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Romano-British villa and traces of Iron Age occupation 500m WSW of New Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Poling, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8302 / 50°49'48"N

Longitude: -0.505 / 0°30'17"W

OS Eastings: 505382.490737

OS Northings: 104467.876048

OS Grid: TQ053044

Mapcode National: GBR GKS.Z0K

Mapcode Global: FRA 96TX.52D

Entry Name: Romano-British villa and traces of Iron Age occupation 500m WSW of New Barn

Scheduled Date: 4 April 1939

Last Amended: 31 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015886

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29240

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Poling

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Angmering Saint Margaret with Ham and Bargham

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Details

The monument includes a Romano-British villa and traces of earlier, Iron Age
occupation situated on the coastal plain of West Sussex 3km from the Channel
coast at Littlehampton. The villa buildings are situated on a slightly raised,
east-west aligned tongue of land originally bounded to the north and south by
streams, and to the west by marshland. Surviving in the form of buried flint
rubble and brick footings, the buildings were shown by part excavation during
the 1930s and 1940s to be the result of at least three phases of development
and remodelling carried out between the first and third centuries AD.
The main, domestic range is represented by a roughly rectangular, NNW-SSE
aligned building measuring about 46m by 21m which lies towards the north
western edge of the monument. Around 80m to the east of the main range, and
separated from it by a ditched enclosure, is a roughly east-west aligned,
detached bath house. This was constructed around AD 65 and incorporated mosaic
and opus signinum floors and Sussex and Italian marble fittings. Finds
recovered during the excavations include a metal door lock, a pair of bronze
and silver tweezers, bronze jewellery and coins. The excavations indicated
that the bath building was dismantled during the first half of the second
century AD. At least four further masonry buildings have been identified by
investigation of the southern part of the monument, including a second,
smaller and less substantially built bath house and a possible temple
represented by an east-west aligned, rectangular building measuring about
6.2m by 4.1m, with walls up to 2.2m thick. The other masonry structures, along
with several timber buildings also uncovered during the excavations, have been
interpreted as having an agricultural or industrial function. The discovery of
a fragment of rotary quern and an associated corn drying oven suggest that
part of the villa's economy was based on arable farming.
Evidence for the use of the site during the preceding Iron Age period was
provided by part of a boundary ditch and a group of associated pits containing
discarded pottery and animal bones found near the western edge of the
monument.

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.

Although it has been disturbed by modern ploughing, the villa 500m WSW of New
Barn survives comparatively well. Part excavation has shown that it retains
structural remains and archaeological and environmental evidence relating to
the development of the monument over at least two centuries. The villa is one
of a number of similarly well-appointed country estates established in this
part of West Sussex during the first century AD, indicating the rapid
Romanisation of the Chichester hinterland in the decades following the
Claudian invasion.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Keef, P, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Angmering Roman Villa Site: An interim report on excavations, , Vol. 84, (1944), 82-107
Wilson, A E, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Angmering Roman Villa, , Vol. 86, (1947), 1-21
Other
Scott, L, Angmering Roman Villa, Sussex Archaeological Collections, (1939)
Scott, L, The Roman Villa at Angmering, Sussex Archaeological Collections, (1938)

Source: Historic England

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