Romano-British villa and traces of Iron Age occupation 500m WSW of New Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015886

Date first listed: 04-Apr-1939

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British villa and traces of Iron Age occupation 500m WSW of New Barn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Arun (District Authority)

Parish: Angmering

National Grid Reference: TQ 05370 04471


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.

Although it has been disturbed by modern ploughing, the villa 500m WSW of New Barn survives comparatively well. Part excavation has shown that it retains structural remains and archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the development of the monument over at least two centuries. The villa is one of a number of similarly well-appointed country estates established in this part of West Sussex during the first century AD, indicating the rapid Romanisation of the Chichester hinterland in the decades following the Claudian invasion.


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The monument includes a Romano-British villa and traces of earlier, Iron Age occupation situated on the coastal plain of West Sussex 3km from the Channel coast at Littlehampton. The villa buildings are situated on a slightly raised, east-west aligned tongue of land originally bounded to the north and south by streams, and to the west by marshland. Surviving in the form of buried flint rubble and brick footings, the buildings were shown by part excavation during the 1930s and 1940s to be the result of at least three phases of development and remodelling carried out between the first and third centuries AD. The main, domestic range is represented by a roughly rectangular, NNW-SSE aligned building measuring about 46m by 21m which lies towards the north western edge of the monument. Around 80m to the east of the main range, and separated from it by a ditched enclosure, is a roughly east-west aligned, detached bath house. This was constructed around AD 65 and incorporated mosaic and opus signinum floors and Sussex and Italian marble fittings. Finds recovered during the excavations include a metal door lock, a pair of bronze and silver tweezers, bronze jewellery and coins. The excavations indicated that the bath building was dismantled during the first half of the second century AD. At least four further masonry buildings have been identified by investigation of the southern part of the monument, including a second, smaller and less substantially built bath house and a possible temple represented by an east-west aligned, rectangular building measuring about 6.2m by 4.1m, with walls up to 2.2m thick. The other masonry structures, along with several timber buildings also uncovered during the excavations, have been interpreted as having an agricultural or industrial function. The discovery of a fragment of rotary quern and an associated corn drying oven suggest that part of the villa's economy was based on arable farming. Evidence for the use of the site during the preceding Iron Age period was provided by part of a boundary ditch and a group of associated pits containing discarded pottery and animal bones found near the western edge of the monument.

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: 29240

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Keef, P, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Angmering Roman Villa Site: An interim report on excavations, , Vol. 84, (1944), 82-107
Wilson, A E, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Angmering Roman Villa, , Vol. 86, (1947), 1-21
Scott, L, Angmering Roman Villa, Sussex Archaeological Collections, (1939)
Scott, L, The Roman Villa at Angmering, Sussex Archaeological Collections, (1938)

End of official listing