Eight and a quarter miles west
of Rochester the Watling Street crosses the valley of the
Ebbsfleet, a small stream which flows into the Thames at
Northfleet, near Gravesend. The crossing is best identified by
the name of a neighbouring farmhouse, Springhead ; it lies on
the edge of the parishes of Swanscombe and Southfleet. Here
enough evidence has been recorded to indicate the presence of
a village or small town, but details are sadly lacking. Four
or more British coins (one of Cunobelin) are recorded,56
but are, by themselves, insufficient to prove pre-Roman
occupation, and the bulk of the remains are uncompromisingly
Roman. In 1814 remains of baths were found beside the stream
and afterwards covered by the cottage or lodge which stands on
the north side of the road immediately west of the Ebbsfleet.57
1844, and subsequently, the lines of walls
have been detected during the summer in the dried grass,
particularly in the fields on the south side of the road, to
the west of the railway.58 In 1864 part of a
Roman building with two-foot walls of flint-rubble 'with a few
bonding tiles ‘ was excavated in a field belonging, to a Mr.
Edward Colyer, adjoining ‘ the Sole Field ‘ and the road.59
Previously, in 1845, a mass of cemented
flint-work had been found close to the road in Sole Field
itself, and similarly vague discoveries are noted elsewhere in
the vicinity.60 Some of these for example, a small
‘ tile arch ‘ found and
56 R. Smith, Coll.
Antiq. i, 6 ; p1. v, 9, 10 ; H. Ross, Arch. Journ. xxii,
57 Dunkin, Springhead Memo. 1848,
58 C. R. Smith, ibid. p.110 ; G.
Arnold, Arch Cant. xviii, 177 ff.
59 Arch. Journ. xxii, 63.
60 J, Dunkin, Springhead
Memo., 1848, pp. 138—144.