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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 127   2007 page 439

Book Reviews

Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology at Rochester. Edited by T. Ayers and T. Tatton-Brown. 321pp. 4 colour plates, numerous plans, diagrams and b/w photographs. BAA Conference Transactions xxviii, Leeds, 2006. (Paperback, n.p.)

Rochester has long been seen as the poorer sister to Kent’s rather more famous cathedral city of Canterbury. However, behind the bustling nineteenth- and twentieth-century façade of modern Rochester lies a wealth of fascinating medieval material. The closely juxtaposed cathedral and castle which are such prominent landmarks from both road and rail approaches have long deserved proper recognition and study, and so this, the latest of the British Archaeological Association’s well-known series of Conference Transactions, is surely long overdue and will be warmly welcomed.
   The volume contains a series of well-written and wide-ranging articles about the history, architecture and archaeology of Rochester. While naturally focusing on the medieval period, topics such as its Roman origins and a study of the ubiquitous nineteenth-century archaeologist, William St John Hope, who wrote a seminal study of Rochester in 1900, add to the volume’s scope and appeal. There is also a valuable survey of the later medieval parish church of All Saints, Maidstone, towards the end. The list of contributors reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of medieval cultural studies, with well-known contributors such as Nicholas Brooks and Tim Tatton-Brown, the medieval decorative ironwork specialist Jane Geddes, and Peter Draper (author of the newly-published The Formation of English Gothic: Architecture and Identity) to name but a few. It is particularly welcome to see both sacred and secular subjects addressed within the same cover, and there are surveys describing the building stones, medieval topography and the Great Tower at Rochester Castle by Bernard Worssam, Jeremy Ashbee and John Goodall respectively. Likewise, the discussion of the episcopal and civic seals of Rochester by John Cherry with its set of large, clear illustrations will be a welcome addition to the literature on this often-neglected subject.
   The cathedral naturally takes the limelight, and its many eccentricities and puzzling aspects are explored in depth. Anyone who has struggled to

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