Facts about Gillingham
Gillingham is a town in the county of Kent in South East England. For local government purposes, it is also in the unitary authority of Medway. The town includes the settlements of Brompton, Hempstead, Wigmore, Parkwood, Rainham which has its own significant retail and leisure hub, Rainham Mark and Twydall. The town’s name is pronounced with a soft ‘g’, compared to the hard ‘g’ used for Gillingham, Dorset.
The name Gillingham is recorded in the Domesday book of 1086. It is said to have been named after a warlord, Gyllingas—from the old English gyllan, meaning “to shout”. He was a notable man in Kent history as he led his warriors into battle screaming and shouting. The Seven Years’ War began in 1756 and the government immediately gave orders for the defence of the dockyard; by 1758 the Chatham Lines of Defence were built.
In 1919, after World War I, a naval war memorial in the shape of a white stone obelisk was set up on the Great Lines, from where it can be seen for many miles. Additional structures were added in 1945 to commemorate the dead of World War II. Similar monuments stand in the dockyard towns of Portsmouth and Plymouth. In 1919 the Frederick Burton family, which owned the old brickworks, sold it and migrated to Auckland, New Zealand with their daughter Edith.