Reasons for Designation
Romano-British mausolea were monumental and sometimes ornamental tombs
standing above ground and usually constructed of stone or brick and tile.
Their basic function was to contain and mark high-status single or multiple
inhumation or cremation burials.
Evidence suggests that mausolea frequently served as family tombs which could
be entered for some form of ceremony when a new burial was placed in the
monument. A small number of mausolea have produced no evidence of burials and
in these cases it appears that the monument served as a cenotaph.
Mausolea are usually found within Romano-British cemeteries but may also be
found singly or in small groups. They generally appear to have been sited in
prominent positions in the landscape. Besides their common association with
Romano-British cemeteries, mausolea may also be found near Roman barrows,
roads, villas and, in one instance, a Romano-Celtic temple. The tradition of
constructing mausolea began in the early second century and continued until at
least the fourth century, with individual examples being used for relatively
long periods of time. Romano-British mausolea are rare nationally. Known
examples are widely dispersed with the main concentration in the south east,
particularly in Kent. Mausolea are not found in Wales or Scotland but are
common in the rest of Europe. Because of their rarity and their importance in
providing information on Romano-British burial practice for persons of high
status and on demographic and social organisation, all examples with surviving
archaeological potential are considered nationally important.
The mausoleum at Stone-by-Faversham survives as a partly standing structure
with associated buried remains, as revealed by partial excavation. Unusually,
it is incorporated within a later, now ruined, parish church which may have
its origins in the Anglo-Saxon period. This illustrates continuity in the use
of the site for funerary and possibly Christian religious purposes from the
late Roman period onwards.
Although its exact nature and function have yet to be established, the second
Romano-British building, situated some 11m to the north west of the mausoleum,
indicates the existence of at least two phases of Roman development on the
site, and suggests that further, broadly contemporary, structures and remains
will survive within the area of the later churchyard.
The abandonment of the church in the 16th century means that contemporary
graves representing the local population will not have been disturbed by later
The monument includes a Romano-British mausoleum, an associated Romano British
building and a later parish church which survive in ruined and buried form in
a shallow, dry valley around 100m to the north of Watling Street, the Roman
road between London (Londinium), Canterbury (Dubrovernum) and Dover (Dubris).
The monument was partially excavated during the 19th century, and again
between 1967-1968 and 1971-1972, when the Romano-British mausoleum was found
to be a north east to south west aligned, roughly square structure measuring
6.2m by 5.8m, built on a rectangular foundation raft of flints. The walls,
which survive to a height of up to c.0.75m, are 1m thick, and are constructed
of squared tufa and ragstone blocks with frequent, regular courses of thin,
red bricks. Reinforcing the walls on the north eastern and south western sides
were six external buttresses, two of which survive at the north western and
south western corners. The original entrance is represented by a gap of 1.25m
in the centre of the north western wall, and the original sill, a large,
rectangular, Greensand slab, survives in situ. Internally, the floor, which
had undergone some later disturbance, was constructed of opus signinum (a very
hard waterproof cement, coloured red with crushed tile) and the walls were
decorated with red-painted plaster. A large, rectangular, concrete block,
interpreted as a podium, was found to have been mortared to the floor near the
south eastern wall. Roman coins discovered within the building date to the mid
fourth century AD, whilst Roman pottery sherds found nearby date from the
second to fourth centuries AD. A north-south aligned child burial dating to
the Romano-British period was found just to the south of the mausoleum.
The excavations also revealed a further Roman building lying c.11m to the
north west of the mausoleum, partially underlying a wall of the later,
medieval church. This building, the orientation of which diverges from that of
the mausoleum, is represented by a north east to south west aligned length of
cement and chalk foundation wall c.0.6m thick, which originally formed the
south eastern wall of the building, with traces of an opus signinum floor
surviving to its north west. Also discovered were associated Roman coins and
pottery sherds dating to the mid third to mid fourth centuries AD.
Partially overlying the earlier Roman building, but making use of the
surviving walls in its construction, is a later, medieval church, dedicated to
Our Lady of Elwarton. The mainly flint built church, which is a small,
rectangular building sharing the alignment of the earlier mausoleum, with
ruined walls measuring 24m by up to 7.5m and surviving to a height of up to
c.2m, underwent at least three main phases of development. These may have been
preceded by an earlier, timber-built Anglo-Saxon church, the evidence for
which includes the discovery of associated Anglo-Saxon burials and artefacts,
including a silver sceatta coin dating to c.AD730, amber beads and pottery
sherds. The earliest stone built phase, which has also been interpreted as
Anglo-Saxon, involved the utilisation of the earlier mausoleum as the chancel,
whilst an adjoining flint built nave was constructed to the north west, with
its north western wall partially overlying the south eastern wall of the
earlier Roman building. During the 13th century, the chancel was extended
towards the south east, and the south eastern wall of the earlier mausoleum
was partially demolished at this time. A contemporary altar base survives near
the south eastern end of the chancel. The third phase of development, which
took place during the 13th century or later, involved the extension of the
nave towards the north west.
The church is surrounded by a roughly square graveyard covering c.0.12ha. This
is an area of uneven ground likely to contain further, now unmarked, burials.
The graveyard is bounded by a flint wall which partially survives in ruined
form on the north western side to a height of c.0.5m, but survives elsewhere
as a low earthwork.
The church is believed to have been abandoned as a religious building by the
1530's. The monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.
The perimeter of the monument is marked by a series of modern concrete posts
which are excluded from the scheduling, as is a modern interpretive sign
situated to the south west of the ruined church walls, although the ground
beneath these features is included.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.