Oaklands Farm Roman villa


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012901

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Oaklands Farm Roman villa
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Fawler

National Grid Reference: SP 37938 16670


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 Roman villa at Oaklands Farm is known to survive despite having been disturbed by cultivation. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and function, the landscape in which it was built and the economy of the site's inhabitants. This is one of several villas to have been recorded in this area of Oxfordshire.


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


The monument includes a Roman villa situated 200m west of Oaklands Farm on the northern side of the Evenlode valley. The site was first recorded in 1823 when slight earthwork remains and pottery finds were visible. The site was clearly recorded on aerial photographs in 1935 and although the remains are no longer visible at ground level, they survive as buried deposits, still visible from the air. The aerial photographic evidence suggests that the main villa complex is contained within a 150m square enclosure which contains the foundations of a series of wooden buildings. These include a winged-corridor house and ancillary farm buildings, kitchens, workers' quarters, stores and workshops. There were also further ancillary buildings outside the enclosure which form part of the villa complex. The villa layout is similar to the well documented Ditchley villa site, situated several kilometers to the east. Excluded from the scheduling is the field boundary forming the eastern boundary of the site, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 21818

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Taylor, M V, 'A History Of The County Of Oxfordshire' in 16 Fawler, , Vol. volume 1, (1939), 319
Taylor, M V, 'A History Of The County of Oxfordshire' in Ditchley Roman Villa, , Vol. volume 1, (1939), 312
Map by Hakewill in above, Skelton, Wootton Hundred, (1823)
PLATE XXIIIA, Crawford, O G S, Oatland's Farm, Fawler, A HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF OXFORDSHIRE, (1939)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 31 NE

End of official listing