Canterbury Archeological Trust

Ridingate revisited
Paul Blockley

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During the spring (1987), access was obtained via inspection covers to the hollow concrete `chambers' on either side of the Ridingate with a view to resurveying and analysing the south-west guard chamber of the Roman gate. After clearing the layer of silt which had accumulated since the guard chamber was entombed in 1970, it was found that the structure had survived to a height of 1.30 m. A complete record. both drawn and photographic, was made and with the help of photographs in the Canterbury Museums archive. taken during the construction of the bridge in 1970, it has been possible for the first time to combine all the elements of the gate into one coherent plan.

The hollow chamber on the south-west side of the gate runs for 50 m., the reduced Roman wall being visible for this entire length. The Roman guard chamber was sealed by the medieval city wall, which stands to a height of 2.40 m. above the surviving Roman fabric. A survey was also carried out in the concrete `chamber' on the north-east side of the modern bridge, where the Roman wall stands to a height of 3.42 m.

Work has progressed well on the analysis of the Ridingate excavation of 1986 (see Annual Report 1985-86, 13, for details of the gate as excavated). Photographs taken in 1970 (see above), have shown that there was a large hinge pivot in the greensand block on both sides of the south-west carriageway indicating double-leaved doors. A reconstruction drawing of the gate by John Bowen shows projecting front to the north-east guard chamber. Although not immediately clear, the gate does have a degree of symmetry which can be appreciated from the plan, with single opposed projections at front and rear.

See this place today Click on the logo to see this place today.   The information on this page is Copyright © Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1987 Reproduced with permission.
The text and pictures were taken from Canterbury's Archaeology 1986/1987, The 11th Annual Report of Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Peter Collinson Last change: 7th September 2008