Dartford High Street has a long and interesting story to tell. Some of the buildings located here were built hundreds of years ago.
Let’s start this short article about Dartford High Street by introducing the local church.
The Church may have been built in the Anglo-Saxon period. This is because features believed to be pre-Norman Conquest were revealed inside the bottom stage of the tower in 1996. The basic layout of the present church, however, dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Holy Trinity Church has a distinguished past. In 1415, Henry V held a thanksgiving service here after the Battle of Agincourt. After his death in 1422 Henry’s body lay overnight at Holy Trinity for a required mass.
Near the altar is the tomb of Sir John Spilman. He founded England’s first successful paper mill in Dartford in 1588. There is a dramatic wall painting of St George and the Dragon c.1470. At the Reformation, this work was covered with whitewash. However, it was revealed in the 1830s. Important brasses include that of Richard Martyn and his wife from the 15th century. There is also William D’eath, founder of Dartford Grammar School, dated 1590.
Called the Crown and Anchor until 1966, this pub was commonly known as the Wat Tyler long before. The Wat Tyler Cycling Club was founded here in 1905. The timber-framed building is medieval. It forms a part of a large house partially demolished in 1955.
A document dated 1416 was found hidden inside one of the roof joints, perhaps put there while the house was being built. This was a list of occupiers of land on Dartford Salt Marsh which is now on display in Dartford Borough Museum. If the building was constructed after 1416 it cannot be connected with Wat Tyler because he died in 1381.
This timber-framed 16th-century townhouse next to the church is believed to have been built from a 15th-century example. Part of it still faces on to the High Street opposite present-day shops and business premises. From 1823 to 1930 the building was occupied by the Stidolph family. They ran it as various combinations of upholsterers, furnishers, decorators, undertakers and also auctioneers.
This was one of the medieval town’s few streets. Bullace Lane (sometimes Bullis or Bullhouse) was an important thoroughfare until the 19th century. The name probably relates to the wild or semi-cultivated plum because the road led in the direction of orchards.
This post is based on the information collected by Dartford Removals from Dartford Library, Dartford Borough Museum and the interviews with Dartford Residents.