Learning from defined settlements: 
Watling Street & Roman defined settlements

A typical Roman settlement

A typical Roman settlement

Ebbsfleet sits at a fording point on the Roman road of Watling Street, which connected Chester with London and then ran onto Canterbury and Dover. A Roman settlement grew-up around this fording point which was known as Vagniacae (the name signifies marshy ground), at what today is known as Springhead, the source of the River Ebbsfleet. The Fleet (Ebbsfleet) river strategically linked Vagniacae with the river Thames at Northfleet, and Northfleet was also the site of a Roman Villa.

Vagniacae surrounded a pool formed from eight natural springs. The site had a large number of temples, together with various buildings used for trade. A substantial ditch defined an exclusion zone around the settlement and a ceremonial way most probably led to the springs.

Rochester was strategically placed at the lowest point on the Medway to bridge Watling Street. This was significant to Rochester’s development and function up to and including the arrival of the railway and commercial shipping.

The general plan of Roman Rochester follows that of many large Roman towns; comprising two principal streets crossing at right angles to each other and exiting through gates on the four main sides of the city’s defensive circuit.

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Rochester - Roman Durobrivae

Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 21 1895

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A contained & Roman Watling Street & associated settlements

Taken from Kent: West and the Weald, John Newman


The Roman settlement of Springhead

Illustration by Donato Spedaliere (in collaboration with G. L. A Albertini, S. S. Spedaliere)

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Roman marble found at Springhead