Roman villa E of Beddington Park
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1001990
Date first listed: 30-Jun-1972
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: Sutton (London Borough)
National Grid Reference: TQ 29793 65686
Prehistoric enclosed settlement and minor Roman-British villa, 383m north-east of 9 Beddington Park Cottages.
Reasons for Designation
The earliest occupation on the site includes the remains of a prehistoric enclosed settlement dating from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age. The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably from single farmsteads up to large semi-urban oppida. Farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain pits or rectangular post-built structures for the storage of grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding.
Despite having been part-destroyed and disturbed in the past the prehistoric enclosed settlement 383m north-east of 9 Beddington Park Cottage survives well. It will contain further archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and to the landscape in which it was constructed.
In the Roman period, a minor Romano-British villa was built on the site. Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates at the focus of which were groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings. The term "villa" is now commonly used to describe either the estate or the buildings themselves. The buildings usually include a well-appointed dwelling house, which was partly or wholly stone-built, commonly with a timber-framed superstructure on masonry footings. Roofs were generally tiled and the house could feature tiled or mosaic floors, underfloor heating, wall plaster, glazed windows and cellars. Many had integral or separate suites of heated baths. The house was usually accompanied by a range of buildings providing accommodation for farm labourers, workshops and storage for agricultural produce. These were arranged around or alongside a courtyard and were surrounded by a complex of paddocks, pens, yards and features such as vegetable plots, granaries, threshing floors, wells and hearths, all approached by tracks leading from the surrounding fields. Villa buildings were constructed throughout the period of Roman occupation, from the first to the fourth centuries AD. Villa owners tended to be drawn from a limited elite section of Romano-British society. Although some villas belonged to immigrant Roman officials or entrepreneurs, the majority seem to have been in the hands of wealthy natives with a more-or-less Romanised lifestyle, and some were built directly on the sites of Iron Age farmsteads. They are found throughout lowland Britain and occasionally beyond. Roman villas provide a valuable index of the rate, extent and degree to which native British society became Romanised, as well as indicating the sources of inspiration behind changes of taste and custom.
Despite having been part-destroyed and disturbed in the past, the minor Roman-British villa, 383m north-east of 9 Beddington Park Cottage survives well. It will contain further archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and to the landscape in which it was constructed. The prehistoric settlement and villa represent occupation and settlement spanning a period of well over 1000 years. The significance of the site is greatly enhanced through the inter-relationship and continuity between the different types of settlement remains.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 June 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a prehistoric enclosed settlement and a minor Romano-British villa surviving as archaeological remains. It is situated on low-lying flat ground east of Beddington Park and is preserved beneath the sludge drying beds of Beddington Sewage Farm.
In 1736, Roman foundations, pottery and stone were discovered during ploughing. The site subsequently underwent partial excavation. A prehistoric enclosed settlement of later Bronze Age and Iron Age date is located to the south of the Roman villa. Partial excavation revealed hut circles, postholes and ditches within an enclosure ditch. The field boundaries of a field system have been recorded surrounding the settlement. The finds associated with the settlement included Late Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery, perforated clay slabs, loom weights, metalwork such as awls and rings, and several antler artefacts. Early Roman finds provided evidence for continuity of occupation into the Roman period.
A minor Romano-British villa of corridor plan is situated to the north of the earlier settlement but has been partly destroyed by the construction of deep sludge tanks in the early 20th century. The walls survive as foundations built of tufa on unmortared flint pebbles. The building evolved through the Roman period with the addition of wings and a central porch. One room contains a channelled hypocaust. The associated finds suggest a broad period of occupation from the 1st to the 4th century AD. They include samian and castor ware pottery, a unique form of open pottery lamp and Roman coins ranging from Commodus (A.D 190-92) to Constantine (A.D. 306-37). The postholes of three timber farm buildings, the clay wall of an outbuilding and a well were also uncovered. The back-filled well is 3m deep with a lower lining of timber planks and upper lining of tufa and chalk blocks. A horse’s skull, Roman pottery, Roman boots and thonged sandals were recovered from the bottom of the well. A bathhouse was added to the west of the villa in about AD 350. The walls of the bathhouse survive up to 1m high and include a thick layer of opus signum. There is a tiled floor and a detached cold bath. It was separated from the villa by a cobbled yard and may have joined it via a corridor. The villa is thought to have gone out of use by about AD 400 after which some of the building materials were robbed out.
The site was ploughed in the medieval and post medieval periods. Following the discovery of Roman remains in the 18th century, it was partially excavated in 1871, 1951-2, 1959-62, 1981-1990, 1992 and 1995. The finds from the site also included worked flint, a Mesolithic or Neolithic mattock of red deer antler, part of a Neolithic axe, a Bronze Age perforated hammer head, several inhumations of uncertain date and a medieval silver penny of Athelstan (AD 925-40).
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: LO 112
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Greater London SMR 020577/00/00, 020577/01/00, 020575/00/00, 020576/00/00, 020577/03/00, 020577/02/001, 020577/06/00, 020577/02/00, 020577/04/00, 020577/05/00, 020575/02/00, 030410/00/00, 020576/01/00, 020573/00/00, 020579/00/00, 020572/00/00, 020574/00/00, 030353/00/00. NMR TQ26NE24. PastScape 400597,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing