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Oaklands Farm Roman villa

A Scheduled Monument in Fawler, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8473 / 51°50'50"N

Longitude: -1.4506 / 1°27'2"W

OS Eastings: 437941.728181

OS Northings: 216667.337512

OS Grid: SP379166

Mapcode National: GBR 6V2.02Z

Mapcode Global: VHBZP.STZQ

Entry Name: Oaklands Farm Roman villa

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1949

Last Amended: 2 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012901

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21818

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Fawler

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Finstock with Fawler

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a Roman villa situated 200m west of Oaklands Farm on
the northern side of the Evenlode valley.
The site was first recorded in 1823 when slight earthwork remains and pottery
finds were visible. The site was clearly recorded on aerial photographs in
1935 and although the remains are no longer visible at ground level, they
survive as buried deposits, still visible from the air.
The aerial photographic evidence suggests that the main villa complex is
contained within a 150m square enclosure which contains the foundations of a
series of wooden buildings. These include a winged-corridor house and
ancillary farm buildings, kitchens, workers' quarters, stores and workshops.
There were also further ancillary buildings outside the enclosure which form
part of the villa complex. The villa layout is similar to the well documented
Ditchley villa site, situated several kilometers to the east.
Excluded from the scheduling is the field boundary forming the eastern
boundary of the site, although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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

The Roman villa at Oaklands Farm is known to survive despite having been
disturbed by cultivation. It will contain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to its construction and function, the landscape in which it
was built and the economy of the site's inhabitants. This is one of several
villas to have been recorded in this area of Oxfordshire.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Taylor, M V, 'A History Of The County Of Oxfordshire' in 16 Fawler, , Vol. volume 1, (1939), 319
Taylor, M V, 'A History Of The County of Oxfordshire' in Ditchley Roman Villa, , Vol. volume 1, (1939), 312
Map by Hakewill in above, Skelton, Wootton Hundred, (1823)
PLATE XXIIIA, Crawford, O G S, Oatland's Farm, Fawler, A HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF OXFORDSHIRE, (1939)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1981
SP 31 NE

Source: Historic England

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