Ancient Monuments

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Roman villa 530m west of Stanton House

A Scheduled Monument in Stanton Fitzwarren, Swindon

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Latitude: 51.6089 / 51°36'32"N

Longitude: -1.7503 / 1°45'1"W

OS Eastings: 417384.527902

OS Northings: 190036.035444

OS Grid: SU173900

Mapcode National: GBR 4TX.297

Mapcode Global: VHB37.MT0H

Entry Name: Roman villa 530m west of Stanton House

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016328

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28983

County: Swindon

Civil Parish: Stanton Fitzwarren

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Stanton Fitzwarren

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes a Roman villa in Stanton Park situated on undulating
land between Swindon and Highworth. The villa is in a secluded position in a
valley 530m west of Stanton House.
Wall foundations and two tesselated pavements were discovered during the
construction of a railway line in the 19th century, and small scale excavation
in 1969 revealed the remains of a bath house consisting of at least three
rooms and a stoke-hole. Geophysical survey in 1997 has indicated a range of
features over an area of 110m by 100m, the majority of which accord with the
alignment of the bath house and are therefore interpreted as the remains of
the main dwelling, extending eastwards from the original 19th century
discoveries and northwards from the site of the bath house. It is therefore
likely that the bath house forms the southern wing of a villa of courtyard
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath
these features is included.

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

The Roman villa in Stanton Park is a well preserved example of its class and
has been shown by small scale excavation and geophysical survey to contain
archaeological and environmental deposits relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Bartlett, ADH , Stanton Fitzwarren - Report on Archaeogeophysical Survey, 1996-7, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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