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Roman villa south of Hill Farm

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Roman villa south of Hill Farm

List entry Number: 1008893

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Epping Forest

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Lambourne

County: Essex

District: Epping Forest

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Theydon Bois

County: Essex

District: Epping Forest

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Theydon Garnon

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 11-Nov-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Aug-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24857

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. The latter were a very small group of extremely substantial and opulent villas built by the very wealthiest members of Romano-British society. 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 south of Hill Farm survives well. Only a small percentage of the known area of the site was excavated leaving the majority of the site undisturbed. The excavations indicated that the remaining masonry and floor levels preserve the internal layout of the main villa building with a substantial depth of deposits in some areas. The buildings are on a large scale and suggest that the villa was one of the richest in this area of Essex. The Roman villa south of Hill Farm retains information which is valuable in our understanding of the life style and economy of the Romano-British aristocracy during an interesting period of adjustment to colonial rule.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the remains of a Roman villa situated on a south facing slope overlooking the River Roding. A complex of substantial buried masonry buildings with walls between 0.6m and 1.4m thick with hypocaust system and tessellated floors is known from the partial excavation of the site. These are surrounded by an area of occupation which has been identified from a spread of pottery and tile on the ground surface which extends to the north, east and west. To the south the scatter of material representing the main buildings extends as far as the river. A bronze vase and lead ossuary (container for bones) were found in the vicinity of the buildings in 1863. In 1966 a spread of Roman roof and hypocaust tiles was found during field survey and in 1967 and 1968 the site was partially excavated. Pottery sherds recovered from the excavations showed that the villa site had been occupied throughout the Roman period up until the fourth century. All fences and fenceposts are excluded from the monument although the ground beneath these is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Brooks, R T, 'Essex Journal' in The Roman Villa at Hill Farm, Abridge, , Vol. Vol 12, (1977), 51-61
Other
Clark, F R, (1993)

National Grid Reference: TQ 47252 97701

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008893 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2017 at 02:44:45.

End of official listing