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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 83 SW 6
Type of record:Monument
Name:Paved Roman Ford, near Stream Farm, Benenden


The remains of a paved Roman ford are located near Stream Farm. The stones have been identifed as of a type previously unknown in this country. They are of a substantial size and were much displaced. During excavations in 1980-1983 it was established that the area had been greatly damaged during tree re-growth and bridge renovation. There is also evidence that on several occasions the stones had been removed for secondary use as road stone, yard making, and door slabs. The stones have now been reburied. As the paved area crosses the Roman road at Iden Green it has been tentatively suggested that it was used as a pedestrian causeway next to the Roman road.

Grid Reference:TQ 8012 3225
Map Sheet:TQ83SW

Monument Types

  • FORD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD (between))
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1005162: Paved ford crossing the line of the Roman road at Iden Green

Full description

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[TQ 8013 3225] Paved Roman Ford [R] (1)

Roman paved ford. Width of stones in situ on north side of stream 18ft. 9 inches. Wooden post lying horizontally 20 inches under top surface of paving on north side. Thickness of stones 5-6 inches. Width of paving north and south 12ft. 9 inches. (2)

At Stream Farm, Iden Green, Crawford found "a pavement of large, roughly squared, stone blocks which formed the bed of a paved ford on the road R.R.13 a type found in other parts of the Roman Empire but believed by him to be the only one of its kind in this country. The stream has long since cut its bed to a level several feet below the paving, and this can be seen "out-cropping", as it were, in the bank, but is much overgrown. An old boundary stone planted in the pavement in much later times to mark the junction of three Hundreds helps to identify the spot". The stones are of substantial size, 5-7 inches thick and from 17 by 11 inches to 34 by 22 inches in the area. (3)

The paved ford crossing the line of the Roman road at Iden Green, Beneneden, is scheduled as an ancient monument. (4)

The ford is as described above. (5)

[TQ 8013 3225 - sited from excavation plan - see illustration card.) By 1980 most of the paving-stones visible were lying in the stream. It is not unlikely that others had been furtively removed to serve as doorsteps and in gateways. A Benenden resident recalls by name a farmer who carted away at least one load of paving stones to break up for road and yard making. Towards the end of 1979, it was recognised that the Iden Green Tree growth and bridge renovation had seriously damaged the ford. Excavations between 1980-83 confirmed that the area approaching the ford had been much damaged in post-Roman times. None of the original stones were recovered from the stream bed and were reburied in Area II (see illustration card). As to the original use of these much displaced paving stones, it is tentatively suggested that they may have served as pedestrian causeways on the upstream side of the road- like part of the ford used by carts, railways, riders and animals. Such a construction would strengthen the crossing in times of spate. The author suggests an alternative route to Margary for the course of the Roman road. (6)

[TQ 801 323] Scheduled listing Kent 94. (7)

From the Register of Scheduled Monuments:

Pavement of large squared sandstone blocks extending N from the bank of the stream along edge of a disused green lane in front of Stream Farm. Pavement can be seen outcropping in the N bank of the stream but the paved surface is now grass covered and can be felt with probing. An ancient hundred boundary stone has been planted in the pavement, one stone of which was lifted to make room for it and lies beside the boundary stone.
Ground surrounding this crossing part of a very small stream has been poached by cattle and no paved road area can be discovered. No grass survives. The ford itself consists of two or three flat slabs of stone on the bed of the stream and in its west bank at a point where it is little more than a ditch. The hundred boundary stone is still in situ. There was no sign of any other stone beside it in the surrounding mud.
Slabs of stone are visible both in the bed of this narrow stream and in the W and E banks. On the W side of the stream there is evidence of a small scale excavation undertaken by Benenden School and supervised by a Miss Cecily Lebon. The narrow slit trenches are still open and part water filled and broken brick are lying around. Parts of three large stones are visible in the bottom of the trench. (9)

From the NHLE:
Summary of Monument

Roman paved ford, 154m ESE of Stream Cottage
Reasons for Designation

A ford is a shallow place in a river or other stretch of water, where people, animals and vehicles may cross. Fords were sometimes paved in the Roman period to aid the crossing of pedestrians, horses and carts. There are few known examples of surviving paved fords in Britain, although many more have been identified elsewhere across the Roman Empire. Paved fords are significant component features of Roman roads. Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath modern roads.

Despite some damage and removal of stones in the past, the Roman paved ford 154m ESE of Stream Cottage survives comparatively well. It is a rare survival of its type in Britain. The paved ford is a significant representative of Roman civil engineering skill involved in the construction of Roman roads, and will contain aracheological information and environmental evidence relating to the paved ford and the landscape in which it was constructed.

See Details

This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the remains of a Roman paved ford crossing a stream on the course of a Roman road. It is situated at the foot of a stream valley near Stream Farm, NNW of Iden Green on the High Weald.

The Roman ford is built of large, roughly squared, sandstone blocks and is about 4m wide. The stones are about 0.1m to 0.2m thick and range in size; the smallest being about 0.4m by 0.3m in area and the largest 0.9m by 0.6m. In the mid 20th century a wooden post was recorded lying horizontally under the top surface of paving on the north side. A hundred boundary stone has been inserted in the pavement at a later date.

The ford was partially excavated in 1935 and 1980-3. Some stones have been removed for secondary use in the past. As the paved area crosses the Roman road at Iden Green it has been suggested that it was used as a pedestrian causeway next to the Roman road.(10)

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<2> Rec 6" (OGS Crawford undtd) (OS Card Reference). SKE49062.

<3> Ro Roads in Brit 1 1955 39-40 (ID Margary) (OS Card Reference). SKE49277.

<4> AM Eng and Wales 1958 46 (OS Card Reference). SKE33012.

<5> F1 ASP 15-FEB-63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42118.

<6> Arch Cant 101 1984 69-81 illust (C Lebon) (OS Card Reference). SKE34599.

<7> DOE(IAM) SAMS 1988 Kent 25 (OS Card Reference). SKE41455.

<8> Field report for monument TQ 83 SW 6 - February, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4339.

<9> English Heritage, Register of Scheduled Monuments (Scheduling record). SKE16191.

<10> Historic England, National Heritage List for England (Index). SKE29372.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: Rec 6" (OGS Crawford undtd).
<3>OS Card Reference: Ro Roads in Brit 1 1955 39-40 (ID Margary).
<4>OS Card Reference: AM Eng and Wales 1958 46.
<5>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 15-FEB-63.
<6>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 101 1984 69-81 illust (C Lebon).
<7>OS Card Reference: DOE(IAM) SAMS 1988 Kent 25.
<8>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 83 SW 6 - February, 1963.
<9>XYScheduling record: English Heritage. Register of Scheduled Monuments. [Mapped feature: #457 ford, ]
<10>Index: Historic England. National Heritage List for England.

Related records

TQ 74 SE 36Parent of: Roman road; Rochester- Maidstone- Hastings (Monument)