Coxheath Tourist Guide
Coxheath is a village within the borough of Maidstone. It is largely centred along Heath Road which links the villages of Yalding and Boughton Monchelsea to the west and east.
A reproduction beacon pole and the village coat of arms commemorate the role that the village played as a signal bonfire site for many hundreds of years.
More recently the village was home of a large workhouse that served a large part of mid-Kent during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The workhouse is now gone, although its chapel now serves as the village church.
Today, Coxheath is home to the South East Coast Ambulance Service's emergency despatch centre for Kent and is twinned with La Séguinière in Maine-et-Loire, France.
It was also the birthplace of the World Custard Pie Throwing Championships. Coxheath was the original home of the World Custard Pie Throwing Championship, the inaugural event of which was held in the village on June 24 1967. Councillor Mike Fitzgerald, who founded the championships (and latterly served as Mayor of Maidstone in 2006/7), initially planned the event to raise money to build a village hall and was motivated by the Charlie Chaplin comedy film Behind the Screen. This tradition came to an end in 1982 at Coxheath when Councillor Fitzgerald moved to Ditton taking the championships with him.
In 1489 it was recorded as Cokkyshoth and in 1585 as Coxhoth. The nearby Cock Inn (founded 1568) may be a possible origin of the name.
Although there is little evidence of early settlement, nearby Boughton Monchelsea was the site of a Roman quarry.
In the 16th century, the strategic position of the ridge determined its choice for one of the sites in the network of beacons erected in the year of the Armada of 1588. The first known site of a beacon was on the ridge near what are known today as Amsbury Road and Westerhill Road.
Until the eighteenth century the heath was the haunt of highwaymen. During the 1720s the land began to be used as a venue for cricket matches, becoming known as Coxheath Common cricket ground. This remained the area's main use until 1756, when, with the start of the Seven Years War, it suddenly became a huge military camp, with Hanoverian and Hessian troops quartered there.
The camp was the scene of several big reviews of troops by visiting dignitaries, including one by the King himself, George III, and his Queen Charlotte in 1778. The last major cricket match was played in 1789.
The army encampment was closed in 1815 by an Act of Parliament and then in 1817 the heath was enclosed by local landowners, removing the right of villagers to use it.
Heath Road (now the B2163) which runs through the village, runs in an absolutely straight line for over 2 miles (although the majority of this section of the road resides within neighbouring Boughton Monchelsea and Linton). The very straight course of this road is the direct result of work by the military engineers.
The Maidstone Union Workhouse was built in 1836 at a site to the south of
Heath Road, replacing a smaller workhouse built near the junction of Heath Road and Stockett Lane in 1771. In 1867 the workhouse was home for 600 to 700 people.
Perhaps the most distinctive landmark in Coxheath is the Holy Trinity church, built in 1884 as the chapel to the workhouse and latterly the former
LintonHospital. It became the Parish church for the village in 1996.
The nearest station is East Farleigh on the Medway Valley Line. The closest mainline services are via Maidstone East to the north (serving London and Ashford/Canterbury/Ramsgate) or Staplehurst to the south on the Southeastern Main Line.
Disclaimer: The information in this Tourist Guide has been researched from a variety of sources including books, articles and online information. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information the reader should check any specific facts for themselves before making any decisions based upon the said information.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015