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Part of a minor Romano-British villa at Long Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston, Bristol

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Latitude: 51.495 / 51°29'42"N

Longitude: -2.6727 / 2°40'21"W

OS Eastings: 353397.037639

OS Northings: 177554.787839

OS Grid: ST533775

Mapcode National: GBR JM.K2FD

Mapcode Global: VH88D.MPF9

Entry Name: Part of a minor Romano-British villa at Long Cross

Scheduled Date: 29 February 1960

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006999

English Heritage Legacy ID: BS 87

County: Bristol

Electoral Ward/Division: Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston

Built-Up Area: Bristol

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bristol

Church of England Parish: Lawrence Weston St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes part of a minor Romano-British villa, situated on low ground just above the floodplain of the River Avon, near Avonmouth. The villa survives as both standing and buried remains of a winged corridor villa discovered in 1947 during the construction of a housing estate and excavated in 1948-50. It had been partially damaged by the construction of the modern Long Cross Road. Two 3rd century AD buildings were found, and the eastern part was fully excavated, conserved and is on public display. The building was almost symmetrical in plan and contained a bath suite and various rooms in the east and west wings. Sandstone-built walls, decorated wall plaster, several mosaic pavements and hypocausts in the living rooms and bath suite, as well as finds of domestic and everyday use and personal adornment were found.

Sources: PastScape 198239

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates with groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings at their 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. 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. Although much is already known about the minor Romano-British villa at Long Cross it will retain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to all aspects of Romano-British daily life, social organisation, agricultural practices, economic, social and political significance, trade, industry, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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