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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 69  1955  page 39


   Some Roman family had early appreciated the situation and had built a villa close by the site of the present church.1 It was Lyminge which was chosen as a suitable place to which Queen Ethelburga could retire after the death of her husband, King Edwin of Northumbria in A.D. 6332 and she was given permission to found a nunnery there by her brother, King Eadbald of Kent3 . The probable remains of Queen Ethelburga’s church, a simple basilican structure with apsidal end, lie just to the south of the modern church. Much Roman material was incorporated into the Saxon and later churches.
   Not only was Lyminge thus religiously and politically dignified in the seventh century A.D. but it was also, apparently, a place of some industrial significance also. In A.D. 689 King Oswin of Kent granted Adrian, Abbott and the Abbey of St. Peter, Canterbury, an iron mine near Lyminge.4 This grant has puzzled students of the industrial history of the Weald5 for Lyminge is far removed from the conventional iron bearing deposits of the area. Considerable amounts of iron-stone would seem to be obtainable from Pliocene deposits which cap the chalk of the high downland to the east and west of the Elham Valley in the Lyminge area.
   The place-name ending inge is generally taken to be indicative of an early Saxon settlement. There is, however, no bulk of material so far recovered from the Lyminge cemetery which confirms an unusually early date for a settlement in the

area. The general inference from the discussion of finds above is that most of them were being buried during the middle and later part of the sixth century A.D. As a group the Lyminge finds stand half-way between the undoubtedly early finds from Bifrons 6 and Faussett’s Kingston Down and other finds. The absence of cruciform brooches on one hand and Style 2 zoomorphic decoration and its associated ornamental features on the other, confirm the positive evidence from the buckles and cloisonné-set jewellery in favour of the above mentioned date. It is known from literary evidence that Lyminge was a place of importance in seventh century Jutish Kent. If the cemetery site is to be connected with that village (it must be remembered that the cemetery could have served settlements at Sibton Park and Ottinge as well) then this importance can now be projected back to the sixth century.
In the latter part of the sixth century King Ethelbert of Kent took a

   1. V.C.H. Kent, Vol. III, p. 121
   2. Bede, Ecc. Hist., II,20.
   3. Hist. Mon. St. Aug. (Roll series), 176.
   4. Birch, Cartularium Saxonicum, I,p. 107, no. 73.
   5. V.C.H. Kent, Vol. III, p. 384.
   6. Particularly that part of the Bifrons Collection formerly housed at Bifrons House and now recently presented to the Collections of the Kent Archaeological Society at Maidstone Museum by Major F.W. Tomlinson.

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