The Villa at Folkestone measures about 180 feet by 81, shows two periods of construction, of which only the later plan is known. A central range of eleven rooms is bounded in front and behind by corridors, the back corridor having been, perhaps as an afterthought, converted into a series of rooms and baths. The central hall, 21 feet by 20, has a mosaic pavement, the only one found.
A “grand” mid-second century Roman villa at Folkestone was found to be roofed with tiles marked with the official stamp of the British Fleet. It is thought that this substantial dwelling which overlooks the English Channel, was the official residence of the prefect of the Classis Britannica. The praefectus classis Britannicae who was also a procurator (CIL ix.5632), would appear to have not only been the commander of the Fleet, but was also the imperial administrator for the Wealden iron industries. These iron-works seem to have all ceased operating about the middle of the third century, at the same time that the nearby fortifications and garrison at Dover were changed.
Roman Roofing Tiles from the Folkestone Villa
“[Property of] the British Fleet.”
(Burn 216; RIB II; tiles)
References for Folkestone
- The Romans in Britain – An Anthology of Inscriptions by A.R. Burn (Blackwell, Oxford, 1969);
- The Archaeology of Roman Britain by R.G. Collingwood (Methuen, London, 1930).
Map References for Folkestone
NGRef: TR2437 OSMap: LR179/189
Roman Roads near Folkestone
North Downs Way: WNW (35) to Eccles (Kent) Possible Coastal Road: W (5) to Portvs Dvbris (Dover, Kent) Possible Coastal Road: E (8) to Portvs Lemanis (Lympne, Kent) Possible Coastal Road: E (8) to Portvs Lemanis