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Medieval saltern 1.05km north east of Monkshill Farm, one of a group of six on Seasalter Level

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Medieval saltern 1.05km north east of Monkshill Farm, one of a group of six on Seasalter Level

List entry Number: 1012972

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Canterbury

District Type: District Authority

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 29-Jul-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jun-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27004

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Salt has been produced from sea water or, in inland areas, from brine springs since before Roman times, and the technology used in the medieval period displays a marked continuity with earlier production methods. Brine, from which the water was evaporated to produce the salt, was collected in one of two ways, either by its filtration from coastal sand, soil or pebbles impregnated with salt water during high tides and periodic inundation, or by its collection in pools or pits filled at high tide or by inland springs, sometimes by way of a system of channels, dams and sluices. Medieval salterns include a range of features connected with the collection and evaporation processes, of which the most visually distinctive are the oval or kidney-shaped middens of waste material which may cover areas of 2ha or more. Other features usually survive in buried form beneath and around the middens, illustrating the fact that salterns were often in use for periods of at least a century, during which time they were occupied seasonally, their component structures being rebuilt at the beginning of each summer or as required. Evaporation was often aided by an evaporation kiln fuelled by peat or wood products, of which several different types are known, and the remains of temporary wooden buildings, wooden or wicker troughs and clay-lined pits have also been found during excavation. Salt was an expensive commodity during the medieval period, particularly in demand for food preservation and curing. Salterns are known from documentary sources and place name evidence to have been widely distributed around the English coast and the inland brine springs of Cheshire from at least the end of the 11th century. The industry had declined by the beginning of the 16th century and competition with the superior and cheaper rock salt, mined from the beginning of the 17th century, led to its demise during the early post- medieval period.

The medieval saltern 1.05km north east of Monkshill Farm survives well as a visually impressive monument, and the excavation of associated salterns has indicated that it will contain well-preserved archaeological remains and environmental evidence. Its close association with five equally well-preserved salterns, the subject of separate schedulings, provides evidence for the importance of the salt industry in this area of north Kent during the medieval period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes one of a group of six salterns situated on the north Kent coast. This group forms part of an original group of 11, five of which have subsequently been destroyed. The salterns lie on the interface between the low-lying coastal marshland on the southern side of the Swale estuary, periodically inundated by the sea in medieval times, and the gently undulating, wood-fuel bearing, London clay hills further inland. The saltern has an unevenly-shaped midden, an artificial heap of marsh clay waste discarded after brine extraction, measuring up to c.130m by a maximum of around 97m. The midden survives to a height of up to c.2.5m in places. During the 1950's five adjacent, associated salterns were destroyed by bulldozing, and archaeological investigations carried out at the time indicated that the middens will partially overlie, and be surrounded by, industrial structures surviving in buried form. These may include wicker or clay-lined pits, evaporation kilns, lead boiling pans and the foundations of temporary wooden buldings. Pottery sherds and other artefacts, including a leather boot, discovered during the excavation suggest that the monument was in use from at least the end of the 11th century until 1325, when Seasalter Level and the surrounding marshes were embanked by the construction of sea walls designed to keep out the encroaching sea and make them more suitable for pasture. Historical records at Canterbury cathedral indicate that salt produced on Seasalter Level was being paid as rent to the cathedral almonry between 1198-1227. The modern electricity pylon which partially overlies the monument on its north western side is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'Archaeologia Cantiana' in A Group of Mounds on Seasalter Level...and the Med imbanking..., , Vol. 70, (1956), 44-67
Other
Source 2 Cantab Cath Accnts 1198-1227, RCHME, TR 06 SE 6,

National Grid Reference: TR 07532 63710

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1012972 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2017 at 09:17:34.

End of official listing