previous next

DARENTH Kent, England.

A Roman villa 4.8 km SE of Dartford. It covered an area of 1.2 ha beside the river Darent. It was excavated in 1894-95. The earliest building appears to have been a double-winged corridor house (39 x 18 m) which faced S on a courtyard (ca. 64.5 x 27 m). This house was later connected with other buildings, probably aisled in their original form, one (ca. 24 x 15 m) at the NE corner of the courtyard, the other (ca. 30 x 18 m) at the NW corner, set at an angle. This last building contained baths, but they were subsequently replaced by an arrangement of tanks and hypocausts which extended to the main house and were interpreted as part of a fulling installation; water was supplied from a well outside the courtyard by way of a large tank (8.4 x 3 m) built across the courtyard itself. In a third period the tanks in and near the main house were replaced by baths, but those in the NW building continued in use.

No close dating has been suggested for any of the periods, but the coins found range from Domitian to Gratian. Reexamination of Chedworth has cast some doubt on the interpretation of Darenth, but the large tanks and the presence of many hypocausts, some of them of unusual design, do point to some form of industrial use, whether fulling or dyeing is not known. No further work has been done on the main complex, but rescue excavations in 1969 revealed a detached bath house at the SW corner of the courtyard and an aisled building 48 m long, 90 m farther to the SW, and here five periods of construction between A.D. 180 and 350 were distinguished.


G. Payne, Archaeologia Cantiana 22 (1897) 49-84; VCH Kent III (1932) 111-13; fulling: G. Fox, Archaeologia 59 (1905) 218-32; B. J. Philp, Excavations in West Kent, 1960-1970 (1973) 119-54.

A.L.F. Rivet

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: