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Historic England Research Records

Barnsley Park Villa

Hob Uid: 327163
Location :
Gloucestershire
Cotswold
Barnsley
Grid Ref : SP0796506286
Summary : A Roman villa discovered in 1950 lying within a contemporary field system. The site has been excavated between 1961 and 1979 and the results conclude that there was a period of occupation between AD 140 and the 5th century. The main developments of the site history have been grouped into 10 phases. The first of these (AD 140-315) saw the establishment of a farm, centred on a wooden framed farmhouse with yards to the north and south. A second farmhouse replaced this between AD 315 and 340. A bath house was added around AD 340-360. This was later extended and incoporated into a winged corrior villa replacing the farmhouse. This villa was later subject to additions before it was turned over to agricultural use. Finds from the excavations include pottery, a buckle and three infant graves. These were all donated to the Corinium Museum. The field system is visible as a series of narrow earth banks. This is a Scheduled Monument.
More information : Roman villa at Barnsley Park, discovered in 1950. Excavations have
been carried out since 1961 under the direction of Dr Graham Webster
and P J Fowler. Occupation from the 2nd cent is indicated by pottery
of that date, including Samian ware, found over the whole site,
though no associated structures have been discovered. A timber phase,
with post-holes, gullies and hearths, is connected with possible 3rd
cent pottery, and dry-stone-walling, probably of a large farm-yard
complex is dated by coins of AD 280-325. The main building phase,
which includes a building of winged corridor type, a large barn and a
bath-house, occurred between 350 and 360 AD. A change from domestic
to increased agricultural use took palce c 380 AD, and later
indications point to the use by peasants of the surviving farm
buildings, which show no signs of a violent end. Three sherds of
grass-tempered pottery and a Germanic military-type buckle hint at
5th cent occupation. There are traces of other buildings in the
vicinity, with associated field banks covering an area of over 100
acres. All finds are being donated to the Corinium Museum. (1-4)

(SP 08120617) The site excavated up to the present time is surrounded
by other buildings for at lest 50 yds in all directions, and lies at
the centre of a field system covering about eight modern fields. (5)

A Romano-British field system covers about 120 acres and occupies
most of the norther half of the park at Barnsley, linked to and on
the same general alignment as the four or more acres of dry-stone
walled closes which surround the Roman buildings. The field
boundaries consist of narrow earth banks emphasised by ancient plough
action, and the overall pattern is akin to that of prehistoric and
RB. "Celtic" fields. The remains of a substantial bank and ditch
(from SP 07600650 to SP 07440621) bound the more clearly defined
fields on the west. Possibly contemporary with the fields is a sunken
area SE of the villa (at SP 08260608), with a small central mound
approached by four linear hollows. (6-8)

Further work was carried out at the site in 1971-72, including the
area to the rear of the house where excavations down to the clay
subsoil failed to reveal the 2-3rd C buildings. The presence of daub
fragments immediately south of the verandah may be an indication of a
timber structure. the NW corner of the house was opened up and the
room found to have a channelled hypocaust like that in the W wing
room. In the east area, initial study of the dry-stone wall buildings
and the pitched stone area established a provisional sequence of 5
main phases. One of the dry-stone structures was 11.4m in diameter
with an unpaved area at the centre occupied by a series of hearths.
Trial trenches at three points on the walled enclosures around the
villa revealed occupation and structures, suggesting that the villa
and its outbuildings occupy a much larger area than hitherto thought
possible. (9-10)

SP 08120617 The Roman Villa and the field systems (SP 080062) are as
described. The excavations are continuing although the estate manager
expects the exposed buildings to be back filled when the work is
completed. Sited on OS:1:2500 PFD. (11)

SP 083067 A timber building on the east of the site was examined. On
the north of the site an east - west gully was excavated; this
contained shallow emplacements for posts. This is interpreted as part
of an irregular building extending to the south. Another large
structure of later date but similar plan was predated by a four post
structure 7.0m square with post holes 1.2m across. The final timber
building phase was represented by two areas of dark occupation
material with some daub and clay and associated late 2nd to early 3rd
century pottery. The north end of the west wing of the winged
building was exposed and the north boundary wall of the north yard
was found about 10.0m away. (12)

The final season of excavations at Barnsley Park took place in 1979.
Webster's comments on the whole excavation are contained in this
article. (13)

SP 082 064. The findings of the 1961-79 excavations were interpreted
by Webster and Smith as indicating a period of occupation for the
site lasting from c AD 140 into the 5th Century. The main
developments in the site's history were grouped into 10 phases. The
first 2 of these (AD 140-315) saw the establishing of a farm, centred
on a wooden framed farmhouse with yards to the north and south. These
yards contained a succession of timber buildings and circular floors
and/or stock pens. The N yard was partly used as an accomodation
area, whilst the south eventually came to be completely used as a
stock yard. In phase 3,(AD 315-340) a second timber framed farmhouse
replaced the earlier structure whilst the yards and house enclosure
were defined by dry stone walling. A bath house was added to the
main building during phase 4 (AD 340-360), with a stone-lined well at
its SW corner. This was subject to later extensions and was
eventually incorporated into a winged corridor villa which replaced
the farmhouse on its demolition during phases 5-6 (AD 360-375), at
which time a large barn was constructed in the south yard. A west
wing and other extensions were added to the villa between AD 375-380
(phases 7) before radical changes in AD 380-400 (phase 8) during
which the villa building was turned over to agricultural use. Phases
9-10 saw the complete demolition of the villa building, its rubble-
filled foundation possibly being used as a stock yard. The barn,
meanwhile, survived till the abandonment of the site during the 5th
Century. 3 infant graves are shown on the published site plans. 2 lay
to the N of the phase 1 farmhouse (AD 140-275), whilst a 3rd,
apparently associated with phase 2 (AD 275-315) lay at the W corner
of the N yard. [The 5th Century grass tempered ware mentioned in
source 1 were discovered in the field system rather than the villa
which is described as conspicuously free of pottery of this type].
(14-15)

SP 038 067. Agricultural evidence from the 1961-79 excavation
reviewed in survey of Roman agricultural buildings. (16)

The Romano-British field-system and the dry-stone walling described above (6-8) are visible as slight earthworks and parch marks respectively on aerial photographs and have been mapped by the Cotswolds Hills NMP.

The field-system is defined by earthen banks orientated roughly east-west and north-south and are linked to and on the same general alignment as the dry-stone walls which surround the Roman villa site. The field-system covers an area which measures 470m east-west and 480m north-south. The field-system pattern is further complicated by the existence of at least four other main phases of land-use, each represented by its own earthworks (Gloucestershire County Council SMR No: 1). (20-24)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : (G Webster)
Page(s) : 74-87
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 86, 1967
Source Number : 2
Source : Glevensis : Gloucestershire and District Archaeological Research Group review
Source details : (G Webster)
Page(s) : 04-May
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1968
Source Number : 11
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DRB 28-JAN-75
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 455
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9, 1978
Source Number : 13
Source : Current archaeology
Source details : (G Webster)
Page(s) : Nov-14
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 72, 1980
Source Number : 14
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : (G Webster)
Page(s) : 22-27
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 99, 1981
Source Number : 15
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : (G Webster and L Smith)
Page(s) : 65-189
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 100, 1982
Source Number : 16
Source : British Archaeological Report (BAR) British series
Source details : (P Morris)
Page(s) : 26-28,38,46,67,105,109,111
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 70, 1979
Source Number : 17
Source : A gazetteer of Roman villas in Britain
Source details : GS 8
Page(s) : 68
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.1
Source Number : 18
Source : Barnsley Park field system/publication drawing
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 19
Source : Barnsley Park field system/publication drawing
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 20
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SP 0806/45 NMR 24604/26 18-APR-2007
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Council for British Archaeology : Group 12 (Wessex) & Group 13 (South West) : Archaeological review
Source details : (G Webster)
Page(s) : 38
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1969
Source Number : 21
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SP 0806/41 NMR 15218/13 03-MAR-1995
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 22
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SP 0806/42 NMR 18628/08 15-DEC-1999
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 23
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SP 0806/43 NMR 18628/09 15-DEC-1999
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 24
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Gloucestershire County Council SMR (No. 1)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : (J K St Joseph AMZ 47)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter (P J Fowler 25.3.71)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHM Ms Notes & Plan 14.3.72
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Notes & Plan (P J Fowler)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : (NMR SP0706/2 476-498; 0806/9/386; 0806/16/461-475)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : (D R Wilson)
Page(s) : 307
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1973
Source Number : 10
Source : Council for British Archaeology : Group 12 (Wessex) & Group 13 (South West) : Archaeological review
Source details : (G Webster & P J Fowler)
Page(s) : 26
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6, 1971

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 140
Monument Type : Field System, Villa, Inhumation
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Earthwork, Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Field System, Villa, Inhumation
Object Type : BUCKLE, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : GC 369
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 12008
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 00 NE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 763220
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 765625
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 327185
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 327188
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : BARNSLEY PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1960-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31
Associated Activities : BARNSLEY PARK ROMAN VILLA
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1961-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 00 NE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-01-28
End Date : 1975-01-28
Associated Activities : THE COTSWOLD HILLS (SOUTH COTSWOLDS) NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-10-01
End Date : 2010-10-01