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Hengist was a 5th Century Saxon warrior with a fearsome reputation who was called upon by the King of the Britons to help him beat the Picts. Hengist came to Britain with his brother Horsa, defeated the Picts, and in return was given the Isle of Thanet by the King. However Hengist wasn't satisfied and sent for his fellow countrymen who arrived in Britain by the boatload. In 455AD the Saxons beat the Britons at the Battle of Aylesford, and Hengist took Kent as his Kingdom.

The pretty village of Aylesford has a charming Kentish feel to it which couldn't be further removed from its bloody legacy. As well at the Saxon Hengist's battle against the Britons in 455, Alfred the Great fought the Danes here in 893, as did Edmund Ironside in 1016.

Its position on an easily-crossed bend in the river just outside the town of Maidstone made Aylesford an ideal place for a settlement, one has been here since at least 2000BC. After the Norman Conquest, King William took Aylesford Manor as his own and built the church of St Peter and St Paul.

The stone bridge over the river was built in the 14th Century and was the next point to cross the river after Rochester. The bridge gained fame when it was used in the opening credits of the film Half a Sixpence in 1967.

Originally with a small cluster of homes and an inn, Aylesford became well-known for barge building - one of the first built was the 'April' in 1869. Development took off when houses were built for workers from the new quarry in the 1850's.

In the 1920's the population grew again with the building of a paper mill which would become one of the largest in Europe. Aylesford today is a very quiet village with old-world charm and feels very secluded, despite being just 3 ½ miles from the centre of Maidstone. The river still flows under the bridge as it has for centuries, and as countless ducks and swans float serenely past, it's as if nothing has changed in all that time.