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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 75 SW 8
Type of record:Monument
Name:East Farleigh Roman Villa

Summary

In 1838 the foundations of a Roman building were uncovered at East Farleigh in a field called Combe Town. It was noted that other foundations had been removed 9 years earlier. A copper coin with the head of the Emperor Florianus who died in AD 276 was also found.

In 1938 foundations were uncovered during the cutting away of a bank in a field at Combe Street. No large scale excavation was possible but it was reported that a large part of the site had been previously destroyed. Tile fragments were found but no pottery.

The field, now called The Coombes, became a hop garden which has recently been cleared. Maidstone Area Archaeology Group is currently doing an excavation of the site.

Summary from record MKE79671:

Portable Antiquities Scheme find - copper alloy hoard


Grid Reference:TQ 72704 53606
Map Sheet:TQ75SW
Parish:EAST FARLEIGH, MAIDSTONE, KENT

Monument Types

  • VILLA (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • Hoard (Roman - 355 AD to 355 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COIN (Roman - 276 AD to 276 AD)
  • COIN HOARD (Roman - 355 AD to 355 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 364 AD? to 378 AD?)
Protected Status:Selected Heritage Inventory for Natural England: A Roman building, probably part of a villa was discovered in 1838 and again in 1938. The probable site is indicated by a slight earthwork platform with a slight concentration of Roman brick fragments, stone and tile.

Full description

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TQ 72865362 ROMAN BUILDING (R) (Site of) (NAT) (1)

"The foundations of a Roman Villa were discovered in March 1838, in the western part of the parish (East Farleigh) in a field called Combe Town, belonging to I H Lewis, Esq. not far from the Medway. A measurement of these was taken as far as they could be followed, and as they were traced nearly in the direction of other foundations which were removed about nine years since, it is supposed the whole were originally connected in one building, and formed an extensive villa, in a quadrangular shape. A copper coin, in fine preservation, with the head of the Emperor Florianus, who died AD 276, was also at the same time found". (2)

In December 1938, Romano-British foundations were uncovered during the cutting away of a bank in a field at Coombe Street, East Farleigh; lat 51 degrees, 15 feet, 12 inches, long 0 degrees, 28 feet, 40 inches East ("B" - TQ 72945345). No considerable excavations were possible, but it could be seen that a large part of the site had been destroyed at some previous date. Numerous tile fragments were found, but no pottery. It seems certain that this is the same site as that referred to by Smith, 1839. (3)

The field, now called "The Coombes", is a hop garden on a steep slope above the south bank of the Medway. Fisher on the Museum 6" (a) sites the building at TQ 72885358, "A", probably more accurate than the siting "B" in his article (3), and confirmed by the farmer of the land who pointed out a slight platform closely approximating to "A", where a slight concentration of Roman brick fragments, stone and tile, is visible, and where brickwork is turned up by the plough. There is nothing to be seen at "B", and the farmer could offer no information on this site. A copper coin of Valens found in 1960 near site "A" is now in Maidstone Museum. (4)

Since 2005 the Maidstone Area Archaeological Group has been excavating on the site. The first building found, via a resistivity survey, was 29m by 15m and consisted of three rooms surrounded by a 4m wide corridor, it dated from the mid 3rd century. Four further buildings were found on the site in subsequent years. These appeared to be non-domestic and one included a workshop with a hearth 2m in diameter. Building 5 is 13m by 11.5m and consists of two rooms surrounded on three sides by a 2.5m wide corridor. Painted plaster survives on one external face. It was probably built around AD 250 and went through a number of phases, ending life as a bakery in the late fourth century. (7)

Description from record MKE79671:
153 AE nummi to AD 355 BM ref.: 2010 T507

Circumstances of discovery

This hoard of mid fourth century irregular nummi (and one regular nummus) was discovered in the course of controlled excavation by Maidstone Area Archaeological Group, during August 2010. All are context number 247; the SF numbers of those with discernable detail are given in the footnotes.

The smallest 'minims' as these forgeries are sometimes called (without ancient warrant) carry no visible detail but some of the larger specimens show the stock scene of the soldier spearing the fallen horseman; indicating the typical 'barbarous' nummi of the AD 350s. Regular issues of 'fallen horsemen' were produced from AD 348 up to AD 355 but it is certainly possible that the irregular copies of the type were made after this date. There is also an example each of copies of earlier Constantinian types of the AD 330s; the two soldiers with two standards ('GLORIA EXERCITVS') and the Constantinopolis commemorative type with Victory on prow reverse. Another Constantinian commemorative type of the AD 330s appears to be the sole regular issue in the hoard (Urbs Roma with wolf and twins reverse).

Archaeological background by Albert Daniels (director, M.A.A.G.)

The Maidstone Area Archaeological Group have been carrying out a research excavation on a group of Roman buildings at Lower Gallants Farm , Lower Road, East Farleigh, Maidstone, Kent, for five years.

Remains of five buildings have been located. The last two years have been spent excavating Building number 5, which consists of two adjacent rooms 4.6 m x 4.6 m which lie east / west. These rooms are surrounded on the north, east and south sides by a 2.3 m wide corridor. Construction is believed to have taken place in the early third century. The original use of the building is still being investigated. It has been proposed that the building is a temple. Coin evidence indicates that the building was demolished around 400 A.D. when it was being used as a large kitchen. The west room in which the coin hoard was found had had a 450mm diameter quern stone built in to the floor. The North West corner contained a stoke hole like furnace which may have heated a cauldron. The hoard was located in a charcoal rich matrix between stones placed to fill a hollow in the floor where clay had been extracted probably to provide the daub to construct a small oven near-by.

The east room contained the remains of a 1.2 m diameter bread oven and two other ovens, one of which had been rebuilt. The floor contained a large mound of ash, charcoal and loam. An adjacent building (building 3) which was 28 m x 8 m was built of ragstone with tile bonded corners. This contained a 2 m diameter hearth and is interpreted as being a workshop.

A room in the SE corner of the kitchen corridor by the entrance door had a mortared floor and plastered walls with a moulded quadrant at the floor/wall junction. The outside of the west wall was rendered, painted and decorated. The west end of the north corridor was plastered and contained a small alcove which served as a fire place.

Disposition

With site archive.

Summary

Trier Lyon Arles Other Uncertain Total

Mid-Constantinian:

AD 330-35 - 1 - - - 1

Fel Temp, AD 350s

Irregular >10mm - - - - 26 26

Irregular 5-9mm - - - - 53 53

Irregular
Date: from 355 AD
Broad Period:
Method of manufacture: Struck or hammered
Completeness: Complete
OS GridRef: TQ7254753591
Easting: 572547
Northing: 153591
Methods of discovery: Metal detector
Recorded by: Jennifer Jackson
Primary Identifier: Richard Abdy
Subsequent action: Returned to finder
County: KENT
District: MAIDSTONE
Parish: EAST FARLEIGH
Known as: East Farleigh


<1> OS Card / NAR index entry, OS 6" 1970 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<2> OS Card / NAR index entry, Topography of Maidstone 1839 57 plan (J Smith) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<3> OS Card / NAR index entry, Arch Cant 51 1939 204 (C E Fisher) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<4> OS Card / NAR index entry, Maidstone Museum Arch 6" (C E Fisher) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<5> OS Card / NAR index entry, F1 CFW 07.02.64 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<6> Field report for monument TQ 75 SW 8 - February, 1964 (Bibliographic reference). SKE3988.


<7> Albert Daniels, 2012, East Farleigh Roman buildings, Kent Archaeological Review 187 & 188: 179-183 (Article in serial). SKE25109.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. OS 6" 1970.
<2>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Topography of Maidstone 1839 57 plan (J Smith).
<3>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Arch Cant 51 1939 204 (C E Fisher).
<4>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Maidstone Museum Arch 6" (C E Fisher).
<5>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. F1 CFW 07.02.64.
<6>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 75 SW 8 - February, 1964.
<7>Article in serial: Albert Daniels. 2012. East Farleigh Roman buildings. KAR 187 & 188: 179-183. Kent Archaeological Review 187 & 188: 179-183.
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