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North Leigh Roman Villa

Hob Uid: 334573
Location :
Oxfordshire
West Oxfordshire
North Leigh
Grid Ref : SP3970215418
Summary : The site of North Leigh Roman Villa, located within a loop of the River Evenlode. The villa was excavated in 1813-16 and again in 1910-11, and finds suggest that there were at least three phases of construction. Roman occupation on the site originated in the 1st or early 2nd century AD, when three buildings along the line of what became the north-west range were built. One of these was a bath house, and another structure served as a linking corridor. The main villa began as a winged-corridor building in the late second century AD. It was developed and extended to form a courtyard villa, and during the early third century AD some of the buildings on the north western and south western ranges were rebuilt and extended. Coin evidence, including a coin of Arcadius (AD 383-408), indicates that the villa was occupied up until the end of the 4th or beginning of the 5th century AD. The villa would have been quite luxurious as it included four bath suites and a large number of rooms containing plain tessellated or mosaic floors and under floor hypocaust heating.The main courtyard villa building complex measures about 65 by 50 metres and it has three ranges of more than 60 rooms built on three sides of a courtyard. The fourth side is formed by a corridor in which the gateway was set. There were further ranges of buildings to the south west of the main complex, either side of a metalled driveway which led away from the gateway on the south eastern side of the courtyard. Aerial photography has also indicated the presence of workshops and other buildings extending over a large area on the west bank of the River Evenlode. A mosaic floor (lifted and relaid in 1929) is today covered by shed built by the then owner, the Duke of Marlborough, following excavations between 1812 and 1814. A small custodian's cottage at the site may also date from the same period. The site is now in the care of English Heritage.
More information : SP 3966 1541: Roman Villa (R) (Remains of) (NAT) (1)

North Leigh. The remains of a Roman Villa facing south east on a slope near the river Evenlode was excavated in 1813-16 and again in 1910-11. Occupation was from at least the latter part of the second century to the end of the fourth or beginning of the fifth centuries; coins of Arcadius (AD 383-408) have been found. During this time from the first structure of a rectangular block the building underwent two major reconstructions. In the final form the buildings were arranged along three sides of a rectangular courtyard with an internal corridor, the south east side of the courtyard being enclosed by a wall with a small gatehouse and porters lodge (2) (see plan). In 1943 Riley observed and photographed from the air a southwest extension to the villa (3) (see plan) (2-4)

The villa is open to the public and is looked after by the DOE. Some excavation and reconstruction is now taking place. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (5)

DOE Handbook. North Leigh Roman Villa. (6)

SP 397 154: North Leigh Roman villa scheduled and under guardianship. (7)

SP 397154: North Leigh Roman villa, listed. (See illustration card for plan). (8)

The Roman villa at SP 397 154 is Scheduled as an Ancient Monument. (9)

OX 41 Listed as the site of a Roman villa. (10)

The remains of a large Roman courtyard villa with an almost complete red and brown patterned mosaic floor. (11-12)

The site of a Roman villa and its associated buildings.
The principal villa building complex has three ranges of more than 60 rooms built on three sides of a courtyard. The fourth side is formed by a corridor in which the gateway was set. Further ranges of buildings lie to the south west of the main complex, either side of a metalled driveway which led away from the gateway on the south eastern side of the courtyard. The courtyard itself measures c.65m from south east to north west by 50m from south west to north east.
The villa is of luxurious construction, including four bath suites, 16 rooms containing mosaic pavements, 11 rooms with plain tessellated floors and another 11 rooms with under-floor hypocaust heating.
The main complex has been partially excavated and the remains are preserved. The excavations indicate that the site was first occupied during the Late Iron Age. The villa appears to have been constructed in three main phases. The first phase was carried out in the late second century AD. The villa began as a winged-corridor building but was rapidly extended to form a courtyard villa. During the early third century AD a number of rooms were divided and soon afterwards some of the buildings on the north western and south western ranges were rebuilt and extended.
Aerial photographs indicate that the site extended over a large area on the west bank of the River Evenlode. These included workshop units and other buildings. (13)

For a full description of the villa (ranges, discovery, excavation, situation and history) as well as plans and images of the remains and the mosaics please refer to the English Heritage guidebook on North Leigh Villa. (14)

For a description of the villa and a variety of worksheets, classroom activities and resources for teachers, please refer to the North Leigh Roman Villa Handbook for Teachers. (15)

North Leigh villa was laid out piecemeal to an eventual courtyard plan. A full account of the excavations to date and an interpretation of the results of these excavations are given in the article, which includes several plans of the different elements and phases of the villa. (16)

A brief history and description. (17)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1955
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Oxford, Volume I
Source details :
Page(s) : 316-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : The English Heritage visitors' handbook 1998-99
Source details :
Page(s) : 51
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : English Heritage Visitor Handbook 2009/10
Source details :
Page(s) : 69
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Source Number : 13
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 02-Nov-94
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Source Number : 14
Source : North Leigh Roman villa, Oxfordshire [guidebook]
Source details :
Page(s) : Jan-20
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : North Leigh Roman Villa. A Handbook for Teachers
Source details :
Page(s) : Jan-17
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : 'The North Leigh Roman Villa: Its Plan Reviewed', article by David R Wilson
Page(s) : 77-113
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 35 (2004)
Source Number : 17
Source : Heritage Unlocked: London and the South East
Source details :
Page(s) : 106-107
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Source Number : 3
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 81
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 34, 1944
Source Number : 4
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : CB 128-129 undated (J K St Joseph)
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JB 25-JUL-73
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Source Number : 6
Source : North Leigh Roman Villa, Oxfordshire [official handbook]
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of ancient monuments in England: Volume 1, Northern England; Volume 2, Southern England; Volume 3, East Anglia and the Midlands
Source details :
Page(s) : 81
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3
Source Number : 8
Source : The Romano-British countryside : studies in rural settlement and economy
Source details :
Page(s) : 60, 70
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 103 (i)
Source Number : 9
Source : County list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments : December 1987
Source details : Oxfordshire
Page(s) : 19
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Source Number : 10
Source : A gazetteer of Roman villas in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 160
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.1

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Built late 2nd C
Monument End Date : 200
Monument Start Date : 167
Monument Type : Villa
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Developed and extended 3rd C
Monument End Date : 300
Monument Start Date : 201
Monument Type : Villa
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Late 4th century - early 5th
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 367
Monument Type : Villa
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : First Roman occupation
Monument End Date : 132
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Building, Bath House
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Early C19
Monument End Date : 1832
Monument Start Date : 1814
Monument Type : Shed
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Cottage built by 1921
Monument End Date : 1921
Monument Start Date : 1812
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Villa
Object Type : COIN
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC73/00118
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : OX 75
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Oxfordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1314
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 21819
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 204
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC73/00115
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HT11040
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 31 NE 13
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 334639
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH LEIGH
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1812-01-01
End Date : 1813-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH LEIGH ROMAN VILLA
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1813-01-01
End Date : 1817-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH LEIGH ROMAN VILLA
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1910-01-01
End Date : 1911-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH LEIGH ROMAN VILLA
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1956-01-01
End Date : 1959-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 31 NE 13
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-07-25
End Date : 1973-07-25
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH LEIGH ROMAN VILLA
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1975-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BETWEEN ROMAN VILLA AND RIVER EVENLODE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31