Often referred to as simply 'Hasted's Kent,' The History and Topographical Survey of Kent contained in this database is by Edward Hasted, son of a wealthy English barrister from Sutton-at-Hone, Kent. About his history Hasted writes that it contains “the ancient and present state of the county of Kent illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc… collected from public records and other authorities.” He also devotes a passionate paragraph in the preface to the importance of genealogy: “The genealogies of families have been held by many in far too trivial and useless a light, especially when … whole ancestors have been famed for their public virtue and patriotism, for the glorious actions they have performed for their country… Relationship of family extended, by the preservation of pedigrees, promotes a chain of society and good will…” (x–xi).
First editions of the work are incredibly rare and worth thousands of dollars. The history and detail contained in these volumes are considered second to none: it is a standard reference work for historians and genealogists interested in the Kent area. The beginning of each volume holds indexes of places, notable families, etc. and the end appendixes of corrections and additions.
Originally called Cantia (meaning rim or border), Kent is one of the home counties (counties that border or surround London) of England. It is on the south-east side of the country sharing a border with France across the English Channel. Its ports have often played a key role in the defense of England as in the 18th century when England was involved in many wars with France. When the center of naval defensive operations was moved to the Atlantic ports of Plymouth and Portsmouth, the Kent port of Chatham became a center of shipbuilding and repair. Kent is also home to the oldest English diocese (or seat of the bishop), Canterbury.
If your ancestor lived in or passed through Kent they would have experienced one of the warmest climates in Britain. They might have seen the white cliffs of Dover where a chalk ridge meets the coast, or perhaps they knew of Kent as the “Garden of England” for its orchards and hop gardens. The hop flower, so common to the region, was used as a stabilizer and culinary flavoring particularly for beer brewing. Special hop-drying buildings called oasts (also known as oast houses or hop kilns) dotted the horizon.
Information in this index:
- Surnames of notable families li>
- Cities, towns, villages, and regions in Kent li>
- Parishes, churches, and other land holdings li>
- History of the area li>