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Turkdean Roman Villa

A Scheduled Monument in Hazleton, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8694 / 51°52'9"N

Longitude: -1.8579 / 1°51'28"W

OS Eastings: 409878.470628

OS Northings: 218984.227835

OS Grid: SP098189

Mapcode National: GBR 3P4.R36

Mapcode Global: VHB20.R84S

Entry Name: Turkdean Roman Villa

Scheduled Date: 10 May 2012

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1408772

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Hazleton

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Turkdean All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Summary

The buried remains of a Romano-British villa, with an associated area of building to the south-east, and a culvert of Roman or later date.

Source: Historic England

Details

Principal Elements

The complex includes a Romano-British courtyard villa, with an associated area of building to its south-east, lying on an almost flat limestone promontory overlooking a dry valley. A spring rises on the hillside to the north-east, its waters channelled through a culvert of Roman or later date, emerging as a stream to the south of the aisled building.

Description

The archaeological features are now entirely buried, but their presence has been confirmed by aerial photographs, geophysical survey, and archaeological excavation. All surviving walls are of limestone, and there are some cobbled surfaces within the courtyards.

The main villa complex is built around three courtyards, the whole being approximately 120 x 75m; the courtyards are aligned on roughly north/south axis, with the inner courtyard to the north. The inner and middle courtyards are separated by a cross range, with access through it, whilst a gateway leads from the middle courtyard to the southern outer courtyard. Around the exterior of the villa on the north, east and west sides is a perimeter wall, defining the compound.

The northern or inner courtyard measures 28 x 51m, and is traversed by a stone-capped drain, and by a second drain or path. Along the northern side of the inner courtyard is a range of rooms, 58m long, with corridors to the front and rear; one of the rooms, only 2.5m wide, forms a cross-passage. At either end of the range, larger wing rooms project northwards beyond the rear corridor by 2m. This range shows evidence of demolition and re-building. The west side of the inner courtyard is bordered by a portico or ambulatory, with an open yard beyond, bounded by the perimeter wall; there is a rectangular room in the southern part of the yard. The range on the eastern side of the inner courtyard is defined by two walls 10m apart; there are no visible partitions in this area.

The central or cross range is defined by northern and southern external walls 15m apart, with a spread of rubble between them; there are at least three rooms in this range. Across the centre is a rectangular room, 6m wide internally, and spanning the range, with a slight projection beyond the southern wall; at the southern end of this room is an infilled pool. The pool was lined with red-painted plaster, and had a flagged stone floor; there is a step on the northern wall. A fragment of a stone roof finial was retrieved from demolition rubble in this area. In the eastern part of this range, the room or rooms are bordered by corridors or porticos to north and south. To the west of the central room, a corridor or portico can be identified on the northern side of the range, possibly originally connecting with that on the inner side of the north-west range, but a north/south cross wall appears to have impeded access.

The middle courtyard, lying to the south of the cross range, is slightly irregular. On the western side of the courtyard are few defined structures. On the eastern side is a range 15m wide, in which an eastern corridor has been identified; on the western face of the eastern wall were fragments of painted plaster with a striped pattern. In the centre of the range was found the bowl furnace and flue of a small hearth.

Between the middle courtyard and the southern or outer courtyard are two parallel walls, 5m apart, on a slightly different alignment to the other west/east walls of the villa complex; there is some evidence of a room to the west of this range. There is evidence for a central entrance or gatehouse within the range, 6m wide. On the western side of the outer courtyard is a building or room measuring 16m by 9m; a spread of rubble on the eastern side of the courtyard suggests the presence of further structures. There is no evidence of a southern boundary wall.

Situated 30m to the south-east of the main villa complex are the remains of what appears to be a substantial detached structure, on a west/east alignment. Limited excavation work, together with evidence of alteration during occupation, makes this area difficult to interpret with any certainty. The structure may have been an aisled building, consisting of a nave with aisles to north and south. It has also been suggested that the area may hold parts of two distinct buildings, rather than one. The eastern end of the investigated area is 2.25 above the western area; the western end is therefore supposed to have been of more than one storey. A small sondage at the western end was faced and plastered, and probably represents a cellar or plunge pool.

A series of culverts of Roman or later date has been identified in the eastern half of the site; these are still fed by the spring to the north-east of the villa. A culvert leads southwards to a point to the north of the detached building, and then runs in subsidiary channels to the east and west of the detached building, discharging into the stream to the south. The areas investigated have shown the culverts to be lined with stone, with larger capping slabs.

Evidence of possible industrial activity, or perhaps a heating system, exists in an area investigated to the north-east of the detached building, where limestone rubble, silty clays, charcoal and fragments of iron slag were found. In addition, a circular quarry pit was identified to the south-east of the detached building. These features cannot be dated.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Turkdean Roman complex is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: as an important example of a Roman villa, which survives well in the form of buried archaeological features
* Potential: partial excavation and other investigative work have indicated that the site retains valuable information about the development of the villa as a whole, and the nature and use of the individual structures
* Association: the site lies within a significant area of Roman occupation, between two concentrations of villas

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Grundy, G B, Saxon Charters and Field Names of Gloucestershire, (1935), 180
Holbrook, N, 'Britannia, 35' in Turkdean Roman Villa: Archaeological Investigations, 1997-1998, , Vol. 35, (2004), 39-76
Other
Channel 4, Time Team, programmes recording investigations at Turkdean, 1997, 1998,
Cotswold Archaeological Trust, Turkdean Roman Villa, Gloucestershire: Archaeological Investigations 1997-1998, for Time Team, May 2000,
Gloucestershire Sites and Monuments Record Summary Report for Area 19798,
National Monuments Record Monument Report, Unique Identifier: 1185169,
National Monuments Record, Air Photographs dated 1946, 1947, 1974, 1993, 1999,

Source: Historic England

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