By Geoffrey Morse Binnie
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Here also there appear to be remnants of stone pitching used for slope protection. The gulley appears to be the remains of a gated spillway. Both dams ceased to be maintained after the monastic period and have not been used subsequently. Considering that impounding probably lasted until the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century, unusual features are the absence of any obvious signs of silting up of the reservoirs. Ploughing without terracing w o u l d have caused soil erosion and this suggests that in monastic times the catchment areas were used mainly for animal husbandry.
Orange sand 10. Light grey clay 1 1 . Hard yellow sand with grey clay lumps 12. 28. Hammer Mill dam, Biddenden H o w e v e r , the distribution of materials is not entirely haphazard. It is interesting that, in the lower part of the e m b a n k m e n t , a core was constructed of sand with clay lumps, stone toes on each side having been built first, also that the precaution was taken of removing turf and top soil so that the core should rest directly in contact with the underlying clay, thus conforming in some respects w i t h good earth dam design practice.
26. Horsmonden hammer pond William C a m d e n observed in the Weald in the 1590s that 'there be furnaces on every side . . to which purpose divers brooks in m a n y places are brought to run in one channel, and sundry meadows t u r n e d into pools and waters, that they might be of p o w e r sufficient to drive h a m m e r mills, which beating u p o n the iron, resounded all over the place adjoining'. C a m d e n also observed that 'a huge deal of w o o d is yearly s p e n t ' . H o w e v e r , A b r a h a m D a r b y of Coalbrookdale in Shropshire discovered m 1709 h o w to substitute pit coal for the costly charcoal in blast furnaces which, with further improvements b y his son c.