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Teynham  and  Dvrolevum

Britain was invaded and later taken by the Romans.  In the years that followed the newcomers began a major road building programme and amongst those was one that ran from Dover to London, later to be called Watling Street, but now more commonly known as the A.2.  It is one of the most used roads in the area. It was a fairly busy road in Roman times too and to help the many travellers that used it, posting stations were built at regular spots along its route.  At these places a traveller could change horses, rest and eat;  a kind of ancient motorway service area.  Some of these stations were to develop into towns and cities.

After three hundred years of Roman rule, Britain was then subject to another invasion, this time from the Anglo-Saxons and Jutes.  They took the country and by doing so isolated the nation from the rest of Europe.  Travel to and from Rome and the rest of the Continent stopped and with it the need for roads and posting stations ceased. Many fell into disuse and were abandoned. Things began to alter after the year 597 A.D. for in this year Augustine landed at Herne Bay.  He had been sent by Pope Gregory to convert the heathen English to Christianity. He did after a time accomplish this and so through the Church, England was once more back in contact with the rest of Europe and travel to and from the Continent started again.  The old Dover to London Road was being used once more. By this time some of the old posting stations had long outgrown their original purpose and had become towns and cities.  One such place which had been called Durovernum by the Romans had become the capital of Kent and was known as Canterbury.  Another one whose name had been Dvrobnvae was by now known as Rochester.  In between these two there had been another posting station that never survived; its name had been Dvrolevum.

There have been many attempts by a number of historians through the years to identify exactly where it stood. Ospringe, Stone, Bapchild, Sittingbourne, Newington and other places have been put forward as possible sites of Dvrolevum. There was a time when Teynham was suggested as being the area where the missing station stood.  

The last posting station of DVROLEVUM is a mystery that may never be solved.  There is very little evidence to prove that it ever existed;  indeed some historians have gone so far as to say there never was such a place. However, most antiquarians are of the opinion that it was built for it would certainly have been needed in between DVROVERNUM (Canterbury) and DVROBRIVAE (Rochester). In the first part of this article, I mentioned a few places that had been put forward as possible sites, one of them was the Ospringe area.  Although at times other places have been suggested, Ospringe has always remained a steady favourite. At different periods in the Eighteenth Century Newington, Bapchild and Ospringe were considered by historians as sites of the lost station but by Victorian days these were pushed aside for a new favourite, TEYNHAM! 

If anyone had doubts about where the Roman buildings stood it certainly was not the Ordnance Survey people.  There on their maps on the outskirts of Teynham was an area called DVROLEVUM! Someone had blundered!  Hardly had the maps been printed than they were being disputed.  One well known local archaeologist at that time, Mr. George Payne, made enquiries into the Ordnance Survey to try and find out who was responsible for the error;  he drew a blank.  Why the Ordnance Survey committed themselves is a puzzle.  No Roman remains had been found in the field they had called DVROLEVUM.  Needless to say Teynham soon lost favour. Elizabeth Selby in her book 'Teynham Manor and Hundred' deals very lightly with Roman times and doesn't put forward the theory of our village being the° lost station.  In fact she quotes it as being in the Syndale Hill area. So the search for DVROLEVUM continues.  Somewhere buried in between Canterbury and Rochester is a little bit of history that has intrigued people for over fifteen hundred years.

Colin C Baker

Teynham and Dvrolevum