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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Fawkham Archaeological Group.

With the kind permission and support of the Rector, the Rev A Ford, the Fawkham Archaeological Group have now completed the second season's excavations to the East of the Church. During this season the size of the main hall has been established and this measures approximately 46 feet by 29 feet overall, the walls of which are 3 feet 6 inches thick and constructed of flints in extremely hard lime mortar. In all cases the walls have been robbed down to the foundation courses, but sufficient evidence remains for the outlines of buttresses and other allied features to be traced without undue difficulty.

Apart from the main hall, there have so far been uncovered two attached outbuildings, the extent of both of these having been fully ascertained, the walls of which are again of flint and well mortared construction, being 2 feet 6 inches and 2 feet thick respectively. From the amount of ragstone chippings on the site and several insitu stones, it is obvious that the corners were squared off with ragstone and chalk blocks in many cases to assist in bonding and appearance. Traces of moulded ragstone have also been unearthed which would seem to indicate that ragstone was also used for door and window dressings. All the above buildings were so soundly constructed that it is beyond doubt that masonry extended to the full height and this conclusion is borne out by the illustration in Thorpe's Custumale Roffense, 1788, which shows what we take to be the ruins of the main hall as existing at that time.

The pitched roof was of clay tiles, the main hall being gable ended. It is impossible to ascertain the construction of the roofs to the outbuildings, but it is most likely that these were also tiled and pitched. Within the main hall there was a notable absence of an occupational floor level and, as this is stepped in at least two levels, it would seem to indicate that possibly the main hall was of two storey construction and the lowest level, which we have uncovered, is the cellar floor. Future excavations, however, should clarify this point.

Generally, the main block was perfectly symmetrically built, measurements differing only by a few inches and only one wall of one of the attached outbuildings has been built out of square.

Apart from the foregoing, there are indications of at least two and perhaps three detached outbuildings, all of which align, at right angles, with the main block, the largest of these has an overall length of 38 feet by unknown width and cuts into the modern graveyard. From this area the largest amount of pottery, bone and other occupational debris has been recovered and it is suggested that this building may have been the detached kitchen of the Manor House.

Generally, there has been a paucity of finds on the site, but sufficient sherds have been recovered to enable us to reconstruct the major outline of one jug and two cooking vessels. It is hoped that in the future season at least one rubbish pit will be revealed, which will furnish us with valuable dating evidence. For the moment we can only say that a rough occupational dating of the site can be put at from 1250-1350.

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