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Roman villa and medieval settlement remains immediately north of Ewefields Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Chesterton and Kingston, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.2226 / 52°13'21"N

Longitude: -1.4873 / 1°29'14"W

OS Eastings: 435118.116241

OS Northings: 258383.758071

OS Grid: SP351583

Mapcode National: GBR 6PC.NSD

Mapcode Global: VHBXY.5DKJ

Entry Name: Roman villa and medieval settlement remains immediately north of Ewefields Farm

Scheduled Date: 7 June 2001

Last Amended: 6 October 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020933

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35104

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Chesterton and Kingston

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Chesterton St Giles

Church of England Diocese: Coventry

Details

The monument includes the known extent of the buried and earthwork remains
of the Roman villa and medieval settlement at Ewefields Farm, Chesterton.
The villa is located on a sheltered, east-facing terrace just below the
crest of the hill and immediately above the water course. The medieval
settlement remains are located north west of the Ewefields Farm buildings
and run along the flank of the hill.

Evidence for the villa was first reported in 1922 during the laying of
water pipes on the north side of the farm buildings, which revealed a
quantity of Roman pottery. Further Romano-British material was discovered
adjacent to the farm along Church Lane during development in 1980. Survey
work in 1992, on the north side of the farmyard, led to the discovery of
Roman building material and pottery including tessera and box flue tiles.
Subsequent excavations in the 1990s revealed remains of a substantial
Roman building including wall footings of cut limestone blocks with a
mortar and rubble core. Evidence for at least eight rooms including the
remains of at least four mosaic pavements were discovered. The villa
remains show a building of some sophistication. It contained a hypocaust
system (underfloor heating) in one room, as well as painted wall plaster
and window glass. A series of in-filled drains and stone lined ditches
provide evidence for a water management system which will preserve
environmental deposits. Later phases of the villa included evidence of
reuse of the rooms including the building of hearths and a kiln which cut
into the mosaic floors. The villa lies within a known Roman landscape and
is believed to be associated with an extensive Roman rural town and the
Fosse Way Roman road lying to the north west; the Roman town is the
subject of a separate scheduling.

The remains of the medieval settlement include at least six building
platforms terraced into the side of the hill running parallel to the road,
as well as remains of a system of hollow ways and enclosure boundaries.
Located to the north, north east and north west of Ewefields Farm, the
remains are believed to form part of a system of dispersed medieval
settlement which formerly ran along the valley from the church of St Giles
in the south east as far as Chesterton Green to the north west.

Aerial photography from the 1940s to the 1960s recorded further medieval
ridge and furrow cultivation remains, fishponds and a moated manorial
site. Modern agriculture and development have subsequently degraded these
areas of the remains and they are not therefore included in the
scheduling. Two more areas of medieval settlement survive to the south
east and north west. However, these are the subject of separate
schedulings.

All modern post and wire fences and surfaces and all modern farm buildings
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these
features is included.


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 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.

The Roman villa immediately north of Ewefields Farm survives well as a
buried feature. It includes the structural remains of the villa and
associated deposits. These will illuminate both the development of the
site throughout the Roman period and also provide information about the
styles and methods of building and the variety of building materials
available in Warwickshire at the time. Items such as the mosaic and
painted wall plaster will provide evidence for artistic fashions and
influence, while artefacts will provide evidence for dating different
phases of building, as well as identifying the varying uses of each room
and the occupations of its inhabitants. The range of goods and materials
available in Warwickshire during the Roman period will also be
demonstrated through study of these artefacts. Sealed buried features such
as drainage systems and ditches lying below the villa will provide
environmental information which might include evidence for the diet and
occupation of the inhabitants of the villa as well as evidence relating to
the natural environment surrounding it and the agricultural regimes
employed there. An examination of the villa in relation to the surrounding
Roman landscape including the communication network and the hinterland of
the nearby Roman town can be expected to illustrate something of the
relationships between town and countryside in the Midlands during the
Roman period.

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional
diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their
archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do
this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of
each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements.
These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions,
possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past
1500 years or more.

This monument lies in the Inner Midlands sub-Province of the Central
Province, an area characterised by large numbers of nucleated settlements,
both surviving and deserted, many of which are thought to have been
established in Anglo-Saxon times. Most of the sub-Province's thinly
scattered dispersed settlements were created in post-medieval times, but
some of the local regions are characterised by higher proportions of
dispersed dwellings and hamlets, which probably mark the patchy survival
of older landscapes.

The remains of the medieval settlement survive well. Remains of houses and
outbuildings as well as gardens and allotments, will demonstrate the size
and status of this part of the medieval settlement, and its relationship
with the rest of the nearby dispersed settlement. Buried artefacts will
provide dating evidence for the development and decline of the settlement,
as well as information about the daily life and wealth of the inhabitants
including evidence for their occupations. Buried environmental evidence in
the wet areas such as ditches and ponds will be expected to illustrate the
diet and health of the people who lived there as well as providing
information about the medieval agricultural regime and the surrounding
natural environment. The remains of the field system, roads and boundaries
will provide evidence for the wider landscape setting, communication
network and rural environment surrounding the settlement.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Adams, D, Chesterton Roman Villa, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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