Romano-British villa south east of Great Barrington


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
Centred on NGR SP2171313237, circa 0.66km SE of Barrington Farm, just north of the River Windrush.


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

Location Description:
Centred on NGR SP2171313237, circa 0.66km SE of Barrington Farm, just north of the River Windrush.
Cotswold (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


The buried and earthwork remains of a Romano-British villa, its associated outbuildings and trackway, on elevated land just north of the River Windrush.

Reasons for Designation

The Romano-British villa East of Great Barrington is included on the Schedule of Ancient Monuments for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: a good example of a Romano-British villa which survives well in the form of earthworks and buried archaeological features; * Potential: the site has been subject only to antiquarian investigation, so there is clear potential remaining for future excavation to discover valuable information relating to both the development of the villa as a whole, and the function and occupation of the individual structures.


Romano-British villas were extensive rural settlements of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings that were constructed throughout the Roman period, from the first to the fourth centuries AD. One of the key criteria of a villa is that it was a rural establishment, independent of larger settlements. They seem to have been a fundamental part of the model of Romanisation, with the spread of a villa-owning elite typically at the centre of an agricultural estate. Villas are often thought of as high-status buildings, with hypocausts, architectural ornamentation and baths as common features. Interestingly though, most excavated sites in Britain appear to have developed from simpler, perhaps ‘lower status’, to ‘higher status’ or more substantial buildings. The term 'villa' is now commonly used to describe either the estate or the buildings themselves.

Villas are found throughout lowland Britain and occasionally beyond. The least elaborate served as simple farmhouses whilst, for the most complex, the term 'palace' is not inappropriate. Most 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. Ancillary buildings may include workshops, storage for agricultural produce and accommodation for farm labourers and were typically arranged around or alongside a courtyard, surrounded by paddocks, pens, yards and features such as granaries, threshing floors, wells and hearths.

Examples of villas within the Cotswold Hills area are likely to have been occupied by local groups who probably used the Romanised language of architecture and lifestyle as an indicator of status. Although villas are generally interpreted as being at the centre of a wider estate, there is very little evidence of the extent and nature of these estates available from aerial photographs.

The existence of the villa to the south east of Great Barrington is likely to have been recognised from at least the C18, as it survives in part as earthworks, and these show some possible evidence of early antiquarian excavation. Notes from the Ordnance Survey (undated) record that Roman tiles, tesserae and wall plaster, possibly found on this site in 1931, were at that time in Gloucester City Museum. Only that part of the site within the western field was first identified; the eastern part of the site, beyond the modern hedge-line, was identified from aerial photographs of 1946, 1961 and 1970, and mapped as part of English Heritage's National Mapping Programme for the Cotswold Hills (2009); it includes evidence of further buildings, together with a trackway which may date from before the Roman period. It was probably occupied at some time between the second and fourth centuries AD.


The site is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs and includes a villa with associated buildings and trackway. The villa is likely to have been occupied at some time between the second and fourth centuries AD, but no more precise date is discernible from the visible remains, which have not been excavated in modern times. The site may also provide evidence for its occupation and use following its principal period of occupation during the Romano-British period. Roman tiles, tesserae and wall plaster were possibly found on this site in 1931, and more recent damage by rabbits and moles has indicated that the site was clearly domestic, with rubble stone, Roman tile, tesserae and pottery regularly emerging at the surface. The site is centred on SP 2168 1323 and extends over 415 metres east-west and 400 metres north-south. The site comprises four probable buildings, three of which are defined by building platforms and one is defined by walls, indicated by linear earthworks.

The largest building platform is visible as an earthwork and is centred on SP 2168 1322 and measures 108 metres long and a maximum of 46 metres wide. Its longer axis extends east-west, and it is amorphous in shape, though roughly rectilinear at its western end. The mound is disturbed, with several holes in the top which could be the result of early antiquarian excavation. A further probable section of this building platform is located circa 10 metres to the west of the western end. It has been divided from the main portion of the building platform by a modern hedgerow, removed on aerial photographs taken in 1970 and visible as a cropmark. This additional section of the building platform measures 36 metres long and 10 metres wide. The northern building platform is defined by an earthwork, and is centred on SP 2174 1329. It was visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs taken in 1946, but is visible as a cropmark of a stonework or rubble deposit on aerial photographs taken in 1961; it remains just discernible on the ground. It extends over an area which measures 88 metres east-west and a maximum of 42 metres north-south. The building platform is amorphous in shape, and seems to have been disturbed, or may have originally been more than one building.

The eastern building platform is defined by a cropmark in an arable field. It is centred on SP 2159 1322 and comprises a sub-circular area of stonework or rubble which measures circa 31 metres is diameter.

A trackway, defined partly by cropmarks and partly by an earthwork which is levelled on later photographs extends past the southern edge of the eastern building platform. The northern section of the trackway is oriented north-south, and it changes orientation to NNW-SSE as it bends past the edge of the eastern building platform.

The western building is defined by a wall, indicated by a J-shaped linear bank. It is centred on SP 2159 1322 and extending over an area which measures 70 metres long by 20 metres wide. The longer axis of the building extends east-west, and the western end of the J forms three sides of an enclosure which measures circa 18 metres square. A trackway defined by a pair of parallel drainage ditches extends up to the western building. It is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs taken in the 1930s, and as cropmarks on aerial photographs taken in 1946. The trackway extends between SP 2157 1321 and SP 2161 1316, and is oriented NW-SE. The drainage ditches measure 3.6 metres apart, and less than 2 metres in width. The trackway is cut by the modern pattern of drainage ditches.


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

Legacy System number:
GC 104
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), , Ancient and Historical Monuments in the County of Gloucester Volume One: Iron Age and Romano-British Monuments in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, (1976), 12, plate 50
Gloucestershire Historic Environment Record Summart Report for Area 364 - Roman Villa E of Great Barrington,
National Monuments Record Monument Report - Great Barrington Villa, 332436,


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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