Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1

Stuart Foreman, 2004 (updated 2009)

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https://doi.org/10.5284/1000230
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Stuart Foreman (2009) Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1 [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000230

Brockton Farm, Charing Heath, Kent. Archaeological record in advance of and during dismantling

Summary

Brockton Farm within its immediate (pre-demolition) context : general view from the south-west.

The Oxford Archaeological Unit (OAU) was commissioned by Kvaerner Construction Ltd (KCL) to undertake a programme of archaeological recording in advance of, and during the dismantling of the Grade II Listed farmhouse at Brockton Farm, Charing Heath, Kent (NGR: TQ 9220 4890).

The study of the farmhouse has revealed a substantial portion of a 17th-century roof structure above the north range of the main two-storey block of the house with evidence for two original projecting gables to the north and an attached rear wing to the south. This roof is related to two surviving substantial 17th-century floor frames at first floor level and an eaves level ceiling frame at the western end of the northern range. A section of contemporary framed southern wall was also identified. This evidence has allowed for a fairly detailed reconstruction of a substantial 17th-century timber framed house built around a surviving brick stack with four original fireplaces (two at each level). Within the eastern section of the 17th-century roof structure, elements of a pre-17th-century gabled wing have been identified, although the extent of survival is too limited to allow for a confident attempt to be made at a reconstruction. The structural evidence for a building of relatively high status has been supported by documentary sources which would appear to indicate that Brockton Farm may in fact represent the original medieval Manor house.

Much of the 17th-century building, and the evidence for the form of its precursor, has been destroyed in the course of subsequent phases of adaptation and modification, notably the underbuilding of three exterior walls in brick in the late 18th century. At this time, the plan of the house was enlarged to produce an approximately square plan with an attached pentroofed extension to the south. Details of the extensive use of structural ironwork within the 18th/19th-century development of the farmhouse were recorded.

The later structural development of the farmhouse has been traced through an analysis of the fabric and a total of seven distinct phases of work have been identified. Of particular interest was a 'spiritual midden' deposit retrieved from behind a studwork partition wall at first floor level; the deposit comprised a selection of leather shoes, garments, personal objects and three 'mummified' cats.

Archaeological excavation has proved disappointing in adding to our understanding of the building, any trace of early arrangements having been effectively destroyed by previous phases of extension and alteration of the house. A timber 'cutting shoe' for a brick lined well was retrieved during a watching brief on site clearance and landscaping work.

A majority of the 17th-century elements of the building, including all timbers, a total of c.3000 bricks and representative samples of other contemporary construction materials have been salvaged during the demolition process and have been deposited with the Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton, West Sussex, where they will form a part of the museum's reference and educational collection. In addition, a number of early 19th-century sash windows and fittings have been removed by the Brooking Architectural Collection, University of Greenwich.

The study has served to significantly enhance our understanding of the building's development and while the early origins of the house remain, to an extent, obscure, the retention of the timbers at the Weald and Downland Museum leaves open the possibility of © Union Railways (South) Limited 2001 1 Brockton Farm, Charing Heath, Kent: Archaeological Record in advance of and during Dismantling their future detailed analysis at a level beyond the scope of the current study. It is to be hoped that such analysis may serve to further enhance our knowledge of the early form and functional development of the building.

Other material from the programme linked to this report.


Phase 2

Below is a list of Phase 2 assessments in which other data from this site may be found.

Watching Brief Area 430, Kent Integrated Site Report

Phase 1

Evaluation and Interim Excavation Data

Below is a list of other evaluation and interim excavation data from sites and field work events associated with this report.

Brockton Farm, Charing (ARC BRO98) Evaluation