pond close by is said to be fed by springs. Quantities
of oyster-shells, tiles, and potsherds of Samian, Castor, and other ware
have been found, but the only stamp recorded is MARTINVS
F on a mortarium rim.
3. AYLESFORD.—(a) Traces of buildings—ragstone, tufa
blocks, building and roof tiles, tesserae, which are now in Dartford
Public Library, ‘remains of foundation of broken tile and Concrete for
several feet,’ with Samian potsherds, etc., are recorded in 1900 to have
been found over a large area in allotment gardens on the north-east edge
of a disused gault claypit behind the W. Kent Cement Co.’s works (now
ruined), opposite New Hythe, south-west of Eccles, and near Rowe Place
Farm. This is probably the place, formerly known as ‘Kiln Tile Field,’
where Beale Post in 1847 observed ‘streets and buildings’ with coins
of Hadrian, Pius, and Constantine II extending over 12 acres. The only
recorded building lay 100 yds. west, and was a grave 6 ft. square and 4
ft. deep, lined with chalk blocks and containing potsherds, burnt matter,
and stag’s horns and bones. In 1919, Roman foundations were met with in
digging post-holes, 200 yds. south of Rose Cottage, near the gault pit.
The 'streets' are, no doubt, a stretch of the imagination, but there must
have been here one or more houses.7 Actually a road was found
to the north, for which see Top. Index, s.v. Eccles.
(b) In a sheltered nook of the chalk hills (Boxley
Hill), by some chalk pits, close to (east of) the Roman road from
Rochester, a few hundred yards east of and above Kit’s Coty, ‘extensive
buildings’ were traced about 1844, and part of a brick floor was
uncovered; on the last were potsherds of all kinds, including Samian, a
few human bones, and traces of burnt wood. Earlier in 1830 and 1831, a few
hundred yards north, stones, tiles of all kinds, iron clamps, many
potsherds, fibulae, and ‘various small instruments’ were found on the
site of a mound; a skeleton was also found on it, and on the top coins
ranging from Augustus to Arcadius, including three British, one
un-inscribed, one of Eppillus and one probably of Amminus, but another
account mentions 200 coins ranging from Vespasian to Gratian. Lastly, a
hoard of 100 ‘small brass’ of Tetrius (1), Constantinian (21),
Magnentius (1), Valentinian (20), Valens (41), Gratian (15), was
found around here about 1850. Maidstone Museum contains 8 fibulae, some
apparently early, a bronze key, rings, pins, etc., from here; also
cordoned pedestalled urns similar to those of the Early Iron Age found in
the cemetery in the valley at Aylesford as well as a wide-mouthed jar of
the 1st century B.C. on Bluebell Hill and a vase from a chalk cist near
Kits Coty. Whatever the character of the buildings—and ‘the mound’
and the coins suggest a temple site—they were occupied apparently
throughout the Roman period, as well as possibly before it.8
5 and 6.—BARMING, EAST.—TWO houses have been noted in
this parish, both on the left or northern bank of the Medway. (a) One was
accidentally discovered in 1797 in a field 100 yds. south-east of St.
Margaret’s church, on a rather steeply sloping bank, nearly i 100 ft.
above sea-level. It appears to have been small and rudely constructed,
with walls of stone and lime, unequal in thickness, and many small and
irregular rooms. Many potsherds and some bricks, perhaps from a floor,
were found, and also a few coins—a ‘large brass’ of Faustina, a ‘smaller
brass’ of Carus (?), a plated 3rd century issue of uncertain date, and
two small Constantinian copper. A walled cemetery was detected at the same
time 200 yds. to the north-east.9
(b) The second villa is about half a mile east of the
other and a little nearer to the river. It was discovered in 1879, but the
excavators were content with uncovering a few feet of walling and a floor
paved with large tiles, at a depth of 7 ft.; on the floor and about the
wall lay pieces of tufa and ragstone and broken roof-tiles, indicating
that the roof had fallen in. Close by was a curious walled pit, 4 ft.
deep, 9½ ft. long and 4½ ft. wide. Its walls were of Kentish rag and
tufa, cemented with pink mortar and bonded with tiles; its floor was paved
with tiles measuring 12 by 16 in.; it was filled with broken tiles,
mortar, long iron nails, and bones and teeth of the pig, red-deer,
roebuck, ass or pony, calf, lamb, and wolf or hound. Originally, perhaps,
it was a water tank, and later served as a rubbish pit for the house. With
these remains we may connect a small cemetery found a century earlier,
about a quarter of a mile to the north (p. 145).10
7. BEXLEY.—Foundations are said to have been found
near Watling Street in the north of this parish on the edge of a stream,
opposite St. John’s iron church and close to Crayford railway station.
7 Arch. Cant. xxiii,
12, 13. Brit. Arch. Assoc. Journ. iv, 1849, 81—82. Rochester
Naturalist, vi, 130, p. 53.
8 Wright in Arch. Journ. i, 1844,
264, and Wanderings of an Antiquary (1854), 179; Charles in Arch.
xxx, 536, and Gents. Mag., 1842,1, 532; Brit. Arch. Assoc.
Journ. iv, 1849, 82; xii, 1816, 236; Numis. Chron. i, 1838, 84;
xv, 1852, 59 (hoard); Arch. Cant. ix, xxxv (urns in Museum). For
the cordoned pre-Roman urns, see Arch. lii, 350, and Bushe-Fox, Late
Celtic Urn-field at Swarling (Soc. Antiq. Research Rep. 1925), pp. 17—18,
and for the British coins, C. R. Smith, Collect. Ant., i, 6, p1. v,
6, 7; Evans, Brit. Coins, pl. C, 13, p. 122; pl. iv, 3, p.
197 (now in the Ashmolean Museum); pl. xiii, 12, p. 354. Inf. from Mr. H.
8 Account by the Rev. M. Noble, vicar of
Barming in 1797, printed in C. R. Smith, Coll. Ant. i, 190. The
remains were noted later by Beale Poste, but not explored, ibid. i, 201.
Most of them appear to have been destroyed. For the walled cemetery, see
Topographical Index (p. 145).
10 Payne, Arch. Cant. xiii, 169.