The medieval port of Stonar 41m north-east of No.1 Stonar Gardens.
Reasons for Designation
Medieval ports were important commercial centres where trade and distribution of goods and products were carried out. They usually included a quayside, sometimes of timber construction, which was used for the loading and off-loading of goods from ships, barges or riverside vessels. Settlements developed up and around these ports and included streets lined with plots of domestic and commercial properties. They might also include a church or chapel to meet the religious needs of the community. Some ports, such as the medieval town of New Winchelsea, adopted planned layouts where streets and dwellings were laid out on a grid pattern whilst others developed piecemeal, according to their economic fortune. Some medieval ports, particularly along the south and east coasts, suffered decline or abandonment in the 14th and 15th centuries as a result of French and Spanish raids, the bubonic plague, economic failure and/or inundation by the sea. As a consequence of their abandonment these ports often contain well-preserved archaeological remains and deposits. They provide valuable sources of information on medieval commerce, corresponding trade networks and settlement patterns.
The undeveloped and undisturbed areas of the site will contain significant archaeological remains and deposits of the medieval quayside and the domestic and commercial properties of the port. These are considered to include the timbers of a successive number of medieval waterfronts. Despite quarrying and development in the past, the medieval port of Stonar contains archaeological remains and deposits relating to its occupation, use and history.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 March 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes the medieval port of Stonar, surviving as buried remains. It is situated at the south side of Stonar Lake on the flood plain of the River Stour north-east of Sandwich.
Remains of the medieval port have been recorded in rescue excavations prior to quarrying and modern development. These included the buried foundations of medieval houses, situated along both sides of two streets. One of these streets led to the medieval Church of St Nicholas, recorded in the 11th century, of which the south-east corner was found. An extensive cemetery was also identified and 129 burials were recovered. Medieval building materials, including tile and pottery, burnt clay and ash, as well as a possible road surface have been observed as buried deposits in a gravel face at Stonar.
The medieval port of Stonar is recorded in 1090. The port is known to have enjoyed a period of prosperity in the 12th and 13th centuries in rival to the neighbouring port of Sandwich. A number of documents highlight disputes over tolls with Sandwich at this time. In the late 14th century, the port suffered from a French raid and inundation by the sea.
A number of Roman finds were recovered on the site during the building of the early 19th century Stonar House including stone coffins, swords, urns and coins. The medieval port was partially excavated in 1821, 1911, 1935-1960 and 1969-72. The finds included a significant medieval pottery assemblage including imported wares such as 13th and 14th century Saintonge ware. In 1994, an archaeological watching brief identified timbers that probably formed the final phase of the late medieval quayside. An archaeological evaluation, in advance of proposed development at No.2 Stonar Gardens, in 2002 recorded a 12th century road surface linking Stonar to Sandwich.