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(The Aldington Gang)
Aldington lies on the hills to the north edge of the Romney Marsh ,
between Lympne and Ashford .
After the Norman invasion, the church was next to the Archbishops
palace, but after the reformation the building went into decay.
The village was affected badly by the Black Death , as the village
centre is now at Aldington Corner about 1 mile from the church.
In 1511 Erasmus of Rotterdam a famous theologian and scholar was
made the vicar of Aldington by Archbishop Warham. Erasmus spoke
Latin and Dutch and no English , therefore could not preach to the
English congregation and resigned one year later.
In 1519 Elizabeth Barton was born in the village, she became a maid
to one of the local families, but claimed she had visions and
could prophecy. She was provided a place in the convent at Canterbury,
and through some manipulation by Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More she
prophesied that King Henry VIII would die a villains death if he divorced
Catherine. The prophesy was made in 1527. Henry was not impressed and
Elizabeth was arrested along with Archbishop Warnham. She was questioned
by Archbishop Cranmer and confessed to fraud finally was publicly executed
at Tyburn in April 1533.
The Aldington Gang of smugglers was probably founded in or around
1817 as gang based smuggling returned, but the first mention of
the Aldington Gang was in 1820. The gang carried out a landing
near Sandgate Castle with 300 men taking part, and were spotted
by a few local blockade men, as the main blockade force had been lured away by the
smugglers. The smugglers outnumbered the blockade men who decided
that it was safer to report the event, than try to stop it.
In 1792 George Ransley was born at Ruckinge , and started work as
a ploughman then a carter. The story goes that he found a stash
of spirits hidden by the smugglers and with the proceeds of the sale
bought his house the Bourne Tap. Ransley took over the Aldington
gang of smugglers after the Battle of Brookland in 1820. The gang
became stronger and landed goods all along the coast from Rye to
Deal . In July 1826 they were caught on the beach at Dover and a
Midshipman Richard Morgan was killed. In October 1826 Ransley was
arrested at Aldington by the Bow Street Runners on suspicion of
murder, but as it took place in the dark, the death sentence was
converted to deportation. Ransley was sent to work on a farm in
During the Second World War Aldington Knoll was used as an observation
post for spotting incoming German planes and doodlebugs flying over
to attack London.
Aldington church tower has been used as for many years as a guide
for sailors as it stands on the top of the hills behind the
| Aldington has a few local services, but the nearest main town
is Ashford, about 4 miles north west, with its main shopping centre
The nearest train service also runs from Ashford , with a regular
service to London , Folkestone and via Eurostar to Paris and Brussels .
| Aldington is a village standing on top of the hills to the north
of the Romney Marsh .
The village lies in two pieces, the area around
the church with its old buildings, and the remainder of the village
on top of the hill has magnificent views over the Romney Marshes
from Lympne to Dungeness .