Page:Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.djvu/148
NOTES TO KENT.
lies a piece of ground" [this must be the part noticed above as, probably, the keep, and the only portion of the ancient fort now existing], "raised much higher than the Toll is; this was encompassed with a double ditch, the tracks of which are still to be seen in some places; and within the line is, I believe, about five or six acres of land; on the north and south sides of the uppermost vallum, very eminent still" (sic). "When Dr. Plot visited this place in the year 1693, he saith in some manuscript papers of his, which I have the favour to peruse, that they were then very lofty, and he was informed by an antient and sober countryman, who had often ploughed upon this hill, that both the mounts or tumuli, and the valla were then at least four foot lower than when he first knew the place: and therefore no wonder if I found them much lower yet, when I visited the place. And the plough and the usual deterrations will in time reduce them to a level."
Dr. Harris's anticipation is completely fulfilled, and every vestige of the original ramparts has long been swept away; but, from my intimate acquaintance, formerly, with the entire locality, I feel persuaded, that those ramparts were purposely removed for the improvement of the valuable land where they stood, not gradually worn down by successive ploughings, although this removal may have taken place beyond the memory of any individual now living. The above description, coupled with the surviving marks, leaves no doubt respecting the origin of the appellation, "the Castle," or "Castle Toll." But, clear as may be the fact of the existence here of an ancient fortress of some kind, there is not the smallest sign to betoken Roman masonry at or near the spot; nor indeed any masonry whatsoever; the foregoing quotation moreover implying, that the ramparts were formed of earth merely, and the soil being perfectly free from all fragments of ruined walls: consequently this place will not answer for the site of Andredesceaster.
In the marshes (so called generally, but it is sound land, though occasionally covered with water, in the event of high floods, from the River Rother), not far from Newenden eastward, from a ditch which had been an ancient channel of the Rother, in the year 1822 was dug out a large vessel, fifty-four or fifty-six feet long, but narrow in the beam. It was lying with the stern up the country, and at about the distance behind, at which it might have been towed, was a small boat. The larger vessel was partially buried under the bank of the ditch, having eleven