Roman villa 150yds (140m) SE of Lea Hall
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006246
Date first listed: 30-Jul-1973
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SJ 41802 08484
Minor Romano-British villa 190m south-east of Lea Hall 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. 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 excavations and some cultivation the part of a minor Romano-British villa 190m south east of Lea Hall Farm survives comparatively well and 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.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 June 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a Romano-British villa situated on the floodplain and western bank of the Red Brook. The villa survives as buried structures, layers and deposits confirmed by partial excavation. First discovered in 1793 the first excavations revealed several rooms, although no plan was made. One room contained a square mosaic which measured approximately 4.2m across and had a geometric design (this was later drawn by architect, civil engineer and county surveyor Thomas Telford). Beneath the mosaic was a pillared hypocaust. Other finds included flue tiles, lead piping, a stone gutter and black pottery. Subsequently a number of further excavations have been carried out by the Shropshire Archaeological Society including seasons in 1956-7, 1969 and during the 1970’s. These have suggested the earliest excavations discovered the bath house probably of 2nd century origin by the associated pottery and high quality masonry. The foundations of the bath house were later re-used for a building of entirely different purpose and a barn was added. In the final identified phase of activity – probably the 3rd century – a corn dryer was inserted into this barn. Un-stratified pottery from across the site attests to occupation dates from the 2nd to 4th centuries and includes brick, tile and burnt material.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SA 304
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Shropshire HER 01057
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