Hambleden Roman Villa

Villa

A Romano-British homestead built before the mid-1st century and occupied until the end of the 4th, comprising four buildings with an enclosure wall. The principal dwelling house, 92 x 82 ft, was of the double corridor type; the large number of furnaces found suggest that the establishment was engaged in corn production on a large scale.

The earliest house erected in the mid-1st century was possibly of only four rooms. In its final form it was a tripartite villa standing within an enclosure. Within the yard were two ‘basilican’ buildings, a third small outhouse (possibly a granary) and more than a dozen corn-ovens.

A reconstructed portion of tesselated pavement from the villa, (1920 excavation) is housed in the Old Hambleden Museum.

Aerial photographic mapping in 1993 revealed that the buildings are part of an extensive complex of buildings and fields arranged alongside a paved road. It seems likely that this was more than a villa complex: traces of at least 21 buildings have been recorded, all with stone foundations. The site lies immediately to the W of, and is probably associated with, another extensive Roman roadside settlement and field system  at the S end of a small valley, and both sites ate 350m-400m from the River Thames.

The excavated buildings, including the main villa and two barns or workshops, one with an annex, are located to the S of a paved road which runs E-W for c.450m. The building with the annex lies immediately adjacent to the road, with traces of at least four further buildings being recorded to the E on both sides of the road.

Second Villa?

Another villa is located 750m to the SE at Mill End first identified from aerial photographs in 1921. The villa comprises a winged building with a central porch. The rear of a building has a subdivided corridor. Field walking has located finds including roof tile and pottery. The villa, a number of ditched boundaries, which are probably the remains of enclosures, and a fragment of road are visible as cropmarks and have been mapped from aerial photographs. The boundaries form an incomplete enclosure with the elements which are 45m long. The road is defined by parallel side ditches, which measure 50m, with traces of a metalled surface between. This villa may be a southerly extension of the Roman settlement at Hambledon.