Roman rural settlement at Windmill Hill Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020259

Date first listed: 10-Aug-1923

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-2002

Map

Ordnance survey map of Roman rural settlement at Windmill Hill Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Chesterton and Kingston

National Grid Reference: SP 34298 59582

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Five types of town are known to have existed in Roman Britain: coloniae, municipia, civitas capitals, Roman provincial capitals and Roman small towns. The first four types can be classified as `public towns' because each had an official status within the provincial administrative system. Roman small towns are settlements of urban character which lack the administrative status of public towns, but which are nevertheless recognisably urban in terms of morphology, features and function. They tend to lack the planned rectangular street grids, public buildings and well-appointed town houses of the public towns and instead are generally characterised by mainly insubstantial timber or half-timbered structures. Some small towns possess an enclosing wall, while others have masonry or earthwork defences. Additional features include temples, bath houses, ovens, kilns and cemeteries. Roman small towns began to emerge in the mid-first century AD. However, the majority of examples appeared in the later first and second centuries, while the third and fourth centuries saw the growth and development of existing establishments, together with the emergence of a small number of new ones. Some small towns had their origins in earlier military sites such as fort-vici and developed into independent urban areas following the abandonment of the forts. Others developed alongside major roads and were able to exploit a wide range of commercial opportunities as a result of their location. There are a total of 133 Roman small towns recorded in England. These are mainly concentrated in the Midlands and central southern England. Some examples have survived as undeveloped `greenfield' sites and consequently possess particularly well-preserved archaeological remains.

The Roman rural settlement at Windmill Hill Farm survives well as an example of its type which did not later develop into a large town. New evidence suggests that it may be the second largest settlement in Warwickshire, and it will add considerably to our understanding of rural life in the Midlands during the late prehistoric and Roman period, particularly on the development of a rural settlement over time. The settlement can be expected to preserve evidence for the domestic, industrial, craft, and military activities of a wide range of social classes, as well as providing an insight into the ritual aspects and religious beliefs of it's occupants. Artefacts will provide dating evidence and information about craft techniques, trading links, occupations and activities of the population over a period of three centuries or more. In addition, the settlement is associated with a wider remnant Roman landscape, including a villa located to the south west. The relationships between these elements will provide an insight into the functioning of rural settlements and hinterland farming estates.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the Roman rural settlement at Chesterton, located upon gently rising ground at the foot of a lias escarpment. The Hogbrook water course lies to the west, and the Fosse Way, a major Roman road linking the River Severn with the Wash, crosses the settlement from north east to south west in its western quarter.

The monument survives as the earthwork and buried remains of a small fortified Roman settlement straddling the Fosse Way together with the buried remains of a much larger extramural settlement located largely to the south and east of the enclosure. These remains have been identified through geophysical survey, archaeological excavation and as cropmarks (areas of variable crop growth reflecting archaeological features) visible on aerial photographs. These have demonstrated the survival of extensive occupation levels, building remains, streets and roads, wells and drainage systems, together with well-preserved artefactual evidence.

Pottery and other artefacts indicate that the settlement was occupied from at least the second century AD until the late fourth century. There are also indications of earlier Iron Age occupation of the site. The earthwork enclosure is believed to be the earliest phase of settlement, including a small scale fortified settlement with early stone buildings, suggesting military origins. The extramural settlement includes an irregular spread of rectilinear courtyards, enclosures and buildings surrounding the fortified enclosure on all sides. Its alignment, which grew up around the fortified settlement along a number of minor roads, suggests gradual growth of a non-military, service settlement. The remains of a probable Anglo-Saxon cemetery suggest that the site remained significant after the fall of the Roman Empire.

All modern post and wire fences and modern surfaces and buildings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 35103

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
Adams, D, The Chesterton Project, 2000, Article with Geophysics & plans
Various FMW visits, Liegh, Judith , AM07,

End of official listing