Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1

Stuart Foreman, 2004 (updated 2009)

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Stuart Foreman (2009) Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1 [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Yonsea Farm, Hothfield, Kent. Archaeological analysis during dismantling.


Double Oast House, Yonsea Farm.

The Oxford Archaeological Unit (OAU) carried out a programme of archaeological recording at Yonsea Farm, Hothfield (NGR TQ 9850 4505) for Union Railways (South) Limited (URS). The farmstead comprised a number of Grade II listed buildings and other nonlisted structures: The Farmhouse, The Oasts, The Loose Boxes, The Toll Cottage, The Granary & Cart Sheds, The Cowsheds and Stables, and The Barn

Due to the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the buildings were to be dismantled for re-erection at the South of England Rare Breeds Centre, Woodchurch by the Traditional Buildings Preservation Trust (the Trust). OAU carried out a detailed survey of the farmhouse kitchen which had surviving features including a bread oven, range and double copper. In addition to this, a watching brief was carried out during the controlled demolition of the buildings. After the buildings had been removed, the site was further investigated by means of an archaeological evaluation. Both prior to and during the demolition, Rail Link Engineering (RLE) and the Trust commissioned and carried out substantial recording including measured surveys, rectified photography, historical research, oral history, video footage and general photography (Appendix C provides an index to the archive). The work carried out by OAU was therefore designed to augment that of the Trust and RLE, to inform the rebuilding of the complex and to record any information about the buildings that came to light during the controlled demolition.

Unusually for Kent, the farm was a planned model farm. It was developed between 1816-1819 by the 9th Earl of Thanet as part of the Hothfield Estate. However, the name 'Yonsea Farm' was first recorded in the 13th century (Walker, 1998) leading to suggestions that the model farm was a rebuilding on an earlier site. No evidence was found for earlier occupation during an evaluation by the Museum of London Archaeology Services in 1997 or in the evaluation carried out by the OAU and reported here.

The majority of the buildings making up the farm complex were of one-phase with few later alterations. A high degree of uniformity was seen throughout in terms of building style, construction details and materials. The buildings were of brick and timber framing. The brickwork was laid in Flemish bond (with salt-glazed headers) where visible and English bond where not. Many of the farm buildings were timber-framed on brick plinths with common features of jowled knee braces and vertical butt-edged weatherboarding. Roofs were hipped, boarded and covered with slate. Common component features seen through the roof construction included tapered king-post trusses with raking struts and ridge boards, structural wrought iron jointing and bolted purlins carried on the underside of rafters. The farmhouse displayed a level of sophistication over the working buildings and is believed to have been designed by George Stanley Repton working in the office of John Nash (Robinson, 1998).

The archaeological evaluation carried out after the demolition of the buildings was designed to provide more information about the foundations of the buildings, reveal previously obscured elements and look for any evidence of activity prior to the 1816-19 model farm. No structures pre-dating the farm were identified. Of most interest was the additional information gained from the floors of the oast house roundels. Evidence of two different firing techniques were Yonsea Farm, Hothfield, Kent: Archaeological Analysis during Dismantling observed after the modern concrete floor was removed. The roundel to the south retained evidence of a hopper construction and that to the north had a sunken ash pit. R Walton, an authority on Kentish Oasts, visited the site and interpreted the different firing mechanisms as differences in fuel source, the southern roundel using charcoal and the northern roundel a modernisation designed to allow the use of coke or coal.

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.

Yonsea Farm (ARC YFM 97) Evaluation