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Offline kyn

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Re: Hartlip Villa
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 23:47:15 »
South Australian 23rd October 1849

The Roman Villa at Hartlipp

At the recent meeting of the Archaeological Association, Mr. Reach Smith reported some further excavations made by Mr. Bland, of Hartlip, Kent, which he R. Price, and other members of the association had recently visited.  He has laid open that portion of the Roman Villa described, but very imperfectly, by Hasted, the Kentish historian, together with several rooms adjoining.  The subterranean apartments are excavated in the chalk soil, and on one side are entered by steps from the solid natural chalk, on the other side by a flight of steps formed of layers of tiles.  The walls of these rooms have been stuccoed and painted white and red.  Altogether the villa is highly interesting, as it is one of the most extensive discovered in this country.  The objects lately found, which were exhibited to the meeting, include many of a singularly curious description.  Among these is a balance constructed upon precisely the same principles as those adopted in the machines now used for weighting letters; a glass goblet embossed with representations of chariot racing and gladiatorial fights, above which are inscriptions which appear to allude to the racers and the combatants; other specimens of coloured glass, and a superb example of a large ornamented Samian vase.  The last relic is richly decorated with a variety of designs among which is the myth of Jupiter and Leda and a figure of Victory crowning a male figure arrayed in a costume resembling that of the Byzantine emperors of the sixth and seventh centuries, a peculiarity which seemed to suggest that the villa had been occupied up to a very late period.  The coins, which descended to Honorious, and a fibula which appeared to be Saxon, seemed to support this opinion.  On the occasion of this examination of the villa, Mr. Bland hospitably entertained a party of gentlemen of the neighbourhood, who had been invited to inspect the remains, including Sir John Tylden, the Rev. Mr. Wilberforce, Dr. Plomley, the Rev. Beale Post, Mr. Clement T. Smythe, Mr. Dunkin, Mr. Douce, and some of the members of the archaeological Association from London.  The liberal manner in which Mr. Bland has preserved these interesting remains should act as an example to other gentlemen, upon whose property such works are often found, and who only regard them to the amount of their market value as building materials.  It is supposed that, during the last few years, the corporation of London have cut to pieces at least thirty Roman villas, equal in interest to that which is being thus rendered available to science by the enlightened spirit of Mr. Bland.

Offline kyn

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Re: Hartlip Villa
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 19:05:01 »
May 31, 1849 The Times

The Roman Villa at Hartlip Further searches made by Mr. Bland have disclosed more apartments, together with some subterranean chambers, which, on one side are reached by a flight of eight steps, each cut out of the natural chalk; these rooms have been stuccoed and coloured red and white.  Among the objects lately discovered during the excavations are a balance in bronze, neatly made, upon the principle of those now in use for weighing letters, with hinges to permit it being carried in a  small and convenient compass; a glass vase ornamented with raised designs, representing chariot races and gladiatorial fights, over which appear the names of the chief charioteers and combatants; and a large bowl of red glazed ware, elaborately ornamented with rich foliage patterns, mythological subjects, and a figure of Victory with a wreath and palm branch, crowning a small figure in a costume resembling that of the Byzantine Imperial garb of the 16th (6th?) and 7th centuries.  The character of this dress is in many respects so marked that it would seem to decide that the villa was occupied even after the Romans had left Britain.  Coins of Honorius are among those discovered, and there is a fibula in speculum metal of a decided Saxon character.  The construction of the hypocausts, and of the general arrangement of the rooms, resemble those of the Roman villas discovered in London during the last 10 or 20 years, all of which, we believe, except that at the coal-exchange, were destroyed as soon as found.  Mr. bland has most liberally preserved those found upon his estate, and rendered them available to science.  On Monday he entertained at his residence a party of the neighbouring gentry and members of the Archaeological Association, of which he is one of the most zealous supporters.

Offline smiffy

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Re: Hartlip Villa
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 20:28:19 »
A bit off-topic, but I've actually just realised that bounding this area there's not only a Roach Street but also a Charles Street and a Smith Street. Seems like more than just a coincidence!

Offline smiffy

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Hartlip Villa
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 17:31:04 »
I only recently realised, after seeing it marked on an OS map, that there is a Roman Villa in Hartlip. The location is just north of the M2, not far from Farthing Corner. Whatever remains is not visible on the surface and there seems to be little information around as to its full layout and extent. It seems to have been first discovered around 1733 in Dane field when part of it was dug out in the hopes of finding treasure. There doesn't seem to have been any kind of systematic survey until one was undertaken in the 1840's by William Bland. A diverse selection of rooms and some finds of pottery and glass were found, thought to date from the 3rd - 4th century. A selection of objects were later presented to Maidstone museum. There is no mention of any mosaics, although it is stated that the walls were plastered and many tiles were scattered around. Whether these were floor or roof tiles I can't determine. There seems to be only one plan of the villa complex ever made, published by C. Roach Smith, which I assume is based upon Bland's excavation. From what I can gather, there has been no further excavation of this site since, which is strange as it seems that, judging by its size, it may have been of some importance.

Incidentally, on doing a bit of research for this I discovered that C. Roach Smith, the famous antiquarian, retired to live in a house known as Temple Place situated in Cuxton Road, Strood. From what I can see this is now Strood Conservative Club and is on the corner of Roach Street, named I would imagine, after the man himself.

 

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