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Secret Maidstone reveals these jaw-dropping facts about Maidstone and surrounding areas

By Luke May

What do overarm bowling, Man Vs Food and undercover police have in common?

Don't let your imagination run wild. The answer is all three can trace their origins back to Maidstone.

The County Town is steeped in history and legend, and a new book is looking to bring all of the facts together.

Secret Maidstone merges grisly torture, gluttonous feats and sporting innovations together.

We've put together some of the top facts Maidstone has to offer.

On with his head

Maidstone-born surgeon Thomas Trapham was chosen to sew Charles I's severed head back on.

The surgeon prepared the monarch for his funeral after his execution in 1649.

He then became the personal surgeon to Oliver Cromwell during campaigns in Scotland and Ireland.

Oliver Cromwell. (8443362)
Oliver Cromwell. (8443362)

Sister bowls over tradition

Headcorn’s John Willes was the first man to bowl overarm in a cricket match when he played against Maidstone Cricket Club.

But he actually copied the style from his sister.

Christina Willes started bowling overarm after she found her hooped skirt would get in the way when she bowled underarm.

A Headcorn cricketer threw the first overarm bowl in a match. Picture by: Matthew Walker
A Headcorn cricketer threw the first overarm bowl in a match. Picture by: Matthew Walker

A blessed finger

The little finger of St Andrew was once stored in Boxley.

The patron saint of Scotland's digit was encased in an ounce of silver at Boxley Abbey, making the abbey a popular medieval pilgrimage site.

Boxley Abbey Barn in Sandling. Picture by: John Westhrop
Boxley Abbey Barn in Sandling. Picture by: John Westhrop

A Dickensian pub

As well as his links to Medway, Charles Dickens called Maidstone ‘Muggleton’.

The writer referred to Maidstone as ‘Muggleton’ in the Pickwick Papers. The town’s Wetherspoons now shares the same name.

The Muggleton Inn
The Muggleton Inn

Undercover gets started

Maidstone had some of the first undercover police officers in the country.

In 1884 Maidstone police bought four caps and gabardines to use as disguises for their investigation.

Police bought caps and trenchcoats to go undercover
Police bought caps and trenchcoats to go undercover

Torture reaches boiling point

In 1811 a man was tortured for stealing a tea kettle

The unnamed man was stripped to the waist, tied to a cart and whipped for 50 yards down the High Street.

Imagine being tortured over a kettle
Imagine being tortured over a kettle

'The Great Eater of Kent'

The ever-raging battle of man vs food has been raging long before it came to our TV screens.

Nicholas Wood made his name in 17th century as "The Great Eater of Kent", performing at county fairs and festivals.

The Harrietsham resident once devoured 363 pigeons in one sitting and would astound audiences at fairs and festivals with his enormous appetite.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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