A brief history of Aylesford Church
Aylesford is OLD! Its name probably stems from a local chieftain Aegel, who was in control of a strategic ford over the River Medway. Here Hengist and Horsa fought against King Vortigern in AD455; here in 893 King Alfred defeated the Danes; and in 1016 Edmund Ironside pursued the Danes from Otford to Aylesford, slaughtering many on the way. In more recent times Aylesford became a bustling industrial village with many barges passing through it along the river. Nowadays the village is a quaint residential area, with the industry confined to busy industrial parks outside the village.
The oldest part of the Church (the base of the tower) is Norman, so getting on for 1000 years old! There may even have been a church here before that, high up overlooking the river, so that travellers crossing the ford could pray for safety. The naves (15th century) and chancel were built at different times, which is why they are out of alignment; the unusual double nave means that the church is a lot bigger than it looks from a distance. Some of the most attractive features are the swords and helmets hanging in the chancel and chapel, the 17th century Colepepper tomb, a beautiful brass in the floor of the chapel, and the spectacularly painted Victorian organ. There is a marvellous view from the top of the tower (occasionally open to the public - if you can cope with the ladder up to the top!), and the eight bells in the tower ring out most Sundays and during the week, especially for weddings.
A much fuller guide to Aylesford Church and all its features, has been compiled. Copies are available in the church.