KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 87   1972 page 130

Rochester East Gate, 1969. By A. C. Harrison, B.A., F.S.A.

have been at the point where the ditch stops, but no evidence for this was found and the rampart certainly continued past the end of the ditch. It is true that this need not have been a large overlap and also true that the nineteenth-century Mathematical School building could well have removed all trace of a roadway (it will be remembered that only 5 ft. remained of the ditch, originally at least 8 ft. deep), but the fact remains that, at present, the only evidence for an entrance here is the fact that the ditch came to an end at this point. It is also quite clear that the Phase II wall did not have its entrance where the Phase I ditch ended. The Roman masonry was found unbroken on the outside as was the foundation in the small excavation, Trench 10, made inside the wall. The conclusion therefore seems inescapable that the Roman gateway coincided more or less with its medieval successor. The possibilities are discussed in the appendix below, contributed by Mr. A. P. Detsicas, M.A., F.S.A. There is no doubt that the 'lower foundations' on the north side of the High Street, described by Canon Livett,11 which he thought might be part of the Roman gatehouse, were in fact a projecting flange on the fourteenth-century drum-tower, similar to that uncovered to the south.

  
Medieval. The only unexpected point about the 1345 precinct wall was its position, lying as it did over 50 ft. to the south of the High Street, from which it would seem that a strip of land along the line of the road must have come into lay ownership, or at least occupa­tion, by the fourteenth century. (The Saxon charter of 60412 had granted the whole of the south-eastern quadrant of the city to the church of Rochester.) The discovery of the loom-weight kilns inside the monastic precinct is an interesting, if minor, addition to our knowledge of the activities of the Priory. The most important discovery, however, was that of the southern half of the gate-house13 which has enabled this to be planned with a fair degree of certainty (Fig. 5). From this, it is clear that it was a massive building, comparable in size and appearance with the surviving West Gate at Canterbury, a block plan of which is shown for purposes of comparison. From the evidence of the pottery from Pit M7 its construction cannot have been earlier than c. 1300. Thus, the rebuilding both of the gate-house and of the wall between it and the north-eastern corner has been shown to have occurred in the fourteenth century, and it seems reasonable, therefore, to suppose
   11  Arch. Cant., xxi (1895), 52 and pi. III.
   12  Quoted in 'A note on the Mead Way, The Street and Doddinghyrnan in Rochester', by the late Dr. Gordon Ward, M.D., F.S.A.
Arch. Cant'., lxii (1949), 37-44.
   13  Canon Livett's 'strong suspicion that the foundations of the tower on the south side of the gate underlie Mr. Leonard's cellars has been abundantly justified.

Previous page       Back to Page listings       Next page      

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society   click here

Back the Contents page    To Arch. Cant. List   To Publications On-line   To Research Page   To Homepage

Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society 4th July 2012

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
 that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too research@kentarchaeology.org.uk