Origins of the Name
Possible Origins of the name
Leeds is the name of two habitations within the United Kingdom. The City of Leeds in West Yorkshire and the small village of Leeds in Kent, known mainly for its beautiful castle.
City of Leeds
First referred to in the 5th Century, the area was covered by the forest known as ‘Loidis’a word believed to be of Celtic origin. The Venerable Bede also referred to this area by the same name.
Village of Leeds
The village is 5 miles east of Maidstone, the county town of Kent, and may have taken its name from a local stream known in pre-Norman times as the ‘Hlyde’ – ‘the loud or noisy one’. The original settlement was called ‘Hlydes’ – ‘belonging to the noisy one’. It was recorded as Esleads in 1086, Hlydea & Hledes in the 12th century and Leeds in the 17th century.
The nearby Leeds Castle, surrounded by a moat and in beautiful countryside was built by Robert de Crevecoeur in 1119 on the site of an Anglo-Saxon fort in the 10th century by ‘Led’ or ‘Ledian’. At that time, the area was part of a Saxon Manor called Esledes. The River Len flows through the site and was used by boats to carry the building materials.
Leeds Castle, Kent. Photograph by David Iliff, 2009.
The castle passed into royal hands in 1278 and became part of the settlement for widowed Queens on the death of their husband. Henry VIII visited on his way to "The Field of The Cloth of Gold" in France in 1520.