A Romano-British mausoleum, an associated Romano-British building and a parish church at Stone-by-Faversham


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011773

Date first listed: 23-Jul-1946

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Jun-1995


Ordnance survey map of A Romano-British mausoleum, an associated Romano-British building and a parish church at Stone-by-Faversham
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Swale (District Authority)

Parish: Norton, Buckland and Stone

National Grid Reference: TQ 99161 61330


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 burials.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 25474

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Fletcher, , Lord, , Meates, , 'Antiquaries Journal' in Antiquaries Journal, , Vol. 49, (1969), 273-294
Fletcher, , Lord, , Meates, , 'Antiquaries Journal' in Antiquaries Journal, , Vol. 57, (1977), 67-72
in possession of EH HPG south east, Taylor, H M and Yonge, D D, (1981)
RCHME, TQ 96 SE 2,

End of official listing