1831 Topographical Dictionary
Leeds, a parish in the hundred of Eyehorne,
lathe of Aylesford, county of Kent, 5 miles SE from
Maidstone, containing 515 inhabitants... The church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, has at the west
end a remarkably low square tower.
Leeds is said to have derived its
name from Ledian, counsellor to Ethelbert II., who built here a
fortress in 978. Subsequently, in 1119, a priory of Black canons,
in honour of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, was founded by Robert de
Crepito Corde, alias Creveceur, or Croucheart, Knt. The abbey church
was equal in magnitude and beauty to a cathedral, and the monastic
buildings, considerable remains of which still exist, were of
correspondent size and grandeur.
Leeds Castle, the residence of the
family of Fairfax, is one of the most stately in the kingdom: it
is seated in a beautiful park, is surrounded by a moat, and
approached by a stone bridge of two arches: the buildings, which
are entirely of stone, are ranged round a spacious quadrangle, and
though they exhibit the architecture of different periods, the
structure as a whole produces a most striking and noble effect. It
has two ancient gateways, a grand hall, and a magnificent suite of
state apartments: there are also the remains of the inner vallum,
of the keep, and of various other detached parts, said to have
been erected by the Creveceurs, its ancient owners, by William of
Wykeham, and by Henry VIII. George III and his royal consort were
entertained here with great splendor in their excursion to
Coxheath Camp, in 1779. Courts leet and baron are held annually,
at which three officers, termed Borsholders, are appointed.
Commentary on the 1831 Topographical
By D. A. H. Cleggett, Historical Adviser and Archivist, Leeds Castle
Foundation, 28 Aug 2000:
The name Leeds has nothing to do with anyone named Ledian. The name esledes is an
old English word derived from hlio (plural hleou) meaning, slope
or hillside. This correctly corresponds to the site of Leeds
village. Castles in Britain and Europe generally are called for
the nearest town, village or hamlet.
The castle [no longer has] state apartments.
King George III and Queen Charlotte were at
Leeds in November 1778 not 1779 as printed
Location: 5 miles ESE of Maidstone and 12
miles NNE of Goudhurst. On the B-2163, 1 miles S of the A-20 and
Exit 8 of the M-20.
National Grid Coordinates: