Roman villa N of Stowey Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1006183

Date first listed: 18-Nov-1954


Ordnance survey map of Roman villa N of Stowey Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: South Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Pitney

National Grid Reference: ST 45085 30080


Minor Romano British villa 100m south west of Roman Farm.

Reasons for Designation

Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates with groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings at their focus. 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, under-floor 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. 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. Despite partial early excavation the minor Romano British villa 100m south west of Roman Farm will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social, political and economic significance, agricultural practices, trade, industrial activity, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 13 August 2015. 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.

This monument includes a minor Romano British villa situated on the northern slope of a steep hill overlooking the Leazemoor Rhyne and River Cary. The villa survives as predominantly buried structures, deposits and layers with a few slight earthworks visible as surface remains. It was partially excavated by Samuel Hassell in 1828-9 and he uncovered a courtyard style dwelling house measuring approximately 99m by 64m with the principal rooms and main corridor located to the west of the courtyard, a range of rooms culminating in a bath block to the south and to the east a further range, possibly the servants’ quarters. Finds included figured mosaics, painted plaster, lead pipes for water and hypocausts. To the east of the dwelling a further building, likened in size to a dovecote contained tiles, fragmentary inscriptions, pieces of lachrymatories, human skeletons and some coins. One inscription from the villa read ‘Vixisin Triginta QV<>ecapi Nonoa’ .Occupation of the villa dated from the 3rd to 4th centuries AD. It is known locally as ‘The Pitney Villa’.


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

Legacy System number: SO 275

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:-194019

End of official listing