L&M: In 1639 Peter Mundy wrote of Maidstone: 'For Many Miles about London there is Not a handsomer and cleaner place': Mundy, iii. 40.
To Celia Fiennes (ca. 1697) it was 'a very neat market town as you shall see in the Country, its buildings are mostly of timber work the streets are large . . . very pretty houses about the town look like the habitations of rich men, I believe it a wealthy place. . . . : Journeys (ed. Morris), p. 330.
Daniel Defoe called it 'a town of very great business and Trade, and yet full of Gentry, of Mirth, and of good Company',: Tour (ed. Cole), i. 115.
Its staple trade was the making of linen thread.