Romano-British building S of Burch's Rough
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1004216
Date first listed: 25-Apr-1977
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Ashford (District Authority)
District: Shepway (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TR 08687 36130
Roman villa 750m south-east of Middle Park Farm.
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 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. The latter were a very small group of extremely substantial and opulent villas built by the very wealthiest members of Romano-British society. 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. As a very diverse and often long-lived type of monument, a significant proportion of the known population are identified as nationally important.
Despite cultivation on the site in the past, the Roman villa 750m south-east of Middle Park Farm survives well. The site has only been partially excavated and retains potential for further archaeological investigation. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and history of the villa, and to the landscape in which it was constructed.
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.
The monument includes a Roman villa surviving as buried remains. It is situated on a north-west facing slope above a tributary of the East Stour River near Court-at-Street.
The villa has cemented ragstone wall foundations and is thought to have the remains of tessellated floors. It was discovered in 1972 when a 2m by 1.5m trench was dug, uncovering what is considered to be a substantial building. The finds included Roman pottery, coins dating between 289 and 350 AD, and small marble tesserae. Surface scatters of flint, tile and brick have been observed on the site following cultivation.
Aerial photographs indicate a rectilinear crop mark, which may be associated with the villa. The course of a Roman road, running from Maidstone to Dover via Lympne, is located just over 550m to the south.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: KE 307
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Kent HER TR 03 NE 24. NMR TR 03 NE 24. PastScape 462925.,
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