Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Dartford

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DARTFORD, an English market-town, parish, and local board district of West Kent, 16 miles east of London, on the Darent, which enters the Thames about 2½ miles north of the town. The town lies low, flanked by two chalky eminences, called East and West Hills, and consists of one main street, crossed by two or three smaller streets. It possesses a town hall, a grammar school, and a county court-house. The most noteworthy building, however, is the parish church, repaired and restored, which contains a curious old fresco and several interesting brasses. The prosperity of the town depends on the important public works in its immediate vicinity, including powder works, paper mills, and engineering works. One of the first attempts at the manufacture of paper in England was made here by Spilman, who was jeweller to Queen Elizabeth, and that industry has been identified with the place ever since. Dartford was the scene, in 1235, of the marriage, celebrated by proxy, between Isabella, sister of Henry III. and the Emperor Frederick II.; and in 1331 a famous tournament was held in the place by Edward III. The same monarch established an Augustinian nunnery on West Hill in 1355, of which, however, almost no remains now exist. It was here also that Wat Tyler's outbreak occurred in 1377, and the house he resided in is pointed out by the townspeople. The area of the parish is 4251 acres; the population (1871) 8298