Roman villa and medieval settlement remains immediately north of Ewefields Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1020933
Date first listed: 07-Jun-2001
Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2003
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)
Parish: Chesterton and Kingston
National Grid Reference: SP 35108 58362
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.
The Roman villa immediately north of Ewefields Farm survives well as a buried feature. It includes the structural remains of the villa and associated deposits. These will illuminate both the development of the site throughout the Roman period and also provide information about the styles and methods of building and the variety of building materials available in Warwickshire at the time. Items such as the mosaic and painted wall plaster will provide evidence for artistic fashions and influence, while artefacts will provide evidence for dating different phases of building, as well as identifying the varying uses of each room and the occupations of its inhabitants. The range of goods and materials available in Warwickshire during the Roman period will also be demonstrated through study of these artefacts. Sealed buried features such as drainage systems and ditches lying below the villa will provide environmental information which might include evidence for the diet and occupation of the inhabitants of the villa as well as evidence relating to the natural environment surrounding it and the agricultural regimes employed there. An examination of the villa in relation to the surrounding Roman landscape including the communication network and the hinterland of the nearby Roman town can be expected to illustrate something of the relationships between town and countryside in the Midlands during the Roman period.
Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Inner Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province, an area characterised by large numbers of nucleated settlements, both surviving and deserted, many of which are thought to have been established in Anglo-Saxon times. Most of the sub-Province's thinly scattered dispersed settlements were created in post-medieval times, but some of the local regions are characterised by higher proportions of dispersed dwellings and hamlets, which probably mark the patchy survival of older landscapes.
The remains of the medieval settlement survive well. Remains of houses and outbuildings as well as gardens and allotments, will demonstrate the size and status of this part of the medieval settlement, and its relationship with the rest of the nearby dispersed settlement. Buried artefacts will provide dating evidence for the development and decline of the settlement, as well as information about the daily life and wealth of the inhabitants including evidence for their occupations. Buried environmental evidence in the wet areas such as ditches and ponds will be expected to illustrate the diet and health of the people who lived there as well as providing information about the medieval agricultural regime and the surrounding natural environment. The remains of the field system, roads and boundaries will provide evidence for the wider landscape setting, communication network and rural environment surrounding the settlement.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes the known extent of the buried and earthwork remains
of the Roman villa and medieval settlement at Ewefields Farm, Chesterton.
The villa is located on a sheltered, east-facing terrace just below the
crest of the hill and immediately above the water course. The medieval
settlement remains are located north west of the Ewefields Farm buildings
and run along the flank of the hill.
Evidence for the villa was first reported in 1922 during the laying of water pipes on the north side of the farm buildings, which revealed a quantity of Roman pottery. Further Romano-British material was discovered adjacent to the farm along Church Lane during development in 1980. Survey work in 1992, on the north side of the farmyard, led to the discovery of Roman building material and pottery including tessera and box flue tiles. Subsequent excavations in the 1990s revealed remains of a substantial Roman building including wall footings of cut limestone blocks with a mortar and rubble core. Evidence for at least eight rooms including the remains of at least four mosaic pavements were discovered. The villa remains show a building of some sophistication. It contained a hypocaust system (underfloor heating) in one room, as well as painted wall plaster and window glass. A series of in-filled drains and stone lined ditches provide evidence for a water management system which will preserve environmental deposits. Later phases of the villa included evidence of reuse of the rooms including the building of hearths and a kiln which cut into the mosaic floors. The villa lies within a known Roman landscape and is believed to be associated with an extensive Roman rural town and the Fosse Way Roman road lying to the north west; the Roman town is the subject of a separate scheduling.
The remains of the medieval settlement include at least six building platforms terraced into the side of the hill running parallel to the road, as well as remains of a system of hollow ways and enclosure boundaries. Located to the north, north east and north west of Ewefields Farm, the remains are believed to form part of a system of dispersed medieval settlement which formerly ran along the valley from the church of St Giles in the south east as far as Chesterton Green to the north west.
Aerial photography from the 1940s to the 1960s recorded further medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains, fishponds and a moated manorial site. Modern agriculture and development have subsequently degraded these areas of the remains and they are not therefore included in the scheduling. Two more areas of medieval settlement survive to the south east and north west. However, these are the subject of separate schedulings.
All modern post and wire fences and surfaces and all modern farm 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 35104
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Adams, D, Chesterton Roman Villa, (2000)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing