chain found in
1965 may be a pointer here), craftsmen, etc., very early in
the life of the province; if so, this should mean that the
owner of this estate was of considerable social importance and
wealth. Only a person of this description, with obvious philo-Roman
leanings, could wield sufficient influence to be cultivated by
the Romans for their own purposes,28 and possess
the wealth needed for the construction and appointments of the
earliest house and baths—there can have been very few
persons fitting this description in late Iron Age Britain, but
it would be idle to speculate further on this point.
The destruction by fire of the first baths29 seems
to have brought about not only the building of a new
bath-house30 but also some additions to the
dwelling-house itself (Villa II, Period V, c. A.D.
120-180); these consisted of the construction of the
north-west wing of the villa, a small complex of servants'
quarters, and the lengthening and reconstruction of the
fronting corridor of the villa.
The implication of a thriving establishment is further
underlined in the next stage of reconstruction (Villa III,
Period VI, c. A.D.
180-290); a rear corridor was now
added to the house, new servants' rooms and kitchens were
built off the north corner of the building, a new and
substantially larger bath-wing was erected 31
Certainly, this is not 'a period of decay'32 at
Eccles as might be argued for other villas;33 and,
if it can be accepted that the Lullingstone villa may have
been confiscated as a result of its owner's involvement in the
political upheavals of the period 34 one wonders
why the Eccles villa seems to have escaped unscathed.
Moreover, this continued prosperity of the estate was not
affected by the troubled times of the fourth century
(Villa IV, Period VII, c. A.D.
290-400). The rear
corridor was now partitioned into small rooms, a channelled
hypocaust was inserted, other rooms were added;35 nor
was the life of the villa apparently disturbed, let alone
interrupted, by the upheavals of A.D.
367, if the coins
in the hypocaust's furnace are taken into account. On the
other hand, evidence is gradually accumulating that the centre
of gravity of the villa's life may have shifted from the
central range to the unexcavated south-east wing.
The size of the villa, its early foundation and continued
28 It is not impossible that a
military engineer was responsible for the building of this
bath-house; Arch. Cant., lxxix (1964), 135.
29 Arch. Cant. ,lixxx (1966), 85.
Ibid., lxxx (1965), fig. 2.
Ibid., lxxx (1965), fig. 2 and pp. 86-7.
32 A. L. F. Rivet, Town and Country in Roman
Britain, 1968, 108.
33 At Lullingstone and, perhaps, at the Otford
site; there is also a gap in the
coin series at the Folkestone villa, but at a later date.
34 S. S. Frere, op. cit., 275.
35 The plan now recalls the Folkestone villa and,
even more closely, the building
at Farningham examined in recent years (JRS, xxxix