Kingston upon Thames is a bustling town located in southwest London, England. The town’s vibrant community celebrates its past while embracing modern innovations. This blog post will look at Kingston upon Thames’s history.
The Earliest Kingston Upon Thames History
The earliest history of Kingston upon Thames is full of rare and interesting things. Here are a few examples:
- Kingston was once an island. In about 4,500 BCE, the Thames ran through Kingston’s town centre in two branches. This created an island, which was a strategically important location.
- Kingston was a major centre for the production of bronze goods. The discovery of stone axes and fragments of bronze swords, spearheads, and axes in the Thames evidences this.
- Kingston was a royal borough in Saxon times. This means that it was directly under the control of the king. The first surviving record of Kingston is from AD 838, when it was the site of a meeting between King Egbert of Wessex and Ceolnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury.
- Kingston was the site of several coronations. It is thought that as many as seven Saxon kings were crowned on the Coronation Stone, now housed in All Saints Church.
- Kingston was an important trading centre in the Middle Ages. It was located at the first crossing point of the Thames upstream from London Bridge, and it was a major hub for trade between London and the rest of England.
Rare and Interesting Things from the Earliest History of Kingston upon Thames
- The Coronation Stone. This large stone was considered used for coronations in Saxon times. It is now housed in All Saints Church, Kingston.
- The Saxon Chapel of St Mary. This chapel was located on the site of All Saints Church, and it is thought to have been where many of the Saxon coronations took place.
- The Hogsmill Bridge is considered one of England’s oldest bridges. It is believed to have been built in the 12th century and is still used today.
Interesting Story from the Earliest Kingston upon Thames History
The Legend of the Coronation Stone
The Coronation Stone is a large stone thought to have been used for coronations in Saxon times. It is now housed in All Saints Church, Kingston.
There is a legend that King Arthur and his knights brought the Coronation Stone to Kingston. The legend says that Arthur and his knights were on a quest to find a stone that would be used to crown the rightful king of England. They eventually found the stone in Ireland and brought it back to Kingston.
The legend says that the first Saxon king to be crowned on the Coronation Stone was King Athelstan. Athelstan was crowned in 925 CE, and he went on to become one of the most powerful kings in English history.
The legend of the Coronation Stone is a reminder of Kingston’s long and important history. It is also a reminder of the town’s importance to the kings and queens of England.
Another interesting story from the earliest history of Kingston upon Thames is the story of the Saxon Chapel of St Mary. This chapel was located on the site of All Saints Church, and it is thought to be where many of the Saxon coronations took place.
The chapel was destroyed in the 12th century, but some remains can be seen today. One of the most interesting remains is a stone thought to have been used as an altar.
The story of the Saxon Chapel of St. Mary is a reminder of the religious importance of Kingston in Saxon times. It is also a reminder of the town’s status as a royal borough.
10th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 10th century was a time of great change and upheaval in England. The Viking invasions had ended, and the country was beginning to unite under the rule of the Wessex kings. Kingston upon Thames was important in this period, as it was a royal borough and a major trading centre.
Interesting Events from the 10th Century Kingston upon Thames History
- The coronation of King Athelstan. In 925 CE, King Athelstan was crowned on the Coronation Stone in Kingston upon Thames. He was the first king of all England, and his coronation marked the beginning of a new era in English history.
- The Kingston Guild. The Kingston Guild was founded in the 10th century and was one of England’s most important guilds. The guild controlled much of the trade and commerce in Kingston, and it played a major role in the town’s development.
- The Viking cemetery. A Viking cemetery was discovered in Kingston in the 19th century. The cemetery contained the remains of over 100 people, providing valuable insights into the lives of Vikings in England.
- The Kingston Sword. A Viking sword was discovered in Kingston in the 19th century. The sword is thought to have been made in the 10th century and is one of England’s finest examples of Viking swordsmithing.
Interesting Story from 10th Century Kingston upon Thames history
The Story of Edric the Blacksmith is one of the most famous and interesting stories from 10th-century Kingston upon Thames history. It is a story of bravery, courage, and patriotism.
In 1003, a Viking fleet sailed up the Thames and attacked Kingston. The townspeople were caught by surprise, and many were killed or captured. However, Edric, a blacksmith, refused to be taken prisoner. He armed himself with his hammer and fought off the Vikings.
Edric is said to have killed several Vikings with his hammer, and his bravery helped to save the town. The Vikings eventually withdrew, but only after they had suffered heavy losses.
Edric’s Story is a reminder of the courage and determination of the people of Kingston in the face of adversity. It is also a reminder of the importance of defending one’s home and community.
This Story is also significant because it shows Kingston was a thriving and important town in the 10th century. It was a place where people were willing to fight and die for their freedom.
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11th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 11th century was a time of great change and upheaval in England, and Kingston upon Thames was no exception. The town was still a royal borough but became increasingly important as a trading centre.
Interesting Events from the 11th Century Kingston upon Thames History
- The murder of King Edward the Confessor. In 1066, King Edward the Confessor was murdered in his bed at Westminster Abbey. It is thought that he was poisoned, but the exact circumstances of his death are still unknown.
- The Norman Conquest. In 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England and defeated King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. William then marched to London and was crowned king at Westminster Abbey.
- The development of the market. Kingston’s market was one of the most important in England in the 11th century. It was a major hub for trade between London and the rest of the country.
Interesting Story from the 11th Century Kingston upon Thames History
The Story of the Kingston Minstrel
In the 11th century, a famous minstrel named Geoffrey lived in Kingston upon Thames. Geoffrey was a talented musician and storyteller, and he was known throughout England for his performances.
One day, Geoffrey was invited to perform at the court of King Edward the Confessor. Geoffrey was nervous, but he knew this was a great opportunity. He prepared for days, and when the performance day arrived, he was ready.
Geoffrey’s performance was a huge success. The king and his courtiers were captivated by his music and his stories. Geoffrey performed for several hours, and the king was so impressed that he gave him a large reward.
After the performance, Geoffrey was invited to stay at the court for a few days. He spent his time talking to the king and his courtiers, and he learned a great deal about the politics and culture of England.
When it was time for Geoffrey to leave, the king gave him a gift of a gold necklace. Geoffrey was grateful for the king’s generosity and promised to return to the court someday.
Geoffrey continued performing as a minstrel for many years, becoming one of the most famous in England. He travelled throughout the country and performed for kings, queens, and lords.
Geoffrey’s Story is a reminder of the importance of music and storytelling in the Middle Ages. Geoffrey used his talents to entertain and educate people from all walks of life.
12th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 12th century was a time of great change and upheaval in England, and Kingston upon Thames was no exception. The town was still a royal borough, and it was located at a strategic crossing point of the River Thames. This made it an important trading centre and a target for attack.
Kingston continued to grow and prosper in the 12th century despite the challenges. The town was home to several important buildings, including All Saints Church, rebuilt in the Norman style in the 1120s. Kingston also had a thriving market, a popular destination for pilgrims.
An Interesting Story from 12th Century Kingston upon Thames History
The Story of the Kingston Psalter
In the 12th century, a monk named William de Ste Mère Dieu lived in Kingston upon Thames. William was a skilled scribe, creating a beautiful psalter or book of psalms. The Psalter is now known as the Kingston Psalter, one of the most important surviving examples of medieval English illumination.
The Kingston Psalter is full of beautiful illustrations, including images of saints, biblical scenes, and animals. The Psalter is also notable for its use of colour. William de Ste Mère Dieu used various bright colours to create a stunning effect.
A wealthy patron probably commissioned the Kingston Psalter, intended to be used in a monastic setting. However, the Psalter was eventually lost and rediscovered in the 19th century.
The Kingston Psalter is a rare and valuable artefact from the 12th-century history of Kingston upon Thames. It is a beautiful example of medieval English illumination and a reminder of the town’s rich cultural heritage.
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13th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 13th century was a time of great change and upheaval in Kingston upon Thames. The town was still recovering from the Black Death, which devastated the previous century’s population. However, Kingston was also thriving as a trading centre and a royal borough.
Interesting Events from the 13th Century Kingston upon Thames History
- The Kingston Guildhall. This guildhall was built in the 13th century and is one of England’s finest examples of medieval guildhalls. It is still used today and is a popular venue for weddings and other events.
- The Kingston Mystery Plays. These plays were performed in Kingston every year from the 13th century to the 17th century. They told the stories of the Bible and other religious stories dramatically and entertainingly.
- The Kingston Bridge. This bridge was built in the 13th century and was one of England’s most important. It was the only bridge across the Thames upstream from London Bridge and a major hub for trade and travel.
- The Kingston Royal Manor. The king owned this manor, a source of great wealth and power. The manor house was located on the site of the current Kingston Museum, and it was a popular residence for the king and his court.
14th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 14th century was a turbulent time in English history, and Kingston upon Thames was not immune to the upheavals. However, some interesting events occurred in the town during this period.
One such event was the trial of John Wycliffe in 1377. Wycliffe was a theologian and reformer who challenged the authority of the Church. He was accused of heresy and summoned to stand trial before Archbishop Thomas Arundel at Lambeth Palace. However, Wycliffe could not attend the trial due to illness and was eventually excommunicated.
Another interesting event from the 14th century was the construction of the Guildhall. The Guildhall was built in 1392 by the town’s guilds, and it is one of the finest examples of medieval guildhalls in England. The Guildhall was used for various purposes, including holding markets, meetings, and feasts.
An Interesting Story from 14th Century Kingston upon Thames History
The Miracle of the Well
In 1349, the Black Death struck Kingston upon Thames. The plague killed thousands, and the town was plunged into chaos. One day, a woman named Agnes Sawtre was walking through the town when she came across a well. She was thirsty and cupped her hands and drank from the well. As she drank, she saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary told Agnes she would be cured of the plague if she drank from the well again.
Agnes did as the Virgin Mary instructed and was miraculously cured of the plague. The miracle spread quickly, and people from all over the country came to Kingston to drink from the well. The well became known as the Miracle Well, a popular pilgrimage site for centuries.
The story of the Miracle Well is a rare and interesting event from the 14th-century history of Kingston upon Thames. It is a story of hope and faith amid great tragedy.
15th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 15th century was turbulent in England, and Kingston upon Thames was not immune to the turmoil. However, the town also experienced some interesting events during this period.
One such event was the Battle of Kingston Bridge in 1461. This was a battle between the forces of King Henry VI and the Yorkist rebels led by Edward IV. The battle took place on the bridge over the Thames at Kingston, and it was a decisive victory for the Yorkists. Edward IV was crowned king shortly afterwards, and the Yorkist dynasty was established.
Another interesting event from the 15th century is the story of Jack Cade. Cade was a leader of a rebellion against Henry VI in 1450. He marched on London and was eventually defeated at the Battle of Sevenoaks. However, he remained active in south England for several months and even briefly occupied Kingston upon Thames.
Story from the 15th century Kingston upon Thames History
The Tale of the Merry Monk
One day in the 15th century, a group of monks from Kingston were on their way to London to collect alms. They were crossing the Hogsmill Bridge when a group of bandits attacked them. The monks were outnumbered and outmatched, and they were quickly overpowered.
One of the monks, known for his wit and charm, managed to escape. He ran back to Kingston and told the sheriff what had happened. The sheriff immediately assembled a posse and set off to rescue the monks.
When the sheriff and his men reached the Hogsmill Bridge, they found the bandits still holding the monks captive. The sheriff challenged the bandits to a fight and promised to reward them if they surrendered.
The bandits were reluctant at first, but they eventually agreed to surrender. The sheriff then released the monks and gave the bandits the promised reward.
The monks were grateful to the sheriff for saving them and offered him a reward. However, the sheriff refused the reward. He said he was happy to help and didn’t need any reward.
The sheriff’s generosity impressed the monks, who decided to repay him differently. They wrote a song about the sheriff’s bravery and sang it to everyone they met.
The song quickly became popular, and the king himself even sang it. The sheriff was so proud of the song that he had it written down and preserved.
This story is interesting because it shows how the people of Kingston upon Thames valued the sheriff’s courage and generosity. It is also rare because it is one of the few stories from the 15th century that celebrates the sheriff of Kingston.
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16th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 16th century was a time of great change and upheaval for Kingston upon Thames. The town was still recovering from the Black Death, and the English Reformation was beginning. Despite these challenges, Kingston remained a thriving market town and a popular destination for Londoners.
Interesting Events from 16th-Century Kingston upon Thames History
- The arrival of the Spanish Armada. In 1588, the Spanish Armada sailed up the English Channel, threatening to invade England. Kingston was one of the first ports that the Armada attacked. The town’s defenses were able to repel the Spanish, and the Armada was eventually defeated.
- The execution of Anne Boleyn. In 1536, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, was executed at the Tower of London. Her body was then buried in All Saints Church, Kingston.
- The founding of Kingston Grammar School. Kingston Grammar School was founded in 1561 by Thomas Wotton, a wealthy merchant. The school is still in operation today and is one of England’s oldest independent schools.
- The building of Kingston Bridge. Kingston Bridge was built in 1552-1553. It was the first bridge to be built across the Thames upstream from London Bridge. The bridge was built to improve trade and communication between Kingston and London.
An Interesting Story from 16th Century Kingston upon Thames History
The Story of the Kingston Mystery Plays
The Kingston Mystery Plays were a series of religious plays performed in Kingston from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The plays were performed on a wooden stage built in the High Street. The plays were popular with people from all walks of life and were a major cultural event in Kingston.
In 1576, the Kingston Mystery Plays were banned by the Puritan authorities. This was because the plays were seen as being too Catholic. However, the plays continued to be performed illegally in Kingston for many years.
In 1912, a group of local enthusiasts began to revive the Kingston Mystery Plays. They performed the plays on the grounds of All Saints Church. The revival was a success, and the plays were performed yearly.
The Kingston Mystery Plays are a unique and important part of Kingston’s history. They are a reminder of the town’s rich cultural heritage.
17th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 17th century was turbulent for England, and Kingston upon Thames was not immune to the upheaval. However, the town also experienced some interesting events during this period.
One such event was the Kingston Rebellion of 1648. This was a short-lived uprising against the rule of Oliver Cromwell. The rebellion was led by a group of Levellers, a radical political movement that demanded greater democracy for England. The rebellion was quickly suppressed, but it is a rare example of popular resistance to Cromwell’s rule.
Another interesting event from the 17th century was the visit of King Charles II to Kingston in 1660. Charles had been restored to the throne after the English Civil War, and his visit to Kingston celebrated his return. Charles was greeted by cheering crowds and lavish banquets. The visit was a sign of the town’s importance and its loyalty to the monarchy.
Interesting Story from 17th Century Kingston upon Thames History:
In 1665, during the Great Plague of London, Kingston was one of the few towns in England that was spared from the disease. This was due to several factors, including Kingston’s location on the Thames, which had good drainage and was well-supplied with fresh food.
Mary Frith was one of the people who helped keep Kingston safe from the plague. Frith was a notorious pickpocket and cross-dresser known as “Moll Cutpurse.” However, she also had a reputation for being kind and generous.
Frith used her skills during the plague to help the sick and dying. She would go into the homes of plague victims and steal their valuables, but she would then use the money to buy food and medicine for them. Frith also helped to bury the dead.
Frith’s actions were controversial, but many Kingston residents also appreciated them. She was eventually arrested and charged with theft but was acquitted because she had been acting out of charity.
Frith’s Story is a reminder that even during the darkest times, people are always willing to help others. It is also a reminder of the importance of community and cooperation.
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18th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
The 18th century was a time of great change and upheaval in Kingston upon Thames. The town was growing rapidly, and its economy was changing from a traditional agricultural base to a more industrialized one. This led to several interesting and rare events, some discussed below.
Rare Events from the 18th century Kingston upon Thames History
- The Kingston Canal. This canal was built in the early 18th century to connect Kingston to the River Wey. It was used to transport goods from Kingston to London and other parts of the country. The canal was closed in the early 19th century, but its remains can still be seen today.
- The Kingston Fair. This fair was held annually in Kingston from the 12th century until the early 18th century. It was a major event for the town, attracting people from all over the country. The fair was finally abolished in 1810 due to concerns about public disorder.
- The Kingston Theatre. This theatre was built in 1784 and was one of the first purpose-built theatres in England. It was a popular venue for plays, concerts, and other performances. The theatre closed in 1824, and it was demolished in 1874.
- The Kingston Cricket Club. This cricket club was founded in 1765 and is one of the oldest in the world. The club has produced many notable cricketers, including Sir Jack Hobbs and Sir Len Hutton.
Interesting Story from the 18th Century Kingston upon Thames History
In 1788, a young woman named Mary Tofts claimed to have given birth to rabbits. She was examined by several doctors, who all confirmed that she had given birth to rabbits. However, it was later revealed that Tofts was a fraud and that she had been inserting rabbits into her vagina.
Tofts’ Story caused a sensation then, and it was widely reported in the newspapers. Tofts may have been motivated by financial gain, as she had been offered a large sum of money by a group of entrepreneurs who wanted to capitalize on her Story.
Tofts’ Story is a rare and interesting example of a medical fraud. It is also a reminder of the public’s gullibility in the 18th century.
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19th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
Interesting Events from the 19th Century Kingston upon Thames History
- The arrival of the railway in 1838. This led to a rapid increase in the population of Kingston as people from London and other parts of the country moved to the town.
- The construction of the Kingston Bridge in 1828. This replaced an older bridge that had been built in the 12th century.
- The establishment of the Kingston Literary and Scientific Institution in 1830. This was one of the first public libraries in England.
- The opening of the Kingston Theatre in 1852. This was a popular venue for plays, concerts, and other entertainment.
- The construction of the Kingston Town Hall in 1860.
An Interesting Story from the 19th Century Kingston upon Thames History
The Story of the “Kingston Ghost”
In 1844, a mysterious figure was seen walking along the Thames at Kingston. The figure was described as being tall and thin, with long white hair and a flowing black cloak. It was said to be the ghost of a woman murdered in the area. The “Kingston Ghost” story captured the public’s imagination and was reported in newspapers all over England. However, the ghost’s identity was never discovered, and the mystery remains unsolved.
20th Century Kingston Upon Thames History
Interesting Events from the 20th Century Kingston upon Thames History
- The opening of the Kingston Bypass in 1927. This major road construction project diverted traffic away from the town centre. It helped to reduce congestion and improve air quality in Kingston.
- The establishment of Kingston University in 1969. This new university was created by merging several existing colleges and technical schools. It has since grown to become one of the largest universities in London.
- The construction of the Eden Walk Shopping Centre in 1979. This major shopping development brought new businesses and jobs to the town. It is now one of the busiest shopping centres in Kingston.
- The opening of the Bentall Centre in 1992. This was a major redevelopment of the Bentalls department store. It created a new shopping and leisure complex that has become a popular destination for locals and tourists.
- The 2012 Olympics. Kingston was one of the host towns for the 2012 Olympic Games. It hosted the rowing events at Dorney Lake, just outside the town.
An Interesting Story from the 20th Century Kingston upon Thames History
The Story of the Kingston Flyer
The Kingston Flyer was a steam locomotive that was built in 1908. It operated on the Kingston and Hampton Railway, which ran between Kingston and Hampton Court. The railway was closed in 1969, but the Kingston Flyer was saved and is now preserved at the National Railway Museum in York.
The Kingston Flyer was a popular tourist attraction, and it was known for its speed and reliability. It was also used to transport goods and materials and played an important role in the local economy. The closure of the Kingston and Hampton Railway was a blow to the town, but the Kingston Flyer continues to be a reminder of its rich industrial heritage.
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Kingston Upon Thames in the 21st Century
Interesting Events in Kingston upon Thames in the 21st Century
- 2008, a rare white deer was spotted in Kingston’s Bushy Park. The deer was believed to be an albino and was the first white deer seen in the park in over 100 years.
- In 2012, a pod of dolphins swam up the Thames and into Kingston. The dolphins were believed to be lost, and they stayed in the Thames for several days before swimming back out to sea.
- In 2015, a man was struck by lightning while walking across Kingston Bridge. The man survived the lightning strike and was treated for minor injuries.
- In 2017, a large meteorite was seen streaking across the sky over Kingston. The meteorite was believed to be about the size of a grapefruit and landed in a field near Kingston.
An Interesting Story from Kingston upon Thames in the 21st Century
In 2016, a group of students from Kingston University found a Roman mosaic while excavating a site in the town centre. The mosaic was believed to be over 1,500 years old, and it was one of the most significant archaeological finds in the area in recent years.
The students were excavating the site as part of an archaeological dig and were surprised to find the mosaic. The mosaic was in good condition, depicting a scene of a Roman villa. The students’ discovery helped shed light on Kingston’s history, and it was a reminder of the town’s rich heritage.
The history of Kingston upon Thames is a fascinating tale of a town that has undergone significant changes over the centuries. Throughout its history, this place has evolved from a site of religious devotion and economic exchange in ancient times to a bustling hub of trade and governance under royal patronage. Kingston upon Thames has played an essential role in the history of England. Its strategic location on the banks of the Thames has made it a hub for transport and industry, while its historic buildings and cultural attractions continue to draw visitors from around the world. The town’s history endures, reflecting its people’s resilience and ingenuity amidst change.