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Historic England Research Records

Regulbium

Hob Uid: 467087
Location :
Kent
Canterbury
Herne Bay
Grid Ref : TR2277069280
Summary : The Reculver Saxon Shore fort, an earlier, temporary Roman military camp and an Iron Age farmstead, situated on a low sandy cliff on the North Kent coast. During the Roman period the sea was around 1.4 kilometres to the north and Reculver occupied the southern tip of a promontory at the end of the Wantsum Channel, an estuarine waterway which separated the Isle of Thanet from the Kent mainland. Coastal erosion has destroyed the north-eastern part of the fort and later monastery. Investigations have shown the site has undergone several phases of development and reuse. Below ground traces of an Early Iron Age farmstead represent the earliest settlement, dating to around 500 BC. The strategic importance of the promontory is illustrated by the construction of a temporary Roman military camp in the first century AD. The camp defences survive as a pair of now buried, infilled ditches, originally surrounding a timber-reinforced, earthern rampart, enclosing an area of around 0.5 hectares. Analysis of pottery fragments has indicated that the camp was in use during the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43. The fort was constructed during the early third century AD. It took the form of a north-northeast/south-southwest aligned square enclosure of around 3.2 hectares, the southern half of which survives as ruined walls, earthworks and below ground features. The core of the enclosing curtain wall survives to a height of up to 2.7 metres. This was originally around 3 metres thick and 4.5 metres high, augmented on its inner side by a large earthen mound around 13.5 metres wide. Surrounding the wall are a pair of now infilled, 10 metre wide ditches, separated from each other and the curtain wall by up to 10 metre wide berms. Buildings, including the commandant's house, headquarters building, bath house and a corn drying kiln have been identified. The fort was subsequently reused as the site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : TR 228 693: Regvlbivm (R) Roman Fort (R) (1)

The Roman fort is under the guardianship of the Ministry of Public Works and Buildings. The walling is in poor condition with facing-stones surviving in a short stretch of the east wall only, see GP. In October 1963, the furnace-chamber of a Roman bathhouse was discovered whilst digging foundations for a new lavatory block on the council caravan site at TR 2290 6914 (outside the fort). An emergency excavation was carried out by the Reculver Excavation Group under the direction of Mr B J Philp. The site was then filled in to await further examination next year. Published survey, 25" revised. (2-3)

Finds from outside the fort seem to consist mainly of a few huts. No stone buildings have been found in recent years but it is possible that an external bathhouse to the north of the fort has been destroyed by erosion. (See pamphlet) (4)

The structure found in 1963 was subsequently identified as a corn-drying kiln. (5)

ST 227 694: Trenching in 1971 at 35 feet away from a caravan site sewage works revealed a cremation burial with the remains of an early 3rd century beaker and some other pottery. Taken in conjunction with the report that one or more skeletons were found when the sewage works was built in the 1950s this could have been a cemetery associated with the fort. (6-7)

TR 226 695: Coast erosion in 1971 revealed the Roman road to the fort, a ditch and a pit with 3rd century pottery. (8)

Excavations inside the fort in 1968 uncovered the south and east sides of a double-ditched enclosure. The ditches contained mid 1st century pottery and probably represent a fortlet of the Conquest period. (9)

Name 'Regvlbivm' accepted for 4th edition Roman Britain Map.

In January 1976 a 250 metre trench dug by the local River Authority cut the outer defensive ditch of the east side of the fort. (10)

In 1975 excavation by Brian Philip on the cliff-top west of the fort located metalling (probably of the road to Canterbury), ditches and a large pit. Third and fourth century pottery and some tile were recovered. (11)

Mann has argued that the inscription from the Sacellum at Reculver may date to any time in the third century after the reign of Severus or less probably to the late second century. (12)

REGULBIUM - The Roman Fort at Reculver. (13)

Additional bibliography. (14-49)

The remains of a Roman Saxon Shore fort, site of an earlier, temporary Roman military camp and of an Early Iron Age farmstead. Settlement traces of the farmstead represent the earliest phase dating to around 500 BC. A first century AD temporary Roman military camp used the strategic positioning of the promontory to embellish its defences, which survive as a pair of buried, infilled ditches. Indications are that this camp was in use during the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43. The Saxon Shore fort was constructed during the early third century AD and took the form of square enclosure of around 3.2 hectares. The southern half of the fort still survives as ruined walls and earthworks. There were originally four gateway entrances through the centre of each side of the defences. The gateways were flanked by single gatehouse towers and the foundations of the eastern gatehouse are open to the public. Inside the fort are buried traces of a rectangular layout of roads flanked by masonry and timber structures. Buildings, including the commandant's house, the headquarters building and a corn drying kiln have been identified. (50-53)

A detailed report on the excavations from 1959-1969. This covers the fort's defences, two gatehouses, 11 internal buildings, minor structures, and over 25,000 finds. (54)

A brief history and description. (55)

Reculver was begun by AD 185-200, it was one of 3 forts constructed to regular first-century design. It was garrisoned by the first cohort of Baetasii, an auxillary infantry unit from Germany. During the 4th century the settlement declined. Occupation ceased around AD 375, as very few coins after this date have been found. Why it was abandoned is unknown.
In the 6th century it became part of a royal estate and in 669 King Egbert of Kent granted land to Abbot Bassa for a monastery. A further gratn by King Hlothere 10 years later and the church was built dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. The minster church owned trading vessels and a large number of 8th century coins have been found, which may suggest a market. The church probably suffered during the Viking raids and during the 9th century the monastery was abandoned. In 949 the church was handed to the Archbishopric of Canterbury and became a parish church serving a village to the north which has now been lost to the sea.
The original church of 669 was constantly expanded and developed, with the towers added in 12th century, until the 15th century. The church was demolished in 1809, as rapid erosion by the sea meant in 1781 the north-west corner of the roman fort was washed away and the church was unsafe.
The beach near Reculver was used to test Barnes Wallis’s innovative bouncing bomb, used in the famous ‘Dam Busters’ raid (1943). (56)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1961
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 AC 04-DEC-1963
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 376-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7, 1976
Source Number : 12
Source : The Saxon Shore
Source details :
Page(s) : 15
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 18
Source Number : 13
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 446-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : Late Roman fortifications
Source details :
Page(s) : 68, 198, 201
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : B Philp
Page(s) : XLIX-L
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 78, 1963
Source Number : 16
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp and AW Jan
Page(s) : 167-84, 230
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 71, 1957
Source Number : 17
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 190
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 52, 1962
Source Number : 18
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 240
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1924
Source Number : 19
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp
Page(s) : LII-III, LVI, LXX-LXXI
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 76, 1961
Source Number : 20
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp
Page(s) : 205-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 68, 1954
Source Number : 3
Source : The Daily Telegraph
Source details : 09-Nov-63
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 21
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : BJ Philp
Page(s) : 05-Jun
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3, 1966
Source Number : 22
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp
Page(s) : XLIX
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 80, 1965
Source Number : 23
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp
Page(s) : XLIX-L
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 79, 1964
Source Number : 24
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : F Haverfield
Page(s) : 494
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 54, 1895
Source Number : 25
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : T Lewin
Page(s) : 421-52
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 41, 1867
Source Number : 26
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : J Pownall
Page(s) : 79-80
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1787
Source Number : 27
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 275-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12, 1922
Source Number : 28
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 226
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 47, 1957
Source Number : 29
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp
Page(s) : 182-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 74, 1960
Source Number : 30
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 191
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 51, 1961
Source Number : 4
Source : The Roman fort at Reculver
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 31
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : G Hume
Page(s) : 210
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 17, 1927
Source Number : 32
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : JP Bushe-Fox
Page(s) : 68-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 22, 1932
Source Number : 33
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 236
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 50, 1960
Source Number : 34
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp and ML Kellaway
Page(s) : LI-LII, 96-115, 208
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 73, 1959
Source Number : 35
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : BJ Philp and PA Clayton
Page(s) : 160-66, 204-209
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 72, 1958
Source Number : 36
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : XLVII
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 77, 1963
Source Number : 37
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : G Dowker
Page(s) : Jan-13
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12, 1878
Source Number : 38
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : GP Walker
Page(s) : 181-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 44, 1932
Source Number : 39
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : G Hume
Page(s) : 260-66
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 86, 1929
Source Number : 40
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : GE Fox
Page(s) : 352-75, 380
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 53, 1896
Source Number : 5
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : B Philp
Page(s) : Dec-14
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13, 1968
Source Number : 41
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Kent, volume three
Source details :
Page(s) : 19-24
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3
Source Number : 42
Source : Council for British Archaeology: Calendar of excavations
Source details : BJ Philp
Page(s) : 10
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : -1969
Source Number : 43
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details :
Page(s) : 31-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1970
Source Number : 44
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 177
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 54, 1964
Source Number : 45
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 217
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 56, 1966
Source Number : 46
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 202
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 57, 1967
Source Number : 47
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 233
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 59, 1969
Source Number : 48
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 206
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 58, 1968
Source Number : 49
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : BPhilp and H Gough
Page(s) : 74
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 53, 1978
Source Number : 50
Source : Collectanea historica : essays in memory of Stuart Rigold
Source details :
Page(s) : 43-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : B Philp
Page(s) : 143
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 1971
Source Number : 51
Source : The Roman forts of the Saxon Shore
Source details :
Page(s) : 44-48
Figs. : 27-Sep
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 52
Source : Richborough and Reculver, Kent
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 53
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 19-Mar-99
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 54
Source : The excavation of the Roman fort at Reculver, Kent
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : No. 10
Source Number : 55
Source : Heritage Unlocked: London and the South East
Source details :
Page(s) : 38-41
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 56
Source : Richborough and Reculver
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : H Gough
Page(s) : 188
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 26, 1971-2
Source Number : 8
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : H Davies
Page(s) : 235
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 28, 1972
Source Number : 9
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : B Philp
Page(s) : 07-Nov
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 15, 1969
Source Number : 10
Source : Archaeological excavations
Source details :
Page(s) : 85-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : -1976

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Iron Age
Display Date : Early Iron Age
Monument End Date : -300
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Farmstead
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Fort built
Monument End Date : 200
Monument Start Date : 185
Monument Type : Saxon Shore Fort, Corn Drying Kiln, Bath House, Temporary Camp
Evidence : Structure, Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 370
Monument Start Date : 300
Monument Type : Settlement
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : In use by AD 43
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Promontory Fort, Temporary Camp
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : KE 27
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 31399
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 210
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Kent)
External Cross Reference Number : TR 26 NW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TR 26 NW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 467090
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : RECULVER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1870-01-01
End Date : 1879-12-31
Associated Activities : RECULVER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1924-01-01
End Date : 1927-12-31
Associated Activities : RECULVER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1951-01-01
End Date : 1951-12-31
Associated Activities : RECULVER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1952-01-01
End Date : 1975-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON TR 26 NW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1963-12-04
End Date : 1963-12-04
Associated Activities : RECULVER (EAST OF THE FORT)
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT RECULVER TOWERS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31