Romano-British settlement at Church Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005813
Date first listed: 06-Sep-1977
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: West Sussex
District: Chichester (District Authority)
National Park: SOUTH DOWNS
National Grid Reference: SU 96026 16563
Roman villa, 103m east of Manor Farmhouse.
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 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 and are usually complex structures occupied over several hundred years and continually remodelled to fit changing circumstances. 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.
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. As a very diverse and often long-lived type of monument, a significant proportion of the known population are identified as nationally important.
Despite some disturbance from cultivation in the past, the Roman villa, 103m east of Manor Farmhouse, survives well. It has been shown by partial excavation to contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the villa and the landscape in which it was constructed. The Roman building remains have been shown to be more extensive then those uncovered in the early 19th century excavations, and as such the site has considerable potential for further archaeological investigation using modern methods and techniques. Past cultivation on the site is not thought to have been of sufficient depth to cause significant damage to the foundations of the villa.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 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 a minor Roman villa surviving as below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on gently sloping ground south of Duncton, near the northern escarpment of the South Downs.
Having been partially excavated between 1812 and 1816, following the recovery of Roman flue tiles and other surface material, the villa is known to include the foundations of a bathhouse or bath complex including a hypocaust, which was separated into two divisions with six flues. The building was shown to extend further to the north and west but these areas were not excavated. Since the early 19th century, cultivation has repeatedly revealed dense surface traces of Roman material including brick, tile, stone, oyster shells and Roman pottery sherds. In the south-west area of the site medieval pottery sherds have also been found.
In 1975, an earthwork denoted by a lynchet slope with an apparent ditch or hollow way on one side, was identified extending south and then east from Manor Farm (previously known as Church Farm) and may be associated with the villa.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this monument, such as the site of a deserted medieval village, 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: WS 454
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
West Sussex HER 1579 - MWS3362. NMR SU91NE9. PastScape 249297
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