understand the layout of the east claustral
range and the much-weathered Latin inscription above the
day-stair tympanum (confusingly, mis-labelled as the Night Stair
at the site) will find John McNeill’s survey particularly
helpful. The twelfth-century nave and west doorway are worthy of
study in their own right, and the studies of the early Gothic
east end and west transept by Peter Draper and Jennifer
Alexander are certain to fuel discussion for many years to come.
Overall, questions of date, style and patronage naturally remain
uppermost, although the contributors have taken care to place
their findings within a wider cultural context. Each of the
sections, arranged in a loose chronological sequence, is lucidly
written, generously illustrated and fully referenced, making the
volume suitable for the armchair reader, student and expert
alike. The volume, a handy size for study, is presented in an
attractive softback cover in blue with a neat eighteenth-century
Overall, there is little one could criticise. The
reviewer would have preferred the ground-plans to have been
printed in colour, to make them easier to follow (as indeed St
John Hope did in 1900); however, one is left with the clear
impression that many of the photographs and diagrams have been
specially commissioned to sit alongside the cutting-edge
research which they accompany. This very readable book is
recommended wholeheartedly, particularly to students: it will
surely be essential reading for those interested in local
history, and it deserves a place on the shelf of anyone
interested in medieval art and architecture.
Townwall Street, Dover, Excavations 1996. By
Keith Parfitt, Barry Corke and John Cotter. 460 pp. 240 figs. The
Archaeology of Canterbury, New Series, vol. III, 2006. Hardback. £25.
From Heritage Marketing and Publications Limited, Hill Farm, Unit F,
Castle Acre Road, Great Dunham, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE32 2LP. www.heritagemp.com.
ISBN 978-1-870-54505-1. (A full review will appear in the next
In 1996 Canterbury Archaeological Trust excavated a
large site off Townwall Street at Dover, funded by BP Oils UK Ltd. The
site lay outside the main centre of the historic town, below Dover
Castle, about 150m inland from the present seashore. A complex
sequence of medieval and post-medieval buildings was recorded.
Detailed study of the site has provided much important new
information, which greatly enhances our understanding of the medieval
town. The report outlines the history of medieval Dover and then
describes the evolution of the site from initial colonisation, up to
the twentieth century. It focuses on the main period of activity, c.AD
1175-1300, when simple timber buildings were crowded on to an open
beach ridge adjacent to the seashore.