Roman villa and earlier prehistoric settlement 400m W of Lone Farm, Itchen


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012693

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Roman villa and earlier prehistoric settlement 400m W of Lone Farm, Itchen
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 15:59:27.


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

County: Hampshire

District: Winchester (District Authority)

Parish: Itchen Valley

National Grid Reference: SU 52926 34228


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

Reasons for Designation

The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably from single farmsteads up to large semi-urban oppida. Farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain storage pits for grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. In central southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs.

The settlement 400m west of Lone Farm, Itchen Abbas, lies in close association with a Roman villa. Roman villas were extensive rural estates at the focus of which were groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings. The buildings usually included a well appointed dwelling house, most of which were partly or wholly stone built, often 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. Villa buildings were constructed throughout the period of Roman occupation, from the first to the fourth centuries AD. Between 400 and 1000 examples are recorded nationally, the majority throughout lowland Britain. Most villas appear to have been in the hands of wealthy natives with a partly Romanised lifestyle. Some, as in the example at Itchen Abbas, were built directly on the sites of Iron Age settlements. 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. Although levelled by cultivation, remains of the prehistoric settlement survive as buried features, visible on aerial photographs. It is one of several such complexes on the chalk downs bordering the Itchen Valley and together these sites will provide information on the Iron Age landscape. Part excavation has also confirmed the survival of buried remains of the Roman villa, important not only in its own right but in its relationship to the earlier settlement, providing information on the development of the landscape through time.


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


The monument includes the remains of a prehistoric settlement consisting of enclosures, ditches and trackways visible in the form of cropmarks, best seen from the air, and of a Roman villa. The villa is situated on the northern side of the known extent of the earlier settlement. Both lie on a slight south facing slope immediately below the crest of a chalk ridge which overlooks the valley of the River Itchen. The prehistoric settlement includes a large sub-rectangular ditched enclosure approximately 60m by 30m with an entrance visible on its north east side. Attached to the north side of this enclosure is a semicircular ditched annexe. Other elements of the settlement include a series of smaller enclosures, linking trackways, boundaries and part of a field system. Pottery recovered from the field surface in this area suggests a date in the later Iron Age. The villa was investigated in 1878 and 1879 when an area of approximately 18m by 15m was exposed. Within this area lay five rooms, four of which grouped around a possible courtyard which remained unexcavated. The four rooms around the courtyard contained mosaics, three of which included decorative panels. Within these rooms the wall plaster survived to a maximum height of 12 inches (0.3m). The remains of a hypocaust system for underfloor heating were also discovered but were not fully investigated. Excluded from the scheduling are all fences and tracks although the ground beneath these features is included. Part of the monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

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: 26705

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Collier, Rev. C, 'Journal British Archaeological Association' in On An Unexplored Roman Villa At Itchen Abbas, , Vol. 34, (1878), 233-234
Collier, Rev. C, 'Journal British Archaeological Association' in Proceedings of the Association, , Vol. 35, (1879), 109-110
Johnson, DE, (1994)

End of official listing