in the 2nd Iter of the Antonine Itinerary, where it is
stated to be nine Roman miles on the London side of Rochester
(Durobrivae). This works well for Springhead, but the problem is
complicated by the difficulty of interpreting the route thence to London.
Between the two places the Itinerary inserts the unidentified ‘Noviomagus,’
which is alleged to be 10 miles from London and 18 miles from Springhead.
The latter is, as it happens, the direct distance of London itself from
Springhead; and it is clear that, if the text of the Itinerary is here
free from corruption, the route chosen is by no means a direct one. Under
the circumstances the identification of Springhead with ‘Vagniacae’
must remain probable rather than certain.67
6. OSPRINGE AND FAVERSHAM
From Faversham Church westwards to the
foundations of the Saxon chapel of Stone, a strip of country about a mile
and three-quarters long and a mile in width has proved rich in Roman
remains. Diagonally across this strip runs the Watling Street which, in
conjunction with the proximity of several minor tributaries of the Swale,
was doubtless their primary raison d’ętre. Beneath the
churchyard at Faversham itself foundations of Roman buildings have been
observed on the north side of the nave and the south side of the chancel,
whilst urns and coins were brought to light in 1794,68
when the western tower was taken down. Previously, in 1755, a Roman altar
and many Roman bricks had been discovered when the central tower was
demolished.69 Elsewhere in Faversham indications of a
Roman building—a chalk floor, flanged tiles, potsherds, etc.—have been
found in a field east of Clap gate; whilst in Thorn Mead Field, near
Faversham Abbey, an urn containing burnt bones and covered by a tile on
which was an armlet was discovered in 1862.70 Again, at
Davington Hill at and near the Powder Mills, a Roman cemetery containing
upwards of twenty urns was observed in 1770 ; whilst other burials have
been noted in gravel pits between Davington Hill and Bysing Road.71
In the adjoining parish of Oare, two sites have produced further
burials. In Church Field, about 20 yds. from and parallel with the road
leading to the Sheppey Ferry, near Pheasant Farm, a number of groups of
pottery associated with cremation-burials was found in 1838; in connection
with them are noted Samian vessels bearing the stamps of the late
1st-century potters Crucuro, Martialis, Secundus and Ruffus. Some of these
burials are now in the Canterbury Museum.72 The second
cemetery was found in 1844 in Moor Field or Broom Field, a few hundred
yards west of the first, and appears to have been of similar date.73
A little further north, at Uplees Farm, more cinerary urns were dug
up in 187174 Further south, between Ospringe Parsonage
and the Brook, more burials are said to have been found long ago, and
discoveries in 1770 of other Roman urns and coins are recorded from the
vicinity of the 48th and 49th milestones on the Watling Street.75
67 For the names Vagniacae
and Noviomagus, see F. Haverfield, V.C.H. Surrey. iv, 347.
68 Gent. Mag. ii, 554. (July,
1799). 69 Jacob,
Hist. of Faversham (1774), P. 39
70 Reliquary xiii, 144; for another
cremation burial see Proc. Soc. Antiq. ser. ii, vi, 380.
71 Jacob, op. cit. p. 3 : Hasted, op.
cii. ii, 728; Gough’s Camden (1806), i, 342; Reliq. xiii,
72 Arch xxix,
73 Reliquary, xiii, 143.
74 Arch. Cant. ix, lxxii.
75 Gough in his ed. of Camden, Brit. (1806) i, 359
Cant. ix, lxxii; Reliq. xiii, 144, makes two finds of one.