spire of the tower has been removed, and an elegant one erected by subscription. Here is a place of worship for Baptists. The union of Malling comprises 22 parishes or places, containing a population of 17,933: the workhouse, calculated to receive 360 inmates, is situated on the road to Mereworth.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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