RELIGION IN MEDIEVAL DARTFORD
THE CHURCH IN CONTROL
Religion was of prime importance in medieval Dartford. Religion influenced everything that people did and religious authorities and institutions governed many aspects of daily life. The fear of eternal damnation and the hope of eternal bliss were the driving forces that motivated all, lord and peasant alike.
In Dartford, the church owned land and properties, people paid tithes to the vicar and could be summoned before the church courts for breaches of moral and ecclesiastical law. The resident dean of Dartford was a powerful figure who controlled many parishes in North Kent and South East London. The bishops court met at Dartford six times a year. The Guild of All Saints and Dartford Priory were very influential locally. The most powerful people in the town were the landowners, amongst whom were the prioress of Dartford, the abbot of Lesnes, the bishop of Rochester, the Guild of All Saints, the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers.