Clatterford Roman Villa


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009390

Date first listed: 10-Oct-1994


Ordnance survey map of Clatterford Roman Villa
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 19:16:39.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Newport

National Grid Reference: SZ 48001 87396

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.

Despite having been ploughed over and the walls having been partially robbed out by local farmers in the past, the Roman villa at Clatterford survives well and is known from geophysical survey and the recovery of finds to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the villa and the landscape in which it was constructed. This villa is one of only seven to have been identified on the Isle of Wight.


The monument includes a Roman villa and associated features situated on a south east facing slope and adjacent valley bottom. The main villa building lies on the lower slope c.500m north west of a spring which lies on the lower slope of the opposite side of the valley. The main focus of the monument is the villa building which shows as a low platform on the gentle lower slope of the hillside. To the south of the platform is a field boundary, and south beyond this a low lying marshy area which contains a number of earthworks including a distinctive platform which is thought to be a bathhouse associated with the villa. Evidence for the villa and associated structures is from a number of different sources. Air photographs show a well defined winged villa aligned north west-south east, with an indication of an enclosed yard on the north side of the villa building. The associated earthworks are also visible on air photographs. Geophysical survey, undertaken in the summer of 1993, confirmed details of the main villa building, providing dimensions of c.37m wide and c.33m long, and confirmed the survival of additional associated enclosures to its north and east. The survey also indicated the presence of buried remains of wall alignments south of the main villa building in the marshy ground north of Lukeley Brook. Dennett, working on the main villa building in 1856, was able to observe one wall 20ft or 30ft long and 3ft wide composed of bonded stone and flint. Some of the villa walls were subsequently robbed out by local farmers to repair farm buildings. For many years Romano-British pottery, tiles and coins have been found in the vicinity of the villa. The coin evidence relates to the period from Nero to Constantius. Finds from metal detector enthusiasts in the marshy field to the south of the main villa building have been plotted and show marked concentrations of metal artefacts in this area.

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: 22015

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Kell, E, 'Journal of the British Archaeological Association' in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, , Vol. 12, (1856), 160-1
Internal memorandum of survey, Payne, A, Archaeological Geophysics At Clatterford, (1993)
Motkin, D. L., 91D1-29, 91D2-10, (1991)

End of official listing