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Kent Archaeological Review extract

A Medieval Site at Charlton, near Dover.
by John Gaunt.

Quick excavations under difficult conditions by Jack Verrill inside the Dover Engineering Works at Dover have recently produced some interesting information for the parish of Charlton, near Dover (NGR TR 6314 1421).

Workmen excavated a rectangular pit about 3 metres by 2 metres and nearly 2 metres deep through the concrete floor of the foundry. This was only about 20 metres south of the present River Dour, 10 metres north of the old Brook Street and 6 metres east of the old Colebran Street.

Beneath the present surface was a deposit about 1 metre deep of brick rubble and debris which must extend under the adjacent area of the Dover Engineering Works. This sealed a 30 centimetres. layer of brown loam which contained a quantity of material of medieval date. Another 30 centimetres of thick mud-silt was observed beneath this, but water then flooded the excavation.

The material, which has kindly been examined by Mr Brian Philp of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit, included about 200 potsherds, slate, oyster shells, tile and animal meat-bones. The pottery included at least 10 or 12 vessels, mostly flanged-rim cooking-pots or jugs and some of it clearly Tyler Hill ware. The slate is grey and similar to that from certain medieval contexts at Dover. The whole deposit probably dates from the 13th or 14th centuries.

The material must represent domestic rubbish discarded from nearby houses, probably into the bed of the actual river. Charlton is recorded as Cerlentone in the Domesday Survey of 1086, when it was held by Ralf de St Sansone and assessed at 1 sulung. There were three villeins and four borders with one plough. The site is about 230 metres south of the present parish church but the original church was about 15 metres nearer the river and thus nearer the site. The medieval village was about 1,000 metres north west of the centre of ancient Dover, on the London Road, but it was swamped by Dover during the great 19th-century urban expansion. The probability is that it dates back to at least late-Saxon times.

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