Roman villa N of Limnerslease, Down Lane
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002977
Date first listed: 16-Nov-1934
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Guildford (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 95732 47966
Roman villa, 135 metres NNE of Limnerslease.
Reasons for Designation
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, 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, 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. 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. 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. As a very diverse and often long-lived type of monument, a significant proportion of the known population are identified as nationally important.
The Roman villa 135 metres NNE of Limnerslease survives well and has been shown by partial excavation to contain significant archaeological information relating to the construction, occupation and history of the site. It will also contain environmental information relating to the villa and the landscape in which it was constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 November 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 the remains of a minor Roman villa situated on a gentle south-east facing slope, east of the A3 road. The villa largely survives as buried remains although an area of about 5m sq is visible above ground. These upstanding remains include flint walls and a red tile tessellated pavement. The villa covers an area of at least 16m by 23m and includes two corridors with seven rooms and baths at the eastern end. The site was partially excavated by the Surrey Archaeological Society in 1914. The finds included Roman pottery dating from the second century to the fourth century AD, bronze artefacts, and coins dating from AD 313 to 378. In 1931, Iron Age pottery and a cremation urn were found at the base of a hearth to the south-west during the construction of the Guildford Bypass.
The upstanding remains are also listed Grade II.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SU 95
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Books and journals
Haverfield, F, Roman Britain in 1914, (1915)
Surrey HER 1630. NMR SU94NE17, SU94NE1. PastScape 250238, 250178.
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