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Victoria County History of Kent Vol. 3  1932 - Romano-British Kent - Towns - Page 93

in the 2nd Iter of the Antonine Itinerary, where it is stated to be nine Roman miles on the London side of Rochester (Durobrivae). This works well for Springhead, but the problem is complicated by the difficulty of interpreting the route thence to London. Between the two places the Itinerary inserts the unidentified ‘Noviomagus,’ which is alleged to be 10 miles from London and 18 miles from Springhead. The latter is, as it happens, the direct distance of London itself from Springhead; and it is clear that, if the text of the Itinerary is here free from corruption, the route chosen is by no means a direct one. Under the circumstances the identification of Springhead with ‘Vagniacae’ must remain probable rather than certain.67


   From Faversham Church westwards to the foundations of the Saxon chapel of Stone, a strip of country about a mile and three-quarters long and a mile in width has proved rich in Roman remains. Diagonally across this strip runs the Watling Street which, in conjunction with the proximity of several minor tributaries of the Swale, was doubtless their primary raison d’ętre. Beneath the churchyard at Faversham itself foundations of Roman buildings have been observed on the north side of the nave and the south side of the chancel, whilst urns and coins were brought to light in 1794,68  when the western tower was taken down. Previously, in 1755, a Roman altar and many Roman bricks had been discovered when the central tower was demolished.69  Elsewhere in Faversham indications of a Roman building—a chalk floor, flanged tiles, potsherds, etc.—have been found in a field east of Clap gate; whilst in Thorn Mead Field, near Faversham Abbey, an urn containing burnt bones and covered by a tile on which was an armlet was discovered in 1862.70  Again, at Davington Hill at and near the Powder Mills, a Roman cemetery containing upwards of twenty urns was observed in 1770 ; whilst other burials have been noted in gravel pits between Davington Hill and Bysing Road.71   In the adjoining parish of Oare, two sites have produced further burials. In Church Field, about 20 yds. from and parallel with the road leading to the Sheppey Ferry, near Pheasant Farm, a number of groups of pottery associated with cremation-burials was found in 1838; in connection with them are noted Samian vessels bearing the stamps of the late 1st-century potters Crucuro, Martialis, Secundus and Ruffus. Some of these burials are now in the Canterbury Museum.72  The second cemetery was found in 1844 in Moor Field or Broom Field, a few hundred yards west of the first, and appears to have been of similar date.73  A little further north, at Uplees Farm, more cinerary urns were dug up in 187174  Further south, between Ospringe Parsonage and the Brook, more burials are said to have been found long ago, and discoveries in 1770 of other Roman urns and coins are recorded from the vicinity of the 48th and 49th milestones on the Watling Street.75
   67  For the names Vagniacae and Noviomagus, see F. Haverfield, V.C.H. Surrey. iv, 347.
   68  Gent. Mag. ii, 554. (July, 1799).        69  Jacob, Hist. of Faversham (1774), P. 39
   70  Reliquary xiii, 144; for another cremation burial see Proc. Soc. Antiq. ser. ii, vi, 380.
   71  Jacob, op. cit. p. 3 : Hasted, op. cii. ii, 728; Gough’s Camden (1806), i, 342; Reliq. xiii, 142.
   72  Arch xxix, 221.                                  73  Reliquary, xiii, 143.
   74  Arch. Cant. ix, lxxii.                         75  Gough in his ed. of Camden, Brit. (1806) i, 359 hence Arch.
ix, lxxii; Reliq. xiii, 144, makes two finds of one.

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