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So far I have confined myself to what appear to me evidences of Roman workmanship in the Nave, because in my judgment that part of the Church has strong claims to Roman origin, whatever be the decision as to the Chancel. Mr. Livett, however, without expressing any definite opinion on this point, claims that he has distinctly proved by structural analysis that, whatever be the date of the Nave, the brickwork of the original Chancel is certainly earlier. In a letter written on August 8th, 1896, to the Kentish Gazette, he observes that "the oldest portion of the existing building comprises (1) the side-walls of the Chancel, extending from the Chancel-arch to a point 20 ft. east of the arch; (2) the foundations of a destroyed Adjunct that once stood on the south side of the Chancel; (3) a portion of the East Wall of the Nave on either side of the Chancel-arch; and (4) certain foundations under the floor of the Nave. These are all regarded as belonging to a building earlier in date than the existing Nave." He claims that on these points a general agreement has been reached. It may be doubted whether in this latter respect he has not been too sanguine, and whether he has not accepted as "established facts" matters that are still open to discussion, and that may be upset (as so many other theories have been before) by fresh excavations, which, it is fair to add, Mr. Livett himself deems necessary in order to determine finally the relative dates of the Nave and Chancel. Assuming, however (for the sake of argument), that the Chancel is the earlier then if we can establish a reasonable probability of a Roman date for the Nave, for those whom I may call without discourtesy "the pro-Saxon controversialists," cadit quæstio. On the other hand,
even though it be shewn that the Nave is of a postRoman period, yet still the Chancel may be Roman, as being in their opinion of avowedly greater antiquity; so that in either case we may be able to justify the general accuracy of Bede's historical narrative, for no one seriously believes that every stone and every feature of the present Church is of Roman workmanship.
We have spoken already of the Nave. Is there anything in the Chancel to militate against its Roman origin? The style of this portion of the Church is that of Roman tiles laid evenly upon one another. If we require a parallel for this opus lateritium in England, we may refer to remains found at the Roman Villas at Wingham and Darenth, at the Studfall Roman castrum at Lympne, the blocked sluice-gate in the Silchester city wall, and elsewhere. In fact, this is one of the ordinary styles of Roman building as distinguished from quadrangular or polygonal masonry, opus reticulatum, concrete, and what is called mixture, i.e. stones bonded together by courses of tiles at regular or sometimes irregular intervals.
There is one other point which, though of a negative character, may yet have some weight. Within the past year very careful examination has been made by Mr. Micklethwaite into Saxon work and remains in England-and I believe he has satisfied himself that many buildings, some of them popularly supposed to be Roman, must be assigned to a Saxon period. Amongst these he mentions the Churches at Brixworth, Reculver, Lyminge, Rochester, Dover Castle, and several others. Of all these he has drawn careful plans, which were explained by him in a very comprehensive Paper that was read at the Summer
Meeting of the Royal Archæological Institute at Canterbury, and will (I believe) be published in the January number of the Archæological Journal. It is a remarkable fact (so far as my recollection of his Paper goes) that the plan of St. Martin's Churcheither with or without its reputed Eastern Apse-does not agree, in many essential details, with a single one of those above-mentioned. And yet if we accept the date of St. Martin's as post-Roman it must have been built within the same century, or even within a comparatively few years of some of them. Mr. Micklethwaite lays special stress on the apparent identity of character between the work at St. Pancras (Canterbury) and in the Chancel of St. Martin's; and says that "the date of one must be very near to that of the other "-and as he does not believe that St. Pancras can be Roman, therefore in his opinion the St. Martin's Chancel is not Roman.
Now in answer to this I will first say that the post-Roman date of St. Pancras is only an assumption, which has not yet attained the dignity of an "established fact." There is very much to be argued on the other side, and some competent authorities believe that in the remains at St. Pancras we can trace evidences of both an earlier and a later Roman building-though it is outside my purpose in the present Paper to follow out at any length this interesting controversy.
But-granting, for the moment, that the Church of St. Pancras was built or restored by St. Augustine (and this is the latest date assigned to it)—the identity in plan and character of the two Churches is more apparent than real. It must not be forgotten that the plan of St. Martin's is the combined result of buildings of two dates, so that, if any comparison be made, it points to the conclusion that St. Pancras is
a later copy of St. Martin's, or that the original St. Martin's was in part rebuilt, so that its plan conformed to that of St. Pancras. If we compare St. Pancras with either of the two early parts of St. Martin's, the identity breaks down. In the Nave of St. Martin's the side-chapels of St. Pancras are wanting, and no sign of a Western porch has been discovered ―while there is nothing in the Chancel of St. Pancras to correspond with the Adjunct in St. Martin's, nor with Mr. Livett's conjectural prolongation of the Chancel Walls westwards. With regard to the character of the masonry, there is no similarity between that of St. Pancras and that of the Nave of St. Martin's. There is more similarity in construction between St. Pancras and the Chancel of St. Martin's, but here too are points of difference that were pointed out to me by Mr. Livett. The walls of St. Pancras are only 1 ft. 10 in. in thickness: they are constructed almost entirely of broken bricks, roughly cut to a triangular shape and fitted together in the core, the interstices filled up with small bits of brick. The walls of St. Martin's are 2 ft. 2 in. thick, and contain a much larger proportion of whole bricks, about 12 ins. wide, laid side by side in each course, the interval between them being filled up with mortar and small stones. The walls of St. Pancras were coated in many parts with a pink plaster (thinner than that adhering to the Nave-walls of St. Martin's), but in the Chancel of St. Martin's not a single particle of pink wall plaster has ever been discovered.* It is fair, however, to mention that
*We may mention also the difference in the treatment of the division between Nave and Chancel. In St. Pancras there was a triple Chancel-arch-in St. Martin's the space is too narrow to admit of any such arrangement.
small portions of a flooring of opus signinum were found in the Adjunct of St. Martin's, resembling that existing in some parts of the Nave of St. Pancras.
I pass over as unworthy of serious discussion the argument that has sometimes been brought forward, viz., that St. Martin's cannot be a Roman Church because no Roman Churches have yet been discovered in this country, and it is not therefore likely that they exist!-an argument that was used at no remote period to prove, similarly, that there was no remaining Saxon work-also the contention that it is not Roman because its ground-plan does not tally with the ground-plan of the Roman Church at Silchester. In the first place, we do not yet know what the original ground-plan of St. Martin's was, and the question as to whether it possessed an Eastern or Western Apse, or even side-aisles in the Nave, has not been definitely settled. And, secondly, to contend that it cannot be Roman because it is unlike the Church at Silchester would be to limit the capabilities of Roman builders to one monotonous design, perpetually and exactly reproduced for a century or more, which would be contrary both to reason and experience.
There is, however, one objection remaining which must be faced, and which derives weight from the fact that it is put forward with all the scientific knowledge of a skilful architect. The Nave of the Church is described as "being built of old stuff used anyway just as it came to hand, and tells of a time when there were ruins near at which the builders were free to help themselves—a state of things unlikely in Roman Kent, but likely enough after the wars which accompanied the English occupation." This seems a forcible argument, but it is not in my opinion altogether