enough to the social prominence of the family owning the
estate.30 That the villa owes its inception to the
proximity of Roman Rochester is likely, though it is not
possible to prove as not enough is so far known of Rochester's
history or social organisation. Likewise, it is impossible to
prove, at present, any direct links between the Eccles villa
and other buildings in its immediate hinterland, e.g. the
building at Snodland37 and the Holborough mausoleum38
immediately opposite the Eccles villa on the west bank of the
Medway, the buildings39 at Burham and in the
village of Eccles, the latter barely half a mile from the
villa; excavation alone may settle this point. In the
meantime, it is difficult to believe,, on purely economic
grounds, that the large Eccles baths did not cater for the
inhabitants of these other buildings; such a link would not
only help to explain the size of the Eccles baths40 but
also stress the implied social pre-eminence of the villa and
confirm it as the focal point of the area between the town of
Rochester and the presumed settlement at Maidstone.
Little can be said at present about the economic
background of the Eccles villa as the excavation has not
progressed sufficiently far to allow for serious suggestions.
On the other hand, it should be possible, within the next
season or two of work at the site, to complete the northeast
range of rooms and to begin the examination of the south-east
wing41 where it is probable that workshops and farm
outbuildings, dating from the second to the fifth centuries
A.D., are to be found.
As no break in the occupation of the villa can be detected, it
is presumed that it remained in the possession of the same
37 Arch. Cant., lxxix (1967),
38 Ibid., lviii (1945), 68-72.
39 None of these buildings has been
methodically examined; for Burham, of. Arch. Cant,. xxiii
(1898), 10 and xxxiv (1920), 165.
40 As Mr. C. E. Stevens put it 'the
site at Eccles ... seems to have more bath space than is good
for a normal villa' (C. Thomas (Ed.), Rural Settlement in
Roman Britain, 1966, 123.)
41 Known from air photography and
ground observation of crop-marks; cf. Arch. Cant., lxxviii (1963),