A myth debunked

Castle Rough is a rectangular earthwork, surrounded by a wide moat, near Kemsley, north of Sittingbourne, Kent, in the shadow of what was, in 1972, Bowaters Kemsley paper mill, and within sight of the narrow guage steam railway that ran from Ridham dock to the Sittingbourne mill (and which still exists).

The Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeological Research Group obtained permission to carry out a small-scale investigation of the site under my direction. We excavated a single trench in the northern edge of the south moat. The mound itself produced no finds, but in the buried soil deposit beneath it we found mesolithic scrapers and several sherds of green-glazed medieval pottery. No evidence of structures was found. The medieval date of the buried soil indicated that the (still unfortunately often-repeated) myth of Castle Rough being constructed as a fort by Haesten in 893.

My excavation was published in the Kent Archaeological Review 31, Spring 1973.

ARCHAEOLOGY