The villa at Saunderton lies just south-west of Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire, only 1½ miles (c. km) south-east of the ancient Icknield Way trade route, on a hillside in the shadow of the Chiltern Hills, just above the point where natural springs erupt from the hillside.
Excavations conducted by D. Ashcroft shortly before the advent of the Second World War proved the earliest occupation of the site during the early-2nd century when a single building of several rooms was built, featuring a channelled hypocaust and a corn-drying oven, this original dwelling was replaced in the late-3rd century by three large rooms (Liversidge, p.242). The corn-drier furnace was of the “Double-T” design, first used in the 2nd century, but was filled-in by the beginning of the 3rd (Liversidge p.222).
Although a single building of the so-called “corridor-villa” type was unearthed by the excavations of 1938, aerial photographs taken after WWII by J.K. St. Joseph appeared to show two wings of a courtyard-style house on the site, along with a rectangular enclosure a few hundred feet to the north (JRS 1953 p.94).
Other substantial Romano-British buildings have been uncovered a little way to the west at Wainhill (SP7601).
References for Saunderton
- Britain in the Roman Empire by Joan Liversidge (London 1968);
- Air Reconnaissance of Southern Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. XLIII (1953) pp.81-97;
Map References for Saunderton
NGRef: SP7901 OSMap: LR165
Roman Roads near Saunderton