Link to printer-friendly page

It should not be assumed that this site is publicly accessible and it may be on private property. Do not trespass.

Monument details

HER Number:TR 15 NW 264
Type of record:Monument
Name:Dane John Mound, Canterbury


Roman barrow cemetery with possible Bronze Age origins. Only one survives as an earthwork. This was enlarged for use as a medieval motte and bailey and a windmill mound. It was also used as a Civil War gun emplacement and incorporated into a public garden after 1790.

Grid Reference:TR 6149 1574
Map Sheet:TR61NW

Monument Types

Associated Finds

  • AXE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument KENT 44

Full description

If you do not understand anything on this page please contact us.

[A - TR 14775736] Danejohn Mound [NR]. (1) A - TR 14775736 : B - TR 14695726 : C - TR 14865732 : D - TR 15045753 Sited from map (4) full description and history (2) (4). Four Roman barrows (3), called Dungil Hills, or Dane John of which only one, the Danejohn (A) remains in a mutilated state (known 17th - 18thc as Donjon: Dungeon: Dungil). In 1790, when the area was turned into a public park, this was smoothed and rounded and raised 18' in height. A ditch, which was filled in, encircled two-thirds of the base, and suggests a possible adaption as a Norman motte. During the Civil War the mound was a gun platform and at one time a windmill stood on it (4). A late Bronze Age socketed axe was found in barrow 'B'. Apart from this all the finds from these barrows appear to be Roman or later (2). Scheduled (5). (2-5) The Danejohn Mound (A) is as described; published 1:1250 Survey correct. A broad unsurveyable platform surmounted by a building at 'C' is the only other surviving remains of the group. (6) (TR 14735745 sited from CAT plan). Excavations took place in 1981 prior to redevelopment on the site of the old City Council offices at 15A Dane John. The site was situated immediately adjacent to the west side of Dane Gardens, about 100m. north of the Dane John mound. Extensive later disturbance had removed all but a few Roman deposits. The next major archaeological phase consisted of part of a large ditch, 17m wide, 3m deep and was probably part of the outer bailey ditch for the early Norman motte and bailey castle - the present Dane John mound probably being the site of the motte. In the late 12th or 13th century, the bailey defences were probably razed and the ditch partially backfilled. A number of features, including pits, wells and small ditches, were then dug in the area. The features were later truncated and disturbed. The partly backfilled bailey ditch was re-cut at this time with a channel at the sump. This new ditch, which may have been an open running sewer, might be the predecessor of the 'Black Ditch' or 'Black Dyke', which documentary sources describe as being an open sewer, extant in this vicinity until the eighteenth century. The re-cut bailey ditch was progressively backfilled and virtually levelled by the sixteenth century. The area then became a garden throughout the 17th century and towards the end of this period part of the slope of the area was terraced and a trackway constructed. In the 18th century levelling up and terracing occurred. In 1790 the 'Dane John land' of which the area covered by the site was part, was leased by the City Alderman James Simmons, who undertook to level the site and landscape the entire gardens. This landscaping was still in progress in the early 19th century. From around this time a large amount of dumping occurred on site, raising the level by about one metre. These deposits were cut by the foundations of Shakespeare's Terrace (Nos 12-15 Dane John) constructed at some time in the 1840's, and by a boundry wall and brick-lined well. Sealing all of these features was a thick layer of 20th century dump deposits, over which lay the shallow foundations of the recent City Council offices. (7) Additional bibliography. (8-9)

In 1996 a survey of the mound was carried out. It appears that the mound has survived very much at it would have been when the formal garden was laid out. There are areas of erosion which are a problem and will only get worse.(10)

<1> OS 2500 11/5 (OS Card Reference). SKE48290.

<2> VCH Kent 3 1932 75-6 78 map (REM Wheeler) (OS Card Reference). SKE51129.

<3> Antiquity 10 1936 50-1 (GC Dunning & RF Jessup) (OS Card Reference). SKE33290.

<4> Arch J 86 1930 272-5 map 235 (G Home) (OS Card Reference). SKE36739.

<5> AM England & Wales 1961 59 (MOW) (OS Card Reference). SKE33020.

<6> F1 CFW 05-FEB-65 (OS Card Reference). SKE42436.

<7> The Arch of Cant 8 1987 160-180 (S Frere P Bennett J Rady and S Stow) (OS Card Reference). SKE49984.

<8> The Arch of Cant; An Assessment 1985 124 137 184-85 (G Andrews) (OS Card Reference). SKE50014.

<9> D Cathcart King, 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (OS Card Reference). SKE38603.

<10> Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 1996, Recent work at the Dane John garden. Survey of condition of the Dane John Mound and exposure of the surviving footings of the entrance at the Wincheap Gate (Unpublished document). SKE11984.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 2500 11/5.
<2>OS Card Reference: VCH Kent 3 1932 75-6 78 map (REM Wheeler).
<3>OS Card Reference: Antiquity 10 1936 50-1 (GC Dunning & RF Jessup).
<4>OS Card Reference: Arch J 86 1930 272-5 map 235 (G Home).
<5>OS Card Reference: AM England & Wales 1961 59 (MOW).
<6>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 05-FEB-65.
<7>OS Card Reference: The Arch of Cant 8 1987 160-180 (S Frere P Bennett J Rady and S Stow).
<8>OS Card Reference: The Arch of Cant; An Assessment 1985 124 137 184-85 (G Andrews).
<9>OS Card Reference: D Cathcart King. 1983. Castellarium Anglicanum.
<10>XYUnpublished document: Canterbury Archaeological Trust. 1996. Recent work at the Dane John garden. Survey of condition of the Dane John Mound and exposure of the surviving footings of the entrance at the Wincheap Gate. [Mapped feature: #43811 mound, ]