Leeds, Kent
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St. Nicholas Church, Leeds

Leeds Castle, within the parish of Leeds, Kent, was one of the more important seats of the English Culpepers in the 17th century. However, no evidence of any significant Culpeper involvement with the Leeds parish church has been found. Rather, the Culpepers of Leeds Castle appear to have remained part of the nearby churches of Hollingbourne and Harrietsham.

Location: On the B-2163, 1 miles S of the A-20 and Exit 8 of the M-20
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 825 533

St. Nicholas Church, Leeds Kent, June 2001
Photograph by Keith Pearce,

Leeds, Kent

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 Dictionary Entry
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: TQ 825 533

Also See


All Saints Church, Hollingbourne


Leeds Castle (Culpepper Connections)


Leeds Castle (Their own web site)

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015


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