Colliton Park Roman house


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 68954 90963


Roman town house in Colliton Park immediately north of County Hall.

Reasons for Designation

The importance of this building cannot be over emphasised since it is the only Roman town house on view in Britain and has revealed a great deal of information regarding the development, construction, functions and organisation of the dwelling house within a Romano-British town.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 December 2015. 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 Roman town house situated in the north western corner of the Roman town of Dorchester overlooking the River Frome. The town house was one of eight buildings found in Colliton Park by Drew and Collingwood Selby prior to the construction of a new County Hall and excavated in 1937-8. ‘Building 1’ survives as two separate ranges of stone buildings which were never directly interconnecting, aligned east to west and north to south. These had undergone a series of developmental changes through time. There was also evidence for an L-shaped post built timber building which may have contained the kitchen but which was demolished in the 4th century and covered with cobbles. The western range contained the eight living rooms, with the bath suite and service rooms to the south. The walls were constructed of flint and the roof was originally stone tiled. There were eight tessellated floors and two rooms had hypocausts. An unlined well was sunk through the forecourt and is protected but still visible. The walls survive to a height of 1.9m and are laid in herringbone courses. They were originally plastered and painted both internally and externally. Additional architectural features included stone column bases, hearths and ovens. The artefacts recovered included a decorative chair leg of Kimmeridge shale and decorated pottery. These indicate a date for the dwelling of between the 3rd and 4th centuries with apparent abandonment by about AD 375. The surviving walls, well and the covered tessellated floors and hypocausts remain open to inspection. This is the only Roman town house visible in Britain. The Roman town house is Listed Grade I.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
DO 141
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-453300


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

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