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OE wyrtig, adj: Garden-like, full of plants;
On anum wyrtige hamme, Homl. Skt. ii. 30:312




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Abbey Farm Villa,  Isle of Thanet

Felix  frumentariis  campis

Schematic of Abbey Farm Villa
Abbey Farm Villa

Abbey Farm Villa was located on the Isle of Thanet, which was described in about 250 CE by the Roman scholar Solinus as felix frumentariis campis -- glad with fertile fields.

Abbey Farm's winged corridor villa, which looked out over the Wanstum Channel to mainland Kent, was less than a half mile from Thanet's coast. The u-shaped residence surrounded the north, east, and west sides of a front garden that had its own well and graveled paths.

The villa and its courtyard garden were located within a larger farmstead surrounded by a high wall. A wide gate opened to the south. A paved road passed through this gate, crossed the farmyard, and bisected the enclosed garden nearer the house.

The floor plan of most villas, including Abbey Farm Villa, can be determined from masonry footings that have survived in spite of weathering, plowing, and the  robbing of stone for use in other buildings.

As is true for most villas in Roman Britain, above-ground remains, whether of wood or masonry, have for the most part disappeared. Fragments of brick and stone, pieces of wall plaster, panes of glass -- these provide hints, but only hints, about the above ground appearance of the villa.

Working with these hints, the Kent Archaeological Society has developed a drawing of what Abbey Farm villa may have looked like. Such reconstructions always involve some informed guesswork, which explains why this drawing is captioned, "The Abbey Farm Villa - Did it look like this?"





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Botanists are among those who know that, in spite of the rude shocks of life,
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F.D. Drewitt


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