Maidstone, municipal and parliamentary borough (1 member), county and assize town of Kent, 41 miles from London, and half-way between London and Dover, is situated in a valley, chiefly on the E. bank of the navigable Medway, which is crossed near the railway station by a stone bridge, rebuilt in 1879. The Flemish introduced here the broadcloth trade and the manufacture of linen thread, but these have passed away, and the chief industries are now brewing and paper-making. The town is the centre of a rich hop district. The grammar school was founded in 1549, and there are charities to the amount of £3,000. The church of All Saints - one of the largest parish churches in England - was built in place of St.
Mary's, demolished by Archbishop Courtenay in 1395, and contains sedilia, and the carved oak seats of the collegiate priests, the interesting ruins of whose college, founded by Archbishop Courtenay, are near by. The Archbishops lived here, but the present palace is Elizabethan. Among places of interest are the museum and library - established (1859) in the ancient Chillington House, itself an interesting relic - the town hall, the county gaol (built of ragstone from the neighbouring quarries, renowned for the valuable fossils found there), and the barracks.