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Beadlam minor Romano-British villa

A Scheduled Monument in Beadlam, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2486 / 54°14'54"N

Longitude: -1.0288 / 1°1'43"W

OS Eastings: 463380.958683

OS Northings: 484090.335054

OS Grid: SE633840

Mapcode National: GBR PM89.2R

Mapcode Global: WHF9S.5GCT

Entry Name: Beadlam minor Romano-British villa

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1969

Last Amended: 5 August 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011365

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13256

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Beadlam

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Pockley St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: York

Details

Beadlam Roman villa is situated on the east bank of the River Riccal east of
Helmsley. The monument includes the remains of the villa complex of a
relatively large Romano-British farm, a small part of which has been partially
excavated and found to date to the third and fourth centuries AD. Earthworks
which formerly indicated the positions of other buildings and features were
ploughed out in the 1960s, but aerial photographs show that these features
still survive below ground in the area surrounding the excavated portion. The
first exploration of the site was in 1928 when an earthwork was partially
excavated and Romano-British tile and pot were found in addition to a number
of tesserae (the small tiles used in mosaics). No detailed records were made
of this excavation, however, and it is not certain from which part of the
villa complex the finds were recovered. Excavations in 1966 revealed a mosaic
pavement in a building in the northern part of the site. Partial excavation
continued in 1969, 1972 and 1978 when the remains of buildings occupying three
sides of a courtyard were uncovered. The north range of buildings was
rectangular in plan, stone-built, and measured 32m by 7.5m. It comprised eight
rooms whose walls survived to a height of between 0.6m and 0.9m. Two rooms had
opus signinum (rough concrete) floors, one had a mosaic floor laid in a
geometric pattern, and the remainder had earth or gravel floors. The first two
rooms would have been residential and are believed to have been reception
rooms since fragments of painted wall-plaster were also found, while the room
with the mosaic floor would have been the dining room, considered to be the
most important room in a Roman house. A hypocaust lay underneath the mosaic
floor and one of the opus signinum floors, with the mosaic also covering an
earlier tesselated pavement. The remaining rooms were non-residential domestic
rooms, one with an oven being interpreted as a kitchen. The whole of the north
range was fronted by a veranda, as was the west range which measured 23.7m by
7.5m. The latter range comprised general domestic accommodation to the north
and a bath suite to the south and was also stone-built, as was the east range,
only the centre part of which has been excavated. The east range showed three
phases of construction, the earliest being a rectangular building measuring
18m by 7.5m which was then replaced by a single room measuring 11m by 7.5m
which had an apsidal or semi-circular end and was demolished before the final
phase was built on top. Outside the courtyard, two successive boundary walls
had also been demolished before the end of the occupation, which from the
Roman coins recovered during excavation, appears to have been in the late
fourth century AD. The main period of occupation was in the third and fourth
centuries; however, a coin of the Emperor Hadrian and the remains of earlier
timber structures found underneath a third-century aisled barn indicate that
occupation may have begun at some time in the second century. In the late 19th
and early 20th centuries, the area between the villa and the river was used as
a military camp. The monument has been in State care since 1972. Excluded from
the scheduling are the fences and gates erected round the excavated area and
also the field boundary on the edge of the monument though the ground beneath
these features is, however, included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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 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. As a very diverse and often long-lived type of monument, a
significant proportion of the known population are identified as nationally
important.

The minor Romano-British villa at Beadlam is a well-preserved example whose
buried deposits survive largely intact having been only minimally disturbed by
excavation and past agricultural practice.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 45, , Vol. 45, (1973)
'Journal of Roman Studies' in Journal of Roman Studies Volume 57, , Vol. 57, (1967)
'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 42, , Vol. 42, (1967)
'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 43, , Vol. 43, (1971)

Source: Historic England

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