Roman villa north of Sandlands Grove


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009403

Date first listed: 18-Jul-1991


Ordnance survey map of Roman villa north of Sandlands Grove
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2019 at 08:51:32.


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

County: Surrey

District: Reigate and Banstead (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: TQ 22393 55673


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 1st to the 4th centuries AD. They are usually complex structures occupied over several hundred years and continually remodel led 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 Roman 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 site of Iron Age farmsteads.

Roman villa buildings are widespread, with between 400 and 1000 examples recorded nationally. They occur over most of lowland Britain and occasionally beyond. As such they 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 villa buildings north of Sandlands Grove survive well despite the limited damage caused by the partial excavation. Indeed the excavations secured a high level of archaeological documentation of the site whilst ensuring that the site retained significant archaeological potential for the recovery of further evidence of the nature and duration of the villa buildings' use. The discovery of Late Iron Age or Early Roman remains on the site offers the opportunity to study the continuity of settlement over a long timespan.


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


The monument comprises the buried remains of a Roman villa, including at least two structures and associated archaeological features, which was identified in 1915 and partially excavated in 1939-40. The full extent of the villa was not established, but the main dwelling underlies the gardens of `Windmill Bank', `Four Seasons' and `The Old Manse'. Three phases of building were identified, all within the Roman period. These lay over evidence for Late Iron Age or Early Roman occupation but without evidence of structures. In about AD100 a small barn-like structure was built,of which only a single length of walling survived when the villa was rebuilt on a more ambitious scale around AD180. This main period of occupation lasted until the 4th century before alterations were again made, and the villa was finally abandoned shortly before Roman rule in Britain collapsed in AD410. After the AD180 rebuilding, the dwelling conformed to a `winged corridor' plan commonly found in villa buildings of this date: hence long corridors at the front and back gave access into the three central square rooms and to additional rooms at the ends of the building which jutted out slightly, giving rise to the `winged' description. The building measured some 44m by 26m. A bath house and a large circular room, perhaps a dining room, projected westwards from the main part of the building, while to the south a threshing floor was located, illustrating the primarily agricultural role of the villa. The fences and garden sheds are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 12849

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Lowther, A W G, Roman Villa at Sandlands Road, Walton on the Hill, (1949)
Monument Class Description - Minor Villas,

End of official listing