Ashford in Kent began as a Saxon village but in the early 13th century it grew into a small market town. In 1243 Ashford was given a charter. (A document granting the people certain rights). The charter was renewed in 1348 and in 1466. As well as weekly markets Ashford was allowed annual fairs. (In those days fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year. People came from all over Kent to attend an Ashford fair). From 1348 Ashford was allowed 2 fairs.
In the Middle Ages Ashford was a busy little market town although it would seem tiny to us with a population of no more than 1,000, possibly less.
From the 14th century there were people called Lollards who disagreed with the teachings of the Church. They were persecuted after 1401 and in 1517 a man named John Brown was martyred in Ashford.
During the reign of Mary 1553-1558 Protestants were persecuted in England. At that time 5 men from Ashford were martyred at Canterbury while 2 men from Tenterden were martyred Ashford in 1557.
Despite the religious upheavals of the 16th century Ashford continued to be a thriving market town. Ashford Grammar School was founded in 1635. During the civil wars of the mid-17th century Ashford was in parliamentary hands and did not witness any fighting.
By the early 18th century Ashford still had a population of only about 1,500. To us it would seem tiny but by the standards of the time it was a little market town.