The Villa at Engleton Hall Farm is surrounded by a ditch sytem, possibly a moat, enclosing an area of about 1 acre, lay half a mile due south of Watling Street on the course of the iron-age highway from the Wrekin to Wall.
The main 4th century villa was built over the site of an earlier house. Originally built during the period 195-211 AD, fragments of late Samian redware were found on the site at the level of this first period of occupation, dateable no later than 260 AD. The second period building was certainly in occupation by 280 AD, attested by the find of a small brass from the reign of Aurelian.
Three coins belonging to Constantines early reign and one from his Constantinopolis period c. 330-7 AD were found, along with cooking pots, stewpans and dishes of grey and black coarseware also dateable to the mid 4th century. Another significant find was that of a fine bronze fibula or safety pin, of the cross-bow type, which belonged to about 300 AD. A large number of domesticated animal bones were unearthed, including red deer antlers and even oyster shells.
The villa included bathing quarters and sanitary arrangements including hot and cold plunge baths and a hypocaust system. The bath area being located in the western corner of the site.
The central area of the main room had a floor of cobblestones, whilst the household rooms leading off from the central atrium had bright, vari-coloured frescoes painted on the wall plaster but no tessalated pavement. This lack of refinement to the floors may prove that the villa was used as a country residence or hunting lodge; if a well-to-do Roman family were permanently in residence, mosaic floors would almost certainly be a requisite feature.
The villa was possibly the residence of the Imperial Procurator’s deputy, and used as the administrative centre for the local charcoal and timber industries.
Map References for Engleton Hall
NGRef: SJ9010 OSMap: LR127
Roman Roads near Engleton Hall