Ditchley Park Roman villa and part of an associated field system 450m ENE of Lodge Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. 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 - 1009420.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2021 at 00:19:54.


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

West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 39941 20048

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 Ditchley Park Roman villa is known from air photographs to survive well below the level of recent agricultural disturbance. Partial excavation has demonstrated that archaeological and environmental evidence will survive relating to the construction of the villa, the economy of its inhabitants, and the landscape in which it was built.


The monument includes a Roman villa within a wider ditched enclosure, and part of an associated field system, all situated 450m ENE of Lodge Farm. The main villa building includes a winged corridor structure with eight major rooms and a surrounding verandah which was subsequently extended in two phases of building. The earliest structure measured 30m from east to west and 15m from north to south with the entrance facing south across a 15m wide forecourt. This was then extended with the building of a series of four rooms in a corridor to the rear of the building. This extension ran the whole length of the house and measured 3m wide. The third phase included the building of two partition walls in the rear corridor to form extra rooms, and an extension to form an enclosed verandah on the east, west and south sides. This created a building which measured 36m from east to west and 21m from north to south, entered via a 7m square forecourt. Partial excavations of the villa and air photographs provide detailed records of the layout of the building and the functions of many of its rooms.

The main villa building is located at the northern end of a rectangular ditched enclosure which measures c.92m from east to west and c.105m from north to south. The outer ditch has become infilled over the years but can be seen on air photographs as a buried feature up to 6m wide. The ditch surrounds a walled enclosure measuring 86m from east to west by 92m from north to south. Also within the enclosure are a well, agricultural buildings including a threshing floor and granary, and estate workers' quarters.

The enclosure is entered by a 10m wide drive running into the compound from the south. This is flanked on each side by a 2m wide ditch, both ditches running south from the main ditch around the enclosure. These link with further land boundary ditches which divide the contemporary farmland around the villa. These ditches are visible on air photographs and have been subject to partial excavation. From these sources they are known to survive over an area measuring at least 250m from north to south and 200m from east to west and provide evidence of the contemporary land management of the estate.

Excluded from the scheduling is the boundary fence forming its southern side, but the land beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Raleigh Radford, C A, 'Proceedings' in Ditchley Roman Villa, (1936)
Raleigh Radford, C A, 'Proceedings' in Ditchley Roman Villa, (1936)
Taylor, M V, 'A History of Oxfordshire' in Romano British Remains E Country Houses, , Vol. Volume 1, (1939), 306-24
Oblique, Allen, GWG., Ditchley Villa, (1930)
Title: 1:10,000 Series Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Sheet SP 32 SE
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Sheet SP 32 SE


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].