The Friars, Aylesford 1376

England, Kent, Tonbridge and Malling

Brief Description

The site has gardens of 40 hectares (98 acres) associated with Aylesford Priory. The site has pleasant grass walks, seats beside the old stone ponds and limited planting, including several magnolias and liriodendron specimens. The park to the north is dominated by a magnificent 80 foot tall oriental plane.

History

The site was founded in 1242. After the reformation the Carmelites finally returned centuries later in 1949, renovating and adding extensive new buildings in stone or flint to harmonise with the older surviving parts.

Visitor Facilities

The site is open daily, with shorter hours in the winter. Please see: http://www.thefriars.org.uk/visit/visit.html

Detailed Description

The associated lands, limited though they are, are of great importance, along with those of nearby Allington Castle (also Carmelite) in providing green tranquillity zones close to the Medway in an area now intensively developed for housing and industry.

One of Aylesford's most important open spaces, the facilities are freely available to the public most of the time. Pleasant grass walks, seats beside the old stone ponds and limited planting including several magnolias and liriodendron specimens, offer cool, quiet places for contemplation.

The park to the north is dominated by a magnificent 80 foot high oriental plane. The river frontage is not really exploited for public access. Storm damage appears minimal and has been dealt with.

Since 1988 some changes have taken place. The west barn and the farm house have been fully restored, and landscaping with planting of roses and beeches has taken place. The west barn is now in use as a pleasant tea room and it also houses a well-stocked book shop.

The site is accessible all year round since this is a place for prayer and meditation. The site also acts as quiet picnic area. The old village core is quaint, full of character, a backwater mostly bypassed by heavy traffic and, unlike the outlying areas, preserved from too many developments.

Features
  • Priory (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Walk
  • Description: Pleasant grass walks.
  • Pond
  • Description: Old stone ponds.
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: The park to the north is dominated by a magnificent 80 foot high oriental plane.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The site is open daily, with shorter hours in the winter. Please see: http://www.thefriars.org.uk/visit/visit.html

Directions

The site is half a mile west of Aylesford on the north bank of the River Medway.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Aylesford
History

Detailed History

The buildings are the most important aspect here, being ancient foundations dating back to 1242, of the Carmelites or White Friars. After the reformation much demolition and alterations followed, but the Carmelites finally returned centuries later in 1949, renovating and adding extensive new buildings in stone or flint to harmonise with the older surviving parts. They also reclaimed the gardens. Two medieval barns have recently been reclaimed. Their renovation is estimated to cost approximately £1 million.
References

References