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Star Roman villa, 275m north east of Wimblestone

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Star Roman villa, 275m north east of Wimblestone

List entry Number: 1015499

Location

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

County: Somerset

District: Sedgemoor

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Shipham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 01-Dec-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Jan-1997

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29038

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.

Star Roman villa survives as prominent and largely undisturbed earthworks, and is a good example of its class. Part excavation has proved the excellent preservation of the remains.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a small or minor Roman villa, situated near the foot of a gently sloping south-facing valley side, close to Pyle Well Spring. The villa is recognisable on the ground as low earthworks, 0.2m-0.75m high. In plan these form the remains of a number of buildings grouped around a courtyard, as well as associated enclosure divisions. The most pronounced earthworks lie at the north of the monument, where a distinct break of slope below the present hedge line defines one side of the courtyard as well as adjoining enclosures to the east and west. Situated in the north west corner of the courtyard is a large platform, 20m by 12m and up to 0.75m high, representing the site of the main villa building. Additional earthworks adjacent to this represent ancillary rooms and outbuildings, while enclosures to the east and west are likely to represent field plots. Further remains are situated to the south west of the main building, where a prominent broad bank, orientated east-west across the site has a small building hollow set into it, and to the south where a possible bath house was identified by excavation. Excavations in 1959 and 1969 revealed a sequence of Romano-British buildings overlying Iron Age and earlier Mesolithic occupation. Some modern hedges follow the boundaries of the villa on the north and east, and it is possible that other boundaries in the vicinity have Roman origins. Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fence posts and drain covers, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Barton, K J, 'Proceedings of Somerset. Archaeological & Nat.Hist. Society' in Star Roman Villa, Shipham, Somerset, , Vol. 108, (1964), 45-93

National Grid Reference: ST 43534 58685

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. 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 - 1015499 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 24-Nov-2017 at 12:22:03.

End of official listing