Roman villa immediately west of Horkstow Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017553

Date first listed: 30-Jul-1975

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Roman villa immediately west of Horkstow Hall
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Horkstow

National Grid Reference: SE 98495 19100


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 found throughout lowland Britain and between 400 and 1000 examples have been recorded in England. Of these less than 10 are examples of `major' villas. These were the largest, most substantial and opulent type of villa which were built and used by a small but extremely wealthy section of Romano-British society. 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. All major villas will be identified as nationally important.

Horkstow is a good example of the luxurious villas that marked the flourishing late Romano-British society. As a largely unexcavated site, extensive buried remains of the villa complex will survive, despite the early removal of some of the mosaic flooring.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of a Romano-British villa, located in the grounds of Horkstow Hall. A Romano-British mosaic, dated stylistically to the fourth century AD, was discovered by labourers setting out a kitchen garden in 1797, and was recorded in quick succession by William Fowler and Samuel Lysons. It consisted of three panels, two square and one rectangular, measuring in all over 15m by 6m. The mosaic was left in situ, protected by a purpose built building, until its removal to the British Museum in 1927, leaving a slight hollow and an adjacent grassed over low mound of spoil. The mosaics, which were transferred to Hull Museum in 1976, are similar in design to those excavated at Brantingham and Winterton and are believed to have been laid by mosaicists from a workshop based at Brough. The example found at Winterton was slightly smaller and formed the floor of one of the aisled ancillary buildings rather than that of the main house. Adjacent, and to the south of the mosaic at Horkstow, there was a geometric pavement 4.6m wide and at least 7m long which was recorded as being a running-pelta pattern in blue on white. Part of another mosaic, of red and white stripes, was uncovered about 30.5m to the south east. These mosaics probably lay in major public rooms of the villa. Their quality indicate the affluence of the villa owner. Both the original layout of the villa complex and its full extent is not yet fully understood, but extensive archaeological deposits are considered to survive. A geophysical survey in 1987 identified features orientated from north west to south east between the site of the mosaics and Horkstow Hall, which would include the area of the red and white mosaic uncovered in 1797. Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fencing, walls and access ways to drains, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 30116

Legacy System: RSM


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End of official listing