Ancient Monuments

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Minor Romano British villa 100m south east of Magor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Illogan, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2342 / 50°14'2"N

Longitude: -5.3152 / 5°18'54"W

OS Eastings: 163679.442311

OS Northings: 42387.538195

OS Grid: SW636423

Mapcode National: GBR FX82.04Z

Mapcode Global: VH12H.TCFV

Entry Name: Minor Romano British villa 100m south east of Magor Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 July 1972

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003111

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 769

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Illogan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Saint Illogan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a minor Romano British villa, situated on a low coastal ridge, overlooking Reskajeage Downs and the valley of the Red River. The villa survives as entirely buried features, structures, and deposits. The small winged corridor villa in 'Chapel Field' was excavated in 1931-2. Three periods of construction were recognised from the excavation. The initial building was constructed in the second half of the 2nd century AD. This was enlarged later, but then abandoned. It was subsequently reoccupied by 'squatters' in around 270 - 280 AD. This later 'squatter' phase may have been associated with tin mining in the area, and occupation during this latest phase continued until the 4th century. Some later medieval tiles were found which may indicate reuse of the site at a later period. A geophysical survey was carried out in the 1980s and revealed a series of ditched enclosures in the vicinity of the villa.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-426186

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates with groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings at the focus. 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, under floor 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. Despite partial excavation, the minor Romano British villa 100m south east of Magor Farm survives well and will contain further archaeological evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social organisation, agricultural and industrial practices, political significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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