Remains of Roman villa, Titsey Park
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005948
Date first listed: 30-Nov-1925
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Tandridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TQ 40473 54556
Roman Villa, 455m east of Limpsfield Lodge Farm in Titsey Park
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. 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. The Roman Villa at Titsey has been shown by excavation to retain good survival of archaeological remains relating to its construction and use. It will also contain environmental information relating to the villa and the landscape in which it was built. The association of the villa with a broadly contemporary Romano-Celtic temple, a Roman Road and other archaeological finds from the area will serve to enhance our understanding of Roman settlement and land-use in this part of Surrey.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17/10/14. 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.
DESCRIPTION The monument includes a minor Roman villa surviving as buried remains situated on a clay rise, which forms part of the Surrey Hills. The villa is laid out on a corridor plan and covers an area of at least 38m north-east to south-west by 18m north-west to south-east. It was partially excavated between 1864 and 1893 with further partial excavation and geophysical survey between 1996 and 1997. These investigations uncovered patches of tessellated paving and sections of wall, up to 0.6m high. Other material included Samian, Castor and coarse ware pottery; glass, iron and bronze objects; and several coins. The site includes a complex of buildings with a long boundary wall to the south-east, enclosing a central courtyard or garden area. The excavations indicated that the villa was destroyed by fire. Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this monument, such as two Roman ‘fishpond’ features, but are not included because they have not been formally assessed. Evidence of pre-Roman occupation was provided by Prehistoric flint flakes, worked bones and Iron Age pottery sherds. The site is within the bounds of Titsey Place, a registered Park and Garden. A Romano-Celtic temple is situated 1.6km to the north-east on the Roman road that stretched from London to Lewes.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SU 64
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Surrey HER 1344, 2584, 2585, 2586, 5247. NMR TQ45SW3. PastScape 407426.
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