Archbishops Palace, Maidstone. Hand Picked Places to Visit in Kent, England
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Places to Visit in Maidstone, Kent

Archbishops Palace, Maidstone

Archbishops Palace

Tel: 01622 752891

Formerly part of the Manor of Maidstone, the Archbishops' Palace was mainly built by Archbishop Courtenay in the late 14th century.

The manor of Maidstone was given to the Archbishops by Rector William de Cornhill in 1207 to be used as a resting-place for Archbishops travelling between London and Canterbury and is linked to Palaces at Charing, Otford and Croydon.

The buildings surrounding the Palace, the Archbishops' Stables to the east and 'the gatehouse' were probably used as a mill and lodgings for the Archbishops' staff of accountants, butlers, cooks and clerks.

The high wall at the back of the Palace shows a sloping recess with a boarded window about 12 15 feet above the ground. Local legend claims that this was once a dungeon and its most famous occupant was John Ball, 'the mad priest of Kent'. His refusal to accept or conform to the established social order resulted in the Archbishop of Canterbury sentencing him to life imprisonment for sedition. He was sprung from jail in 1381 during the 'peasants revolt' a protest at the poll tax introduced by Chancellor Sudbury who was also Archbishop of Canterbury.

Ball was seen as a natural ally to the peasants. His rousing sermons for the removal of the Pope and Archbishops acted as the clarion call to the masses. On the 14th June the rebels marched on London and although King Richard II was sympathetic to their demands his advisors had no intention of meeting them. Realising this, the rebels stormed the Tower of London - the only people in history to have done so.

The neighbouring Apothecary's Garden is maintained by the Kent Gardens Trust and is open to the public from 1st May to end August Wednesday afternoons only.

Weddings and Conferences
The Archbishops' Palace is now the Kent Register Office for civil marriages and public records. To arrange a wedding here, ring 01622 752891. It is not normally open to the public except during Heritage Open Days. Group tours may be organised at other times by special arrangement with the Visitor Information Centre

In case of alteration, please check prices, opening times and any specific important information before booking or visiting

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