Norton Disney Villa

Roman Villa

The presence of a Roman villa was not suspected until the discovery in 1933 by the farmer, Mr. E. Taylor, of a mosaic pavement.

Villas are so uniform in character that they arouse comparatively little interest compared with the military problems of Roman Britain. But a villa surrounded by ditches, whether for defensive purposes or not, can be immediately classed as a rarity. A list of such examples of domestic fortification in the Roman period includes the houses at Castle Dykes, near Ripon, at Cwmbrwyn in Carmarthenshire, at Bartlow in Cambridgeshire, at Langton in Yorkshire, and at Ely near Cardiff. Of these only the two last have been scientifically excavated, and only the house at Ely has fortifications which conform to the building. In these circumstances the discovery of a villa surrounded by five ditches and occupied, through five periods of construction and reconstruction, from the latter half of the first to the middle of the fourth century is of particular interest.

The villa in question is situated some 200 yards east of the Fosseway, at a point 9 miles south of Lincoln and a mile and a half north of Brough (Crococolana). The site is marked on the Ordnance Survey and known locally as Potter Hill. It comprises a long ridge of land some hundred feet higher than the plain in which Crococolana is placed. Stukeley in his Itinerary says, ‘and journeying to the space of about 12 Roman miles, I found Collingham on my right hand: there is a high barrow or tumulus called Potters Hill, where they say was a Roman pottery: it stands upon an eminence commanding a prospect both ways upon the road. Half a mile further is Brough.’