History of our parish
Boughton Aluph and Eastwell are two separate civil parishes, three miles to the northeast of Ashford.
Boughton Aluph lies on the Roman road from the Weald of Kent to Canterbury. Roman remains have been found at Kempes Corner on the A28 Canterbury Road. In Saxon times the village was held by Earl Godwin and his son, the future King Harold. The Doomsday Book of 1086 notes that the community was prosperous with a church, All Saints’ Church, two mills and land for 33 ploughs. The Anglo Saxon church was replaced and became a place of rest for pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. Pilgrims grouped there together before crossing the woodland to Canterbury, This was necessary because the woods were full of thieves and brigands. This is still a popular route for current day pilgrims and walkers. The brigands have now disappeared.
Eastwell is a parish of wells and also dates back to Saxon times when a thane held the lordship. The ownership of Eastwell was documented in the Domesday Book. The estate is now a farming concern, raising crops and sheep. The main interest in this part of the parish is the ruined St Mary the Virgin Church, which is now cared for by the Friends of Friendless Churches. The church became unused and sustained severe damage by a storm in 1951. Marble monuments found in the church are now on view in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In the graveyard is a commemorative stone to Richard Plantagenet, the illegitimate son of Richard III. It is said that Richard was employed as a bricklayer on the estate. Part of the estate was landscaped to include a large shallow lake and the distinctive Eastwell Towers. Eastwell Manor has a royal history with Queen Victoria a frequent visitor. There is a photograph of her skating on the lake under the watchful gaze of John Brown. King Edward VII was also a visitor. The Manor burnt down and was rebuilt in 1927. It is now a luxury hotel and spa run by Champneys.