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Romano-British villa at Withington, Romano-British building at Manor Court Field and associated features

A Scheduled Monument in Withington, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8321 / 51°49'55"N

Longitude: -1.9551 / 1°57'18"W

OS Eastings: 403191.225505

OS Northings: 214835.189876

OS Grid: SP031148

Mapcode National: GBR 3PL.4HW

Mapcode Global: VHB25.268T

Entry Name: Romano-British villa at Withington, Romano-British building at Manor Court Field and associated features

Scheduled Date: 31 August 1948

Last Amended: 22 June 2012

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003345

English Heritage Legacy ID: GC 200

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Withington

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Withington St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Summary

Two Romano-British building complexes with associated field boundaries and trackways situated on a limestone plateau, surviving as buried masonry and features.

Source: Historic England

Details

Excavations in 1811 confirmed the existence of a villa complex to the south of Withington village. Further excavations and surveys were carried out in 2006. The identified remains of the villa are orientated roughly east to west and cover an area of approximately 690 square metres, although the full extent of the original villa site is unknown.  The early-C19 excavation revealed a tripartite corridor building with fifteen rooms. Limestone walls, eight mosaic floors (one of which was removed and donated to the British Museum) and a hypocaust system were uncovered during the excavation, as well as pottery, coins and pilae stacks (small clay tile pillars used to form a Roman hypocaust).The coins found in the excavations in this area were predominantly third and fourth century AD.
 
The 2006 magnetometer survey located the remains of a series of linear features to the east of the villa which have been interpreted as a walled courtyard associated with the villa. Also in this area are a number of well-defined linear and curvilinear ditch-type features, as well as a series of pits of varying sizes which are thought to represent trackways, enclosures and field systems surrounding the villa complex. These features may be contemporary with the villa, or could indicate earlier land use. Late-first century Malvernian limestone-tempered pottery has also been found in a pit to the north of the building complex.
  
The area to the east of Withington Villa, between the road and the River Coln, in Manor Court Field was also subject to a geophysical survey in 2006. This revealed a further building complex close to the river, covering approximately 1200 square meters. Due to the substantial size of this second complex it has been interpreted as a possible second villa with an associated bath house. An L-shaped structure has been identified with ranges running east-west and north-south, each approximately 35m long. The north to south range was excavated and contains a room, with a channelled ‘union-jack’ style hypocaust beneath, thought to be the foundations of a hot plunge pool; as well as further rooms containing opus signinum lining, leading to the interpretation that this part of the building was a bath house. On the eastern edge of this range a structure measuring 3.4m wide and 0.8m deep was also identified, lined with clay and constructed of unmortared limestone blocks. Its precise function is unclear; however it has been interpreted as either a possible cold plunge pool, a water cistern for the bath house, or a recreational swimming pool.  The coins found in this area are predominantly from the third and fourth century AD.
 
The 2006 geophysical survey also identified a number of undated linear features, including possible trackways, ditches or a water management system between the Romano-British building in Manor Court Field and the Withington Villa which are aligned north-west to south-east. This area is also the site of a spring.

Excluded from the scheduling are the modern fences and gates, as well as the modern electricity pylon and modern road surface, although the ground beneath all these features is included in the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Romano-British villa at Withington, a second Romano–British building complex in close proximity at Manor Court Field, as well as associated features, are all scheduled for the following principal reasons:
 
* Survival: a good and rare survival of two Roman building complexes as buried features, with mosaics of particular importance;

* Rarity: the proximity of two substantial and high-status Romano-British building complexes, thought to be contemporary, is especially rare and possibly unique;

* Potential: partial excavation and other investigative work have identified that the site retains valuable information relating to both the development of the villas, their relationship to each other, and the function and occupation of individual structures within the complexes;

* Group Value: Withington villa and the Manor Court Field building sit in a landscape which is well known for a number of prominent villas, including two nearby scheduled examples: Chedworth (NHLE 1003324) and Compton Abdale (NHLE 1003344).

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Thompson, S, Chelu, R, 'Transactions of the The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society' in A Roman Villa Complex at Withington Gloucestershire, , Vol. 27, (2009)
Other
Wessex Archaeology, Withington, Gloucestershire Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of the Results, Report 59468.01, 2006,

Source: Historic England

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