Roman villa 725yds (660m) SE of Neville Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002834
Date first listed: 16-Nov-1960
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Dorset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 53363 07632
Part of a minor Romano British villa 675m south-east of Neville Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates with groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings at their focus. 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, the design of which varies considerably according to the needs, taste and prosperity of the occupier. Most of the houses were partly or wholly stone-built, many with a timber-framed superstructure on masonry footings. Roofs were generally tiled and the house could feature tiled or mosaic floors, under-floor 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. They are usually complex structures occupied over several hundred years and continually remodelled to fit changing circumstances. They could serve a wide variety of uses alongside agricultural activities, including administrative, recreational and craft functions, and this is reflected in the considerable diversity in their plan. The least elaborate villas served as simple farmhouses whilst, for the most complex, the term "palace" is not inappropriate. 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. Roman villa buildings are widespread, with between 400 and 1000 examples recorded nationally. The majority of these are classified as `minor' villas to distinguish them from `major' villas. Minor villas 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. In addition, they serve to illustrate the agrarian and economic history of the Roman province, allowing comparisons over wide areas both within and beyond Britain. Although much is already known about the part of a minor Romano British Villa 675m south east of Neville Farm further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social, political and economic significance, agricultural practices, trade, industrial activity, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context will be retained.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 January 2016. This 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.
This monument includes part of a minor Romano British villa situated on gently sloping land between two tributaries to the River Yeo. The villa survives as largely buried deposits, layers and structures with a few visible scarps as earthworks. A tessellated pavement was first discovered in 1818 and the mosaic was composed of blue, red, black and white tesserae in a geometrical pattern. Excavations carried out from 1967 until 1985 suggested the villa which was occupied between the 2nd to 4th centuries included a rectangular arrangement of buildings and other features surrounding two courtyards which overlay an earlier Iron Age farmstead defended by ditches and containing round houses which produced considerable quantities of Late Iron Age and Romano British pottery. A barn with corn driers and a bath suite lay to the north of Common Lane which cuts through the villa complex. Hypocausts and other mosaics were recovered in this area. The villa was found to have had several phases of building development from the 1st century onwards. The foundations of the barn and a passage are still visible as slight surface remains otherwise the excavated areas have been back filled. It is also known as ‘Halstock Roman Villa’.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 425
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-195721
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