In the 1890s, Mr Arthur Challis and his wife, Fanny, were having a house built in Albert Road, Ashford – a 2 minute walk from the town centre. Look at the date; look at the road name. So far, so Victorian.
However, in laying the foundations, the workmen found a Roman interment consisting of a large cinerary urn containing bones, together with a small, fragile redware cup with a fluted rim. There was also a goblet of redware with a handle, another cup, another patera (as found at King’s Wood) of Samian ware, another of Upchurch ware and three other vessels in fragments. These are believed to be from another cremation dated from between the 1st to the 3rd century AD.
We know that iron ore was mined in the Weald and transported to Ashford where two ironworks processed the ore into a workable metal. Further archaeological studies point to the probability of a Roman town located around the Albert Road/ Upper Queen’s Road area.
The census itself is interesting to look at, observing the variety of occupations and the type and number of servants these middle class houses had in 1891.