Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British villa 170m south west of Winchcombe School, Greet Road

A Scheduled Monument in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.9627 / 51°57'45"N

Longitude: -1.966 / 1°57'57"W

OS Eastings: 402429.462309

OS Northings: 229355.574239

OS Grid: SP024293

Mapcode National: GBR 3MV.V22

Mapcode Global: VHB1C.WX0S

Entry Name: Romano-British villa 170m south west of Winchcombe School, Greet Road

Scheduled Date: 23 April 2010

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021449

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21700

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Winchcombe

Built-Up Area: Cheltenham

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Winchcombe St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes the known extent of the buried remains of a minor
Romano-British villa and associated agricultural enclosures. The monument is
located on the northern edge of the town of Winchcombe on land gently sloping
to the east towards the River Isbourne; Langley Hill rises to the west.

The monument was the subject of full geophysical survey and partial
excavation from April to May 2009, which demonstrated the presence of
buildings, probably part of a single complex farm or villa, in the southern
part of the monument and agricultural enclosures, possibly animal pens, as
well as a pond, to the north. The buildings are built on terraces and have
opus signinum floors. Two main phases of building activity were recorded,
which indicate that the buildings were rebuilt during the mid 2nd century,
perhaps due to subsidence during an earlier 1st century, and short-lived,
phase. Remains of wall plaster and roof tile were recorded as well as
numerous contemporary small finds including metal objects, pottery and animal
bone. Analysis of this assemblage indicates that the monument's principal
phase of settlement was from the mid 2nd century until abandonment by the end
of the 3rd century.

Excavation to the south of the monument, undertaken in 2007 in advance of
redevelopment, indicated the presence of a mid-to-late Iron Age settlement,
with a large enclosure ditch. The northern extent of this settlement survives
within the southern part of the monument and a partially excavated ditch may
correspond with the enclosure ditch to the south. The Romano-British villa
site therefore occupies the northern margins of an earlier Iron Age
settlement. It is not unusual to discover Romano-British villas built upon
the site of earlier Iron Age settlements; a number of which are already
scheduled in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

All post and wire fences, gates and gateposts are excluded from the
scheduling. The ground beneath all these features is, however, 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

Geophysical survey and partial excavation have demonstrated that despite
robbing and subsequent ploughing the remains of the Romano-British villa at
Winchcombe survive well and comprise a variety of features including
buildings, enclosures and rich buried deposits. The structural remains and
associated deposits will illuminate both the development of occupation
throughout the Roman period and also provide important dating and other
archaeological and environmental evidence. The evidence for earlier
occupation and its relation to the known Iron Age settlement excavated to the
south considerably enhances the significance of the monument.

In a wider context, with Langley Hill Camp (SP 00792902) and Millhampost
Roman Settlement (SP 04203062), 1.6km to the west and 2km to the north east
respectively, the monument will enhance our understanding of the regional
settlement structure from the Iron Age into the Roman period.

SOURCES: John Moore Heritage Services, An Archaeological Evaluation at Land
off Greet Road, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire (June 2009)

Source: Historic England


John Moore Heritage Services, An Archaeological Evaluation at Land off Greet Road, Winchcombe, 2009,

Source: Historic England

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