Conduit House, NE of Victoria married quarters, Military Road


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Canterbury (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TR 15979 58590


St Augustine’s Abbey Conduit House, 200m north-east of All Saints Church

Reasons for Designation

The provision of clean water has been seen as a public responsibility since early times. The earliest water-supply systems in Britain were built during the Roman period. Aqueducts supplied civil and military centres from wells, springs and impounded sources. Medieval water systems were constructed for monasteries as early as the twelfth century, and similar conduit systems were built for some medieval towns. Early supplies depended on gravitational flow from a spring to a conduit head. Conduits were pipes or channels used to convey and transport the water. Some conduits, such as that at Exeter in the 14th and 15th centuries, were laid underground, whilst others, such as Wells, ran in the street. Tamkin houses were buildings along the route of the conduit, which provided access points, where sections of the water supply could be plugged off and isolated, to carry out repairs.

Despite some later alterations and repair work, St Augustine’s Abbey Conduit House survives well. It is a well engineered and complex example of its type, which provides information about the medieval water supply to Canterbury. It will contain archaeological information relating to its construction and


See Details


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 June 2014. The 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 a medieval conduit house surviving as upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated at the foot of a west-facing slope near Regency Place, north-east of Canterbury.

The conduit house is irregular in plan with a broadly octagonal central chamber. The roof has collapsed but the walls remain upstanding. It rests on chalk block foundations with four main tunnelled openings and three smaller ducts running off the central chamber. Surmounting the foundations are flint and chalk block walls, lined internally with coursed flint showing traces of render. The tunnelled openings are dressed with Lower Greensand quoins. The four tunnels have been blocked by later inserted brickwork but lead to circular domed-topped chambers. Several subsidiary ducts lead into the tunnels. These indicate that 24 separate springs fed into the central chamber. The central chamber is divided into two by the insertion of an 18th century chalk and brick wall, pierced by a brick arch. This wall was originally supported two 18th century barrel vaults, which may have been in-turn covered by a sprung floor indicated by surviving joist sockets in the walls. The conduit house was refurbished in the 19th century, the remains of which include a doorway in the west end, with external brick surround, and steps providing access to the central chamber.

A conduit house was first built on the site by Prior Wilbert in the mid-12th century. It is shown on a ‘waterworks’ plan dating to about 1160 as a circular structure marked ‘turris’. The plan indicates that water was piped from the conduit house down the present line of the Military Road to the Cathedral precincts of Canterbury. In the 17th century it may have supplied a new conduit built next to St Andrew’s Church which was paid for by Archbishop George Abbot in 1620. In 1733 the conduit house was owned by John Hales who provided water to the city. The roof of the conduit house collapsed in February 1988 following prolonged periods of rain.

An archaeological watching brief was carried out on the site in 1982-84 and the conduit house was partially excavated in 1988 to allow repairs to be carried out.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
KE 265
Legacy System:


, accessed from
, accessed from
Kent OS Maps (1:2500): 1874, 1897, 1907,
NMR TR15NE37, TR15NE38. PastScape 464379, 464380,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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