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Romano-British nucleated enclosed settlement and Roman villa complex at Glebe Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Barton in Fabis, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 52.8801 / 52°52'48"N

Longitude: -1.2179 / 1°13'4"W

OS Eastings: 452732.757411

OS Northings: 331688.385539

OS Grid: SK527316

Mapcode National: GBR 8JF.JWN

Mapcode Global: WHDH4.8VBY

Entry Name: Romano-British nucleated enclosed settlement and Roman villa complex at Glebe Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020821

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35602

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Barton in Fabis

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Barton-in-Fabis

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the buried remains of a Romano-British nucleated
enclosed settlement and Roman villa complex. The site lies to the north, east
and south of Glebe Farm. The remains of a curvilinear enclosed settlement
of probable Iron Age date lying to the south east are also included. It is
situated on Keuper marl subsoil with occasional deposits of gypsum and

In 1856, excavations, approximately 84m east of Glebe Farm house, revealed
a late third century tessellated pavement. This was removed from the site
and subsequently lost. Further small scale excavations, carried out in
the area between 1933 and 1949, identified a Roman villa of winged
corridor construction, a circular structure, possibly a threshing floor
and evidence of three periods of construction. The evidence, including
building remains, coins, pottery and bones, suggested occupation of the
site from the late first century to the first half of the fourth century.
More recent excavations have confirmed second century occupation.

An assessment of all available aerial photography of the site was carried out
between 1991 and 1996 under the auspices of the Royal Commission on the
Historic Monuments of England, National Mapping Programme. This revealed
crop marks to the north and south east of the villa, indicating the
survival of more extensive remains. These take the form of curvilinear and
linear ditches or walls defining a series of enclosures. Those to the
north and north east of the villa are generally linear in form and those
to the south east are more curvilinear, although linear elements do
extend to the east. The crop marks are comparable to other sites, some of
which have been excavated. Such comparisons help to identify the site at
Glebe Farm as a nucleated enclosed settlement incorporating the Roman villa.
These generally consisted of extensive foci of settlement containing
numerous clusters of a relatively uniform spread of dwellings and ancillary
agricultural structures and pens surrounded by frequently substantial
enclosing earthworks. To the north and north east of Glebe Farm evidence of
the enclosing earthworks is apparent in the form of parallel linear ditches
running north to south. Although only short lengths of these are visible
from aerial photographs, it does suggest that the enclosing earthworks
incorporated the villa structure itself. This is a characteristic found in
other similar sites in the region. Although dating evidence from the
nucleated enclosed settlement at Glebe Farm is scant, continuity in the use
of the site at Glebe Farm is indicated. Evidence from excavated examples
shows that most date from the fourth century BC to the first century AD, but
earlier examples, dating from the early part of the first millennium BC,
are also known. Continuity in the use of the site at Glebe Farm is
indicated. The curvilinear enclosures to the east are thought to represent
the remains of an Iron Age settlement, the precursor to the later
nucleated enclosed settlement and Roman villa.

Other activities associated with crop processing and storage, animal husbandry
and craft production are all common features of nucleated enclosed
settlements. Storage and processing facilities such as pits and four and six
post structures are frequently abundant and metal working activity is often
evident from residues or finds, though rarely structures. Evidence for
some or all of these activities is expected to survive at this site. All
the activities are evidence of the role of such sites as centres for the
processing and exchange of rural produce but a number of sites also have
evidence to suggest a key role as local religious or ritual foci in middle
and late Iron Age England.

The villa remains partially underlie the present farmyard and buildings.
Removal and replacement of previous structures and buildings in this area
will undoubtedly have affected buried remains, but the evidence from
comparable sites indicates that construction of new agricultural
buildings does not necessarily involve extensive ground disturbance. The
potential for further villa remains in this area is therefore considered
high and consequently it is included in the scheduling.

The farm buildings, path surfaces and modern fences and walls are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Late Iron Age and Roman period nucleated enclosed settlements are discrete
foci of occupation extending over an area of between 2ha and 15ha. Although
the earliest examples may have been founded in the early part of the first
millennium BC, most date from the fourth to first centuries BC/AD.
Nucleated enclosed settlements are usually recognised as foci of permanent
occupation during the Iron Age and earlier Roman period in much of western and
central England. Some are considered to have acted as local political and
economic centres within otherwise rurally based societies in these areas.
A number of sites also have evidence in the form of structured deposits,
articulated or semi-articulated animal and human burials and putative shrine
structures to suggest a key role as local religious or ritual foci in Middle
and Late Iron Age England. Some are clearly monumental constructions
intended to convey actual or symbolic power through fortification. Many
appear to be centres for the processing, storage and redistribution of
agricultural and craft products.

The enclosing ramparts are frequently substantial, with ditches up to 15m
wide. Internally recorded features include round houses and ovoid buildings,
fenced or palisaded enclosures, hearths, ovens, floors, four and six post
structures, pits, trackways and quarry hollows and rarely shrines. Larger
extensively excavated examples show evidence for zonation of settlement
within the earthworks, with dwellings lining the lee of the enclosure or
along internal trackways and paths.

Various schemes have been suggested for classifying nucleated enclosed
settlements, but the range of forms is enormous and appears to largely
reflect the individual developmental histories of sites, their
topographical setting and constructional practices. Shape is often
irregular and reflects local topography, but rectilinear and polygonal
forms that do not mirror their settings are known. Given the size and
complexity of known examples of this class and the longevity of
occupation in many cases, the diversity in plan form, settlement history
and composition and methods and materials of construction used for the
fabric of each settlement is no surprise. Nucleated enclosed settlements
are recognised principally from aerial photography of crop marks,
earthwork survey or, increasingly, geoprospection, and large scale field
survey that includes surface artefact collection. Excavation is rare
(currently estimated at eight per cent). There are approximately 250-400
recorded examples of nucleated enclosed settlements and all sites that have
been positively identified and which have significant surviving remains will
merit protection.

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 buildings 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,
under floor 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.

Villa structures 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 remodeled to fit changing
circumstances. 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 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 in 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.

Barton in Fabis is a rare and relatively well-preserved example of a Romano-
British nucleated enclosed settlement and Roman villa complex. A
combination of excavation and aerial photographic survey indicates the
form, extent and level of survival of below ground remains within the
settlement. Excavation has proven the survival of buried remains on the
site of the Roman villa. Such survival is rare in the Trent Valley where
continued arable agricultural has tended to degrade or destroy evidence.
Aerial photographs give an indication of the form and extent of the site
which survives over an area of almost 6ha. Barton in Fabis is one of just
nine or ten examples of large nucleated enclosure complexes in the East
Midlands; a group distinctive in form to other examples nationally.

Early nucleated settlement is unusual in the East Midlands, and implies an
importance prior to the construction of the Roman villa. Evidence for
continuity in the use of such sites is again rare in the Trent Valley and
so adds to the national importance of the site. Evidence from morphologically
comparable sites indicates that nucleated enclosed settlements, particularly
those containing villa structures, are intimately and indeed symbiotically
linked to Roman small towns. Coin assemblages from both settlement types
have been shown to be similar, indicating the importance of the nucleated
enclosed settlements in market exchange. This association is emphasised by
the decline of both towns and villas at around the same time.

Taken as a whole, Barton in Fabis nucleated enclosed settlement and Roman
villa retains important archaeological and environmental evidence. This
offers the potential to understand the site in the context of the local
settlement pattern and will add significantly to the knowledge and
understanding of continuity and change in the social and economic
development of the landscape during the Romano-British and Roman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bishop, M, Archaeological resource assessment of Roman Nottinghamshire1-14
Bishop, M, Archaeological resource assessment of Roman Nottinghamshire1-14
Thompson, F H, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in Roman Villa at Glebe Farm, Barton in Fabis, Notts. Excav. 1933-, , Vol. 55, (1951), 3-21
Deegan, A, A Report for the National Mapping Project - Nottinghamshire, (1999)
Deegan, A., Report for the National Mapping Programme - Nottinghamshire, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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