Settlement one mile (1610m) E of village
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005135
Date first listed: 16-Apr-1980
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Thanet (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TR 32653 67820
Rectangular enclosure and trackway, 322m south-west of The Granary.
Reasons for Designation
The rectangular enclosure and trackway south-west of Woodchurch are thought to be the buried remains of a Roman villa. There are also possible cropmarks indicating an Iron Age farmstead pre-dating the villa. On modern arable sites, where cultivation has taken place, the earthworks of archaeological monuments are sometimes levelled or the ditches in-filled and can instead be identified as crop and soil marks. These occur due to differential crop growth (crop marks) or differences in soil colour (soil marks) as a result of buried archaeological features. Where these have been excavated, they are often shown to contain significant archaeological remains and deposits surviving below the modern ground level.
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. 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 rectangular enclosure and trackway south-west of Woodchurch survive well as visible crop marks. The site has not been excavated and retains potential for further archaeological investigation, which will provide information regarding the exact nature of the archaeological remains and the past occupation and management of the landscape in this part of Kent.. The features will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the cropmarks and the landscape in which they were created.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 8 September 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 a rectangular enclosure and trackway surviving as buried remains. It is situated on gently sloping ground south-west of Woodchurch on the Isle of Thanet.
The features have been recorded as crop marks on aerial photographs and are considered to be the remains of a Roman villa. The rectangular enclosure is denoted by three ditches, which are now infilled and survive as buried features. It is orientated WSW to ENE and is approximately 137m long and 109m wide. The ditches are several metres apart. The innermost ditch encloses an area of approximately 56m by 55m. It is approached by a trackway, at a right angle to the enclosure, from the NNW. The trackway survives as a buried feature but is visible as a cropmark over 100m long and approximately 5m wide. There are also several pits or postholes surviving as cropmarks, including two circular concentrations which is thought to relate to an Iron Age farmstead that predates the Roman villa.
The site was recorded as part of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) Kent Mapping Project carried out in 1986-7. This produced 1:10,000 scale depictions of crop marks identified on oblique and vertical aerial photographs taken across Kent.
Further archaeological remains, including ring ditches, survive in the vicinity of this site but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: KE 365
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Kent HER TR 36 NW 51. NMR TR 36 NW 51. PastScape 469261,
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