This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Roman villa and associated field system, Barnsley Park

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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Roman villa and associated field system, Barnsley Park

List entry Number: 1012777


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

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cotswold

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Barnsley

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 04-Dec-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Mar-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 12008

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 Barnsley Park monument is of particular importance because of the association between villa and extensive and contemporary field systems. The significance of the monument is further enhanced by the recently conducted and fully published excavations of the villa complex. This has demonstrated the extent of walled closes, an aspect of the site unparalleled and specific to areas such as the Cotswolds. The excavation also demonstrated a particularly high standard of survival of fragile structures.


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


The monument comprises a Roman villa situated within an associated field system. The site has been the subject of an extensive partial excavation and a full survey. The villa consists of a building with winged verandah facing south east; it is nearly 33m in length and concealed a yard, possibly roofed, with a bath house in one corner, a room or rooms at either end and other structures including a channelled hypocaust on the north west side. A barn, 19m long and 5.6m wide internally, is set at right angles to the villa. Although evidence for occupation dates from the 2nd century AD, the main building and bath house were not erected until c.350-360 AD. However, within about 20 years of construction the main building was reduced to mainly agricultural use. Occupation of the site continued into the 5th century. The fields associated with the villa cover some 49ha and occupy most of the northern half of the park surrounding the buildings described above. They are linked to and, with the exception of those to the east and south east, follow the general alignment of 1.6ha of dry-stone walled closes immediately surrounding the buildings. Field boundaries examined consist of narrow earthen banks, their position being highlighted by ancient plough action. They survive as lynchets 1.2m high or low baulks 13m across. All modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Fowler, P J ed, Recent Work in Rural Archaeology, (1975)
Saville, A, Archaeological sites in the Avon and Glos. Cotswolds, (1980)
Webster, G, Barnsley Park, (1980)
Webster, G, Smith, L, The Excavation Of A R-B Rural Establishment...Part 2, (1982)
Webster, G, Fowler, P, Nodle, B, Smith, , , L, The Excavation of a R-B Rural Establishment ... Part 3, (1985)
Spec page 14 (Pagination 65-189), Webster, G, The Excavation Of A R-B Rural Establishment At Barnsley Park Pt1, (1981)

National Grid Reference: SP 07857 06192


© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1012777 .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 25-Sep-2018 at 07:39:51.

End of official listing