Roman settlement and associated industrial remains and field system north-east of Winthill Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008296
Date first listed: 02-Oct-1967
Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jun-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 39693 58445
Reasons for Designation
The site at Winthill Farm is an example of a small Roman lead mining settlement with associated agricultural remains. Such sites are a rare occurrence nationally though several are known to exist in the area in and immediately surrounding the Mendip Hills. Lead mining was an important aspect of the Roman economy: lead and tin were alloyed with copper to make bronze, or with each other for pewter or solder. Lead on its own was invaluable for sealing roofs or water tanks, and for making pipes for use in the construction of water supply systems and baths. The area in and around the Mendip Hills is important for understanding the role of industrial processes in the Roman economy. Sites such as that at Winthill Farm are particularly valuable as they survive in the form of earthwork remains and are known from previous partial excavation to contain archaeological evidence relating to the site's occupation and use.
The monument includes a series of well-defined earthworks and building
platforms which represent a Roman settlement comprising a centrally placed
structure 10m square, its associated industrial remains, and a field system,
situated on a steep south-facing slope overlooking the Lox Yeo River. A coin
hoard dating to the middle of the fourth century AD was recovered from beneath
the stone floor slabs of the structure during partial excavation in 1950,
confirming a Roman date. A large quantity of Roman pottery and further coins
dating from the mid fourth century have also been recovered from the area of
the site in addition to a rare inscribed Rhenish glass bowl and evidence for
industrial and agricultural activity.
Earthworks surrounding the settlement include a series of terraces cut into
the hillside, providing levelled areas used for building platforms. Also
surrounding the settlement is a series of clearly defined field boundaries and
lynchets, some of the lynchets standing to a height of c.0.5m. The modern
field boundaries in the south and east of the monument are likely to follow
the courses of earlier Roman boundaries, as pottery dating from AD 40-80 has
been recovered from one of the lynchets, demonstrating its early origins.
A large linear quarry or lead rake running north-south through the centre of
the monument immediately west of the settlement, together with excavated
evidence for metal smelting, suggests that industrial activity was important
here and may have been the main function of the settlement.
Burials from the site have been variously described as Roman and medieval. In
view of the strong Roman connection for the settlement, a Roman date for these
features is believed most likely.
The free standing wall is excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath it is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 22814
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Hunt, J E, 'Journal of the Axbridge Caving Gp Archaeol Soc' in Excavations at Winthill, Somerset, , Vol. 3(ii), (1957), 5
Hunt, J E, 'Journal of Axbridge Caving Gp Archaeol Soc' in Excavations at Winthill 1954-56, , Vol. 3(ii), (1957), 5
Details of results of excavations, Details of results of excavations,
Results of excavations, Results of excavations,
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