Minor Romano-British villa 320m ESE of Acton Scott 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'. 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 excavation the minor Romano-British villa 320m ESE of Acton Scott 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.
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 minor Romano-British villa situated on the upper south facing slopes of a ridge overlooking the valley of a tributary to the Eaton Brook. The villa survives as entirely buried structures, layers and deposits confirmed by partial excavation and is associated with a rectangular enclosure visible on aerial photographs as crop and soil marks and also confirmed by trial excavation. The villa building was first discovered in 1817 and first excavated in 1844. A building which measured approximately 31m long, by 12.5m wide was uncovered which contained nine or ten rooms and had extensions to the south and west sides. One room had a sunken concrete floor and painted plaster and was interpreted as the possible bath house. It appeared that the building had originally been an aisled barn which was later converted into a dwelling house and the discovery of a sandstone pillar suggested the presence of a colonnaded veranda. Other finds included roof and flue tiles, iron clamps, a key, a horseshoe, spur, pottery, animal bones and oyster shells. It is one of only eight villas known to surround the Roman settlement of Wroxeter. In the same field as the villa a rectangular enclosure has been identified this is defined by a single ditch and has a southern entrance. Partial excavations in 1997 and 2004 of the ditch have produced Romano- British pottery and building materials including brick, tile, tegula and hypocaust pieces.