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Roman villa immediately west of Horkstow Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Horkstow, North Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.6591 / 53°39'32"N

Longitude: -0.511 / 0°30'39"W

OS Eastings: 498494.180897

OS Northings: 419099.86072

OS Grid: SE984190

Mapcode National: GBR SVW4.51

Mapcode Global: WHGG2.39X5

Entry Name: Roman villa immediately west of Horkstow Hall

Scheduled Date: 30 July 1975

Last Amended: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017553

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30116

County: North Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Horkstow

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Horkstow St Maurice

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the buried remains of a Romano-British villa, located in
the grounds of Horkstow Hall.
A Romano-British mosaic, dated stylistically to the fourth century AD, was
discovered by labourers setting out a kitchen garden in 1797, and was recorded
in quick succession by William Fowler and Samuel Lysons. It consisted of three
panels, two square and one rectangular, measuring in all over 15m by 6m. The
mosaic was left in situ, protected by a purpose built building, until its
removal to the British Museum in 1927, leaving a slight hollow and an adjacent
grassed over low mound of spoil. The mosaics, which were transferred to Hull
Museum in 1976, are similar in design to those excavated at Brantingham and
Winterton and are believed to have been laid by mosaicists from a workshop
based at Brough. The example found at Winterton was slightly smaller and
formed the floor of one of the aisled ancillary buildings rather than that of
the main house. Adjacent, and to the south of the mosaic at Horkstow, there
was a geometric pavement 4.6m wide and at least 7m long which was recorded as
being a running-pelta pattern in blue on white. Part of another mosaic, of red
and white stripes, was uncovered about 30.5m to the south east. These mosaics
probably lay in major public rooms of the villa. Their quality indicate the
affluence of the villa owner. Both the original layout of the villa complex
and its full extent is not yet fully understood, but extensive archaeological
deposits are considered to survive. A geophysical survey in 1987 identified
features orientated from north west to south east between the site of the
mosaics and Horkstow Hall, which would include the area of the red and white
mosaic uncovered in 1797.
Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fencing, walls and access ways to
drains, 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 found throughout lowland Britain and between 400 and 1000
examples have been recorded in England. Of these less than 10 are examples of
`major' villas. These were the largest, most substantial and opulent type of
villa which were built and used by a small but extremely wealthy section of
Romano-British society. 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. All major villas will be identified as nationally important.

Horkstow is a good example of the luxurious villas that marked the flourishing
late Romano-British society. As a largely unexcavated site, extensive buried
remains of the villa complex will survive, despite the early removal of some
of the mosaic flooring.

Source: Historic England


Lists all sources,

Source: Historic England

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