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Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Archaeological Handbook
of the County of Gloucester

by George Witts

published by G. Norman, Clarence Street
Cheltenham, n.d. (1883)

The text is in the public domain.

This text has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Archaeological Handbook of Gloucestershire

p55 Roman Villas

No. 1. — Bibury Villa

In the year 1880 a Roman villa was accidentally discovered in the parish of Bibury, about six miles north-east of Cirencester. Some Roman pottery, coins, remnants of tesselated pavements, &c., were found, but as no examination has yet taken place, no description of the building can be given.

No. 2. — Bisley Villa

This is in a field called the Church Piece, near "Lillyhorn," in the parish of Bisley, about four miles east of Stroud. It was discovered by Mr. T. Baker in 1845, and consists of 29 rooms, occupying a space of 318 feet by 274 feet. Some of the rooms had tesselated pavements. The bricks used in the building were from 7 to 10 inches square and 1 inch thick, greater part of them being marked in Roman capitals T P F A. In this villa were found fragments of red and coloured pottery, ornamented with a variety of figures; portions of glass; many implements of brass, such as tweezers; two knives, part of an adze, and a quantity of bones; also a round earthern pot, containing a globular mass of metal. This mass was found to consist of 1,223 Roman coins. Some of them were preserved in the state of cohesion in which they were found, and the whole form nearly a complete series, in the best preservation, from the reign of Valerian, who obtained possession of the Empire A.D. 254, to Diocletian, who abdicated A.D. 305. No less than 629 of the coins belonged to Tetricus. They are now in the possession of Mr. Charles Driver, of Lillyhorn.

See "Journal Archae. Assoc.," vol. I, p44.

Also "Archaeological Journal," vol. II, p42.

Also "Journal Archae. Assoc.," vol. II, p324.

Also "Transactions Bristol and Glou. Archae. Soc.," 1880‑81, p14.

p56 No. 3. — Bourton Villa

This is situated close to the river Windrush, in the parish of Bourton-on‑the‑Water, and half a mile west of the village. The Fosse Way runs close by the site of the villa. Great numbers of roofing slates, similar in shape and material to those fortified at Chedworth, have been found at different times. Foundations, which were from five to six feet high, have been discovered, though no systematic excavation has yet been carried out. The relics found here are such as would only be found in the higher class of Roman villas — rings, in bronze and gilt; pins, in ivory, bronze, and gilt; small fragments of highly ornamented glass, with large quantities of pottery. Portions of upwards of fifty Samian vessels were discovered by Mr. J. Moore. The Roman coins were principally of the Constantine period, but there was a continuous chain of coinage, extending from the time of Aurelius Verus to that of Constans, so that the probability is that the building was inhabited for a period of 200 years. In excavating a portion of this villa in June, 1881, on the occasion of a visit of the Cotteswold Field Club, I discovered upwards of 100 coins, principally of Valens, Valentinian, Constantine, Gratian, &c., but some belonging to Licinius, Probus, Crispus, Tetricus, and Salonina; also a large quantity of pottery, some glass, a "discus," a small iron lamp of curious construction, nails, locks, &c., and the base of a column, 9 inches in diameter and 18 inches high.

No. 4. — Brown's Hill Villa

In the grounds of the house at Brown's Hill, one mile north of Stroud, were found several portions of Roman tesselated pavement, Roman tiles, coins, pottery, &c. These were discovered in the year 1797, and give certain evidence of the existence of a Roman villa.

See "Roman Antiquities at Woodchester," by S. Lysons, p19.

p57 No. 5. — Chedworth Villa

This celebrated Roman villa is situated in the parish of Chedworth, about sixteen miles from Gloucester, seven from Cirencester, and three miles west of Fosse Bridge. It was discovered in 1866 by Mr. J. Farrer, and the excavations were carried out by the Earl of Eldon, on whose property the villa stands. He has also erected a museum for the safe custody of all objects of interest found, and buildings to protect the tesselated pavements, which are left in situ. The villa occupies three sides of a square; the principal buildings face nearly due east, and include an elaborate and complete Roman bath. There were upwards of forty rooms and passages, and these were approached from corridors running the entire length of the villa. Several of the rooms still retain their tesselated pavements. The principal one is 29 feet by 19 feet wide, and this space, judging from the arrangement of the pavements, was in all probability divided into two parts by a screen or curtain. The pavements display a high degree of artistic skill, especially in the borders. The larger room has a pictorial illustration representing a dance, which appears to be emblematical of the Seasons, from the figures in the corners; one of which, indicative of winter, has a man warmly clothed, holding a hare or rabbit in his hand. The Roman bath is one of the most perfect to be found in England, having its sweating and cooling chambers, rooms for hot and cold baths, &c. The stone steps in the doorway leading out of the hot room has been much worn by the feet of the Romans some 1400 years ago.

Some large masses of pig iron were found in a compartment which is supposed to have been a blacksmith's shop. One other compartment calls for attention, containing as it does a very perfect collection of pilae, all of which are standing exactly as found. To allude to the various objects found, such as pottery, implements of iron, bronze, silver, lead, bones, horseshoes, glass, shellfish, &c., would occupy too much space; but I would particularly draw attention to a very perfect pair p58of compasses in the museum, 6½ inches long, the legs and rivet of which are most elaborately ornamented. Our mathematical instruments of the present day show little or no improvement on this.

See "Notes on the Roman Villa at Chedworth," 1873.

Also "Proceedings Cott. Nat. Field Club," vol. IV, p201.

Also "Proceedings Cott. Nat. Field Club," vol. IV, p233.

No. 6. — Cherington Villa

This is in a field called Hailston, in the parish of Cherington, three miles from Rodmarton, and seven miles south-west of Cirencester. In 1795 Mr. Lysons found a Roman building here, consisting of seven divisions, covering a space of 82 feet by 54 feet. The walls were about two feet high. A great number of Roman coins were found, but no tesselated pavements or flues. It is therefore probable, Mr. Lysons says, that the building was used either for the purposes of agriculture or manufacture.

See "Archaeologia," vol. XVIII, p117.

No. 7. — Combend Villa

In 1779, some labourers digging for stone in a field called "Stockwoods," at Combend, in the parish of Colesbourne, six miles south-west of Cirencester, discovered the remains of a considerable Roman villa. The floor of one room, 56 feet by 14 feet, was preserved entire, the walls remaining in many places three feet high. Above the pavement were found many of the slates with which the roof had been covered. On the south side of the above was a small coppice. This was grubbed up in 1787 for the purpose of digging stone for building, which seemed to lie very near the surface. The men employed soon found that this appearance arose from the ruins of a very large building, and, finding stone ready to their hand, they immediately pulled down all that remained of the walls, and piled up the material in heaps to the amount of at least 200 cart-loads. It appears there were six rooms parallel p59to each other, about twelve feet square. On the west side were two rooms of much larger dimensions, and at the opposite end was a hypocaust, evident from the large quantity of square bricks, fragments of flues, &c. Near these were found two columns broken in the middle, still to be seen in the cottage garden. The walls were four feet high, and stuccoed on the inside. Two of the rooms had tesselated pavements, on one of which were many figures of birds and fishes. In the corner of one room was a human skeleton. Many fragments of glass were found among the ruins, which had evidently been used in the windows. It is probable that glass was used by the Romans at a very early period for this purpose, large quantities having been found at Pompeii. Other buildings were found by Mr. Lysons in 1794, consisting of a room 38 feet by 15 feet, pottery, iron hatchets, several Roman coins of Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian. Another room was 20 feet long and 13 feet wide, with tesselated pavement in one corner. There were two other rooms, one with a tesselated pavement nearly entire, ornamented with circles and a double fret border, and the passage, which was five feet wide, had a mosaic pavement with a chequered centre of blue and white, bordered with stripes of brown.

See "Archaeologia," vol. IX, p319.

Also "Archaeologia," vol. XVIII, p112.

Also King's "Munimenta Antiqua," vol. II, p179.

Also Bigland's "History of Gloucestershire," vol. I, p409.

No. 8. — Cromhall Villa

This lies in the parish of Cromhall, two miles from Tortworth Court. It was examined by the Earl of Ducie in 1855. The foundations of several rooms and passages were discovered, a tesselated pavement 18 feet long and 15 feet wide, also a hypocaust. Several Roman coins, portions of pottery, &c., were also found.

See "Archaeological Journal," vol. XVII, p332.

Also Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p397.

p60 No. 9. — Corinium

The villas of this well known Roman town have been so fully described by others, that it seems out of place to enter into details here. In that valuable work, "Remains of Roman Art in Cirencester, the Site of Corinium," by Buckman and Newmarch, a description will be found of the architecture, tesselated pavements, hypocausts, and frescoes; also an accurate description of the villa in Dyer Street, and the various kinds of pottery, coins, implements, and ornaments discovered at different times. Then, in the "Guide to the Corinium Museum," by A. H. Church, an interesting account will be found of the numerous tesselated pavements and other remains of the Roman occupation, including the villa at the Barton, in Oakley Park. Many other works give admirable descriptions of Corinium, so that it seems only necessary to refer the reader to the following.

See "Remains of Roman Art in Corinium," by Buckman.

Also Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p343.

Also "Archaeological Journal," vol. VI, p321.

Also "Archaeologia," vol. XVIII, p112.

Also "Guide of the Corinium Museum," by Church.

No. 10. — Dryhill Villa

This is situated half-a‑mile north of Crickley Hill Camp, and three and a half miles south of Cheltenham. It was opened by Mr. W. H. Gomonde and Captain Bell about the year 1849. It consists of twelve rooms, and forms a great contrast to the Witcomb Villa three miles off. There are no tesselated pavements here, or any of the remnants of a rich man's dwelling. It was probably a villa rustica. The interior of the bath was lined with stucco several inches thick, of a reddish colour. The bath communicated with the hypocaust by means of a passage, with a solid floor laid with sandstone. The largest room measured 27 feet by 16 feet 8 inches. One portion of a brick was found with P R C stamped on it. p61Underneath the floor of this room were large flues, arched over, dividing the chamber at right angles. The inside of the flues were full of charred wood and coal. A crypto porticus ran along the south-east side of the villa, and the wall between this and the north chamber was 120 feet in length, the breadth of the porticus being 6 feet 6 inches. One of the rooms, 20 feet by 16 feet, had been stuccoed and painted. The colours were green, blue, and various shades of red. Coins of Tetricus, Licinius, Crispus, Constantine, Valentinian, Valens, &c., were found; also black, red, and white pottery, the handle of a glass bottle, a stylus of iron, knives, bronze fibulae, perforated pieces of Kimmeridge coal, &c. I found large quantities of Roman pottery here in 1879, including sham Samian. No real Samian has been found.

See "Notes on Cheltenham, Ancient and Mediaeval," by W. H. Gomonde, 1849.

Also "Transactions Bristol and Glou. Archae. Soc.," 1879‑80, p208.

No. 11. — Daglingworth Villa

About the year 1690 the foundations of a Roman villa were discovered in the parish of Daglingworth, close to the Ermine Street, two and a half miles north-west of Cirencester. It was situated in a field called "Cave Close." I am not aware of any description of this, and am unable to give any details as to dimensions, or as to what articles of antiquity were found.

See Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p400.

Also Atkyn's "History of Gloucestershire," p198.

Also "Roman Antiquities at Woodchester," by S. Lysons, p19.

No. 12. — Dodington Villa

Many Roman antiquities have been found in the parish of Dodington, two and a half miles south-east of Chipping Sodbury, including remains of a Roman villa. It lies within two miles of the very perfect Roman camp at Sodbury. In an old description of Dodington I find the following:— "Pottes exceeding finely nelyd and florished in the Romanes tymes p62diggid out of the growndes in the feldes of Dodington, also a yerthen pot with Romayne coins."

See Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p421.

Also Leland's "Itinerary," vol. VI, fol. 75.

Also "Camden's Britannia," by Gough, p276.

No. 13. — Glevum

The remarks made under the head of Corinium seem to apply to Glevum. It would be out of place to attempt a detailed description of the various Roman remains found at Gloucester. The object of this work is rather to call attention to those objects of antiquarian interest scattered far and wide throughout our county, and very little known to the majority of readers, than to dwell on the oft-told narrative of Roman remains in Corinium and Glevum.

See all the Histories of Gloucestershire.

Also "Proceedings Cott. Nat. Field Club," vol. VI, p154.

Also "Archaeologia," vol. X, p132.

Also "The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon," p161.

Also "Gentleman's Magazine," vol. XL, p40.

Also "Gentleman's Magazine," vol. XLIII, p248.

Also "Transactions Bristol and Glou. Archae. Soc.," 1876, p153.

Also "Transactions Bristol and Glou. Archae. Soc.," 1877‑78, p210.

Also "Crania Britannica," vol. II.

No. 14. — Haresfield Villa

This lies in the parish of Haresfield, in the hamlet of Stockend, five miles south of Gloucester. It is on the north-east side of Brodbro' Green, on a farm known as Brook's Farm, not far from the well known camp on Haresfield Beacon. It is situated by the side of Daniel's Brook, at a spot known as "Rudge Dowler," the existing boundary fence being the actual wall of the Roman villa. Large numbers of tesserae have been found here, also two columns, which the tenant farmer converted into garden rollers. Mr. Niblett, in sending me a description of the villa, says:— "I myself dug in a place or two and found broken roof-tiles, flue-tiles, pottery, and coloured p63plaster; also one solitary silver coin of Theodosius. For twelve years or so tons of stone had been carted away from the villa to mend the parish roads. Old Robert Davis said there was 'nout but a lot o' rubble, and it grew nothing but ettles, so he thought he would try and make a ground on it.' "

No. 15. — Kingscote Villa

In the year 1691 the remains of a Roman villa were found in a field called the "Chestles," in the parish of Kingscote, four miles south-east of Dursley. A great number of Roman coins were discovered, also a large statue of stone and an ancient fibula vestiaria of brass, curiously chequered with red and blue enamel. The building itself contained at least one tesselated pavement.

See Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p512.

Also "Roman Antiquities at Woodchester," by S. Lysons,º p19.

No. 16. — Lydney Villa

This fine Roman building occupied a commanding position in Lydney Park, one mile west of the town. It was first investigated in the year 1805, by Hon. C. Bathurst. It would appear from the extent of the buildings, and the painted stuccoes, that it was the residence of an officer of high rank. The coins found here extend from Augustus to Arcadius, and this seems to point to the conclusion that the building was occupied during the whole period of the Roman dominion in Britain. The buildings, which stand within the large camp described under the head of "Ancient Camps," extended in a direction north and south, measuring in this direction 300 feet, and from east to west 315 feet. The rooms in general were small, the largest being 24 feet by 18 feet. They number no less than sixty-four, including passages; this includes both the villa and the temple. The latter, which stands in a courtyard south-west of the villa, measures 93 feet by 76 feet. It is believed to have been a temple from three inscriptions found p64in it, two of which were on bronze plates and the third on lead. These were evidently votive tablets; on each tablet the name of the god is spelt differently, first — Nodons; second, Nodens; third, Nudens. A large number of articles of bronze, iron, and bone were found; also several bracelets, knives, lamps, and a considerable quantity of Roman pottery. Over 700 coins found here are described in detail in Mr. Bathurst's work referred to below.

See "Roman Antiquities at Lydney Park," by Rev. W. H. Bathurst.

Also "Archaeologia," vol. V, p208.

Also "Antiquarian Repertory," vol. I, p134.

Also "Antiquarian Repertory," vol. II, p389.

Also "Proceedings Society of Antiq.," 2d series, vol. V, p96.

Also Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p525.

No. 17. — Painswick Villa

Remains of a Roman villa have been found in the parish of Painswick, on a farm called Highfield, about half a mile north-west of the town. Walls were found, crossing one another at right angles; also many flue tiles, and some Roman coins. It was opened some years ago in a rough and hurried way, and covered up again. A short account of it appeared in the public press at the time.

No. 18. — Rodmarton Villa

This lies in the parish of Rodmarton, six miles south-west of Cirencester, in a field called "Hockbury," a quarter of a mile north-east of the Church. It was first noticed in the year 1636, when the following entry appears in the parish register:— "Hoc anno in agris in loco Hocbery vocato dum sulcos aratro ducunt, discooperta sunt tesselata pavimenta, tegulae quibus ferrei clavi infixi, subrutae, nummi quoque aenei Antonini et Valentiniani Imp: Incolae mihi dixerunt, se aeneos et argenteos nummos saepius ibidem reperiisse, nescientes quid rei essent: a patribus autem audivisse, Rodmarton ab illo loco translatam olim ubi nunc est positam esse, apparet autem p65stationem aliquam Romanorum ibidem aliquando fuisse." There is still a local tradition that the Church of Rodmarton was removed from Hockbury to its present site by the devil. In the year 1800 Mr. Lysons discovered a Roman villa consisting of thirteen rooms and passages. It was of small size, the space occupied by it being 86 feet by 41 feet. Three of the rooms had tesselated pavements; there was also a hypocaust. The foundation walls were of local stone, but a large number of bricks were used. Several of these were stamped with four letters, viz., T P F C, T P F A, T P F P.

See "Archaeologia," vol. XVIII, p113.

Also Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p631.

No. 19. — Stinchcombe Villa

This is to be found in the parish of Stinchcombe, in the hamlet of Stancombe, about one mile west of Dursley. It lies on a bank opposite the late Mr. Purnell's house. Fragments of the tesselated pavement found in the villa are in the Museum at Gloucester; also hair-pins and other trinkets, thoughtfully and kindly given to the establishment by Miss Purnell. In a letter from our learned antiquary, Mr. Niblett, he says:— "I distinctly remember the pitched road leading to this villa being very perfect, with two arms in the form of the letter Y."

No. 20. — Swell Villa

This occupies high ground in the parish of Lower Swell, half a mile west of Stow-on‑the‑Wold. It was much disturbed about twenty years ago, when the tenant farmer built some sheds from the foundation walls of the villa and levelled up his farmyard with broken Roman pottery! An eye-witness who was present on the occasion narrates the following fact:— "There were tremendous, extraordinary foundations of great stones, several feet down, all in clay." Some of the rooms can still be traced. The crypto porticus is 8 feet wide, and then come three rooms — the first 45 feet by 12 feet, the second 33 feet by 12 feet, and the third 28 feet by 12 feet. p66The old road, "Via Regia," runs in front of this villa, and immediately on the other side of the old road are the remains of a large room, 50 feet long. There is a good spring of water close to the villa, and at a little distance is an ancient kiln, which was found to be full of red ashes. A large brown jug of Roman pottery was found here, also flue-tiles, Roman coins, cockle shells, large quantities of burnt stone, &c. I had an opportunity of examining the foundations of the villa in December, 1881, when some further excavations were made for the purpose of finding tesselated pavements, but without success, pottery and coins being the only relics discovered.

No. 21. — Wadfield Villa

This was discovered in 1863 on the Sudeley estate, about one and a half miles out of Winchcombe. It has been figured and described by Mrs. Dent in her valuable work, "Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley." It consisted of about fourteen rooms and passages, and when found was in a perfect state of preservation. The dimensions of the rooms were about fifteen feet square, the hypocaust being situated at the south side of the villa. A beautiful tesselated pavement was discovered, and this is now carefully preserved in a greenhouse in the garden of Sudeley Castle. Among other articles found were some Roman rings, beads, a glass pendant, bronze fibula,º portion of a statue, &c.; also several coins and portions of pottery.

See "Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley," p13.

No. 22. — Witcomb Villa

This was discovered in 1818 in a field called Sarendells, in the parish of Great Witcomb, five miles south-east of Gloucester. It is a building of great extent, thirty-four rooms and passages having been explored. It lies on sloping ground facing the south-east, near Cooper's Hill, well sheltered by the beech woods, and having a good supply of pure water (now forming part of the water supply of Gloucester). Many Roman p67coins, from the time of Constantine to that of Valentinian and Valens, have been found; and a great variety of articles, including a small steelyard (statera) with its weight attached; an ivory comb; a stone mortar six inches in diameter; and a ploughshare of iron weighing seven pounds, now in the British Museum; many fibulae, buckles, and pins; and a British flint axe, five and a half inches long and two and a half inches broad. A passage six feet wide was discovered, leading by a descent of several steps to one of the main rooms. The walls of this were plastered and painted in panels, formed by stripes of light blue and orange colours on a white ground, having elegant ornaments of ivy leaves, &c., between them. In this passage were found Roman coins, many bones of animals, several skulls of bullocks, goats, &c., with fragments of stag's horn, and an iron axe. The set of Roman baths are very complete. Outside the sacrarium, a room appointed to sacred uses, was found the figure of a lyre cut in stone. The tesselated pavements are most interesting; that in one of the baths consists of nine octagonal departments, five of which enclosed circles, and in the centre of the pavement is the figure of an urn with ivy leaves. Another bath has a mosaic pavement, ornamented with figures of fish and sea monsters in blue on a white ground, enclosed within a border formed by a double fret. The Ermine Street, running between Gloucester and Cirencester, passes within three-quarters of a mile of the villa, and another Roman road, called the Sarn Way, is close at hand.

See "Archaeologia," vol. XIX, p178.

Also "Transactions Bristol and Glou. Archae. Soc.," 1879‑80, p34.

Also "Proceedings Cott. Nat. Field Club," vol. V, p247.

No. 23. — Withington Villa

This lies half a mile south of the village of Withington, six miles from Cheltenham. It was discovered in 1811 by Mr. H. C. Brooke. The remains lie 150 yards from the river Colne, and consist of fifteen rooms and passages. Eight of p68these had tesselated pavements. One is of great size, measuring 35 feet by 20 feet, and is a very fine specimen of mosaic work, Orpheus being in the centre surrounded by various animals. The villa, like many others in the neighbourhood, appears to have been consumed by fire, as the remains of burnt timber and melted lead were found in several places. Several portions of the pavements are now in the British Museum, a very fine one containing the head of Neptune. The part of the field in which the villa was found is called the Old Town, or Withington-upon‑Wall Well, from a fine spring so named which rises near it. The walls of the building were mostly 1 foot 8 inches thick, of different heights up to four feet. They were all built of local stone, plastered on the inside, and painted with stripes of different colours. The eastern part of the building contained the hypocaust, the dimensions of which were 27 feet 6 inches by 19 feet.

See "Archaeologia," vol. XVIII, p18.

No. 24. — Woodchester Villa

This celebrated Roman villa is situated in a charming valley about two miles south-west of Stroud, and the same distance north-west of Nailsworth. It consists of no less than sixty-four rooms, thirty-seven of which are ranged round a courtyard or quadrangle which measures 92 feet by 93 feet. It was examined by the great antiquary, Mr. Samuel Lysons, in the year 1793. The largest pavement formed a square of 48 feet 10 inches, and is superior to any other tesselated pavement found in Great Britain. The general design of it is a circular area 25 feet in diameter, enclosed in a square frame consisting of twenty-four compartments. The large circular compartment is surrounded by a border consisting of a Vitrurianº scroll edged on each side by a guilloche, and enriched with foliage proceeding from a mask of Pan having a beard of leaves; immediately within the border are representations of various beasts, originally twelve in number, on a white ground, including a gryphon, a bear, a leopard, a stag, a tigress, a lion, a p69lioness, a boar, a dog, and an elephant. Most of these figures are about four feet in length. Within this circle is a smaller one, with various birds on a white ground, also a fox. Within the circle of birds is an octagonal compartment, in the west side of which are openings to admit the principal figure of the design. It represents Orpheus playing on the lyre, which he rests on his left knee. In the four angular spaces between the border of the pavement and the great circular compartment are the remains of female figures, two of which appear to have been in each of those spaces. This pavement had several flues running underneath it, which crossed each other at right angles. These are 4 feet high, and 1 foot 11 inches wide at the bottom. The remains of tesselated pavements were found in ten other compartments. The villa included in its arrangements a hypocaust, a laconicum or sweating room, a praefurnium, and a crypto porticus which was 114 feet long. Among the articles found here may be mentioned the following:— Fragments of stucco, painted in fresco; fragments of foreign marble; fragments of statuary, pottery, and glass; portions of a white marble group of Cupid and Psyche; portions of stag's horn; several human bones; coins of Hadrian, Lucella, Tetricus, Victorinus, Probus, Constantinus, Constantius, Crispus, Valentinus,º and Valens; a stone weight, weighing thirteen and a half pounds; a circular trough of stone three feet in diameter; knives, daggers, hatchet of brass, spurs of iron, fibulae, pins, &c.

See "Roman Antiquities Discovered at Woodchester," by Lysons.

Also Atkyn's "History of Gloucestershire."

Also King's "Munimenta Antiqua," vol. II, p185.

Also Rudder's "History of Gloucestershire," p841.

Also "Camden's Britannia," by Gough, p275.

Thayer's Note: For another description and a very detailed plan, see this section of Chapter VI of John Ward's Romano-British Buildings and Earthworks; this section of Chapter IV of The Roman Era in Britain by the same author; a very full description with several photographs, as well as excerpts of Lysons' book including excellent illustrations of the great mosaic, were once online but with the continued shrinkage of the Web have vanished.

No. 25. — Wycomb

This is in the parish of Whittington, close to Andoversford, and five miles from Cheltenham. It was in all probability the site of a British village, and afterwards of an important p70Roman military station, combined with residential houses and villas. The area of Wycomb as far as examined is 25 acres, and over the whole of this foundations have been discovered. Roman coins have been found in very large quantities. The track of a road was distinctly visible on the north-east side, and at the end of this road were two masses of buildings, intersected by a wall of cut masonry 145 feet long, running at right angles to the road. A room on the north side of the wall measured 45 feet 6 inches by 22 feet, with other walls and pavements adjoining it. The floors were mostly of stone, laid in cement and ground concrete. Pottery has been found in immense quantities, including good specimens of plain and figured Samian. Several good fibulae, styli, sacrificial and other knives, keys, articles of toilet, and a beautiful bronze statuette three inches in height, were also found. All these objects of interest were kindly lent by Mrs. Lawrence, of Sevenhampton, for exhibition at the temporary museum formed in Cheltenham on the occasion of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society's meeting on January 19th, 1881. No position could have been better suited for the concentration of troops than Wycomb. It lies in a fertile and sheltered valley, adjoining an abundant supply of pure water, and close to the roads leading to the strongly fortified camps on the hill tops in every direction.

See "Gentleman's Magazine," November, 1863, p627.

Also "Gentleman's Magazine," January, 1864, p86.

Also "Transactions Bristol and Glou. Archae. Soc.," 1879‑80, p209.

No. 26. — Spoonly Villa

In March, 1882, a fine Roman villa was accidentally discovered in Spoonly Wood, on the Sudeley Castle Estate, three miles from Winchcombe. A workman who was employed in making a road, on moving a large stone, found a tesselated pavement within a few inches of the surface; this proved to be a floor raised on pilae, and approached from the lower level p71by a flight of five steps. At the time of writing, eighteen rooms and passages have been explored, but these do not comprise half the total number. Traces of the walls can be seen covering an area of 200 feet by 140 feet. Six tesselated pavements have already been found, some of them of great beauty. A large amount of pottery, mostly broken, numbers of roofing tiles, floor tiles, stone columns, a few Roman coins, and various other articles — including spoons — have been found. In a room near the south-east corner is a Roman well, about thirteen feet deep and two feet nine inches in diameter; this was filled up with earth, but shortly after it was cleared out a good supply of water flowed in. In the same room are two stones, two feet nine inches high, standing on end, the distance between them being two feet four inches, and near these stones were found the remnants of two querns for grinding purposes. Outside this room, in the corridor, which has a tesselated pavement, stand a basement of flat stones measuring seven feet by six feet; these stones stand upon the tesselated pavement. Until this most interesting Roman Villa is further explored it is impossible to enter into greater detail. Fortunately, it has fallen into good hands. Under the care of Mr. and Mrs. Dent we may hope to see a Roman Villa preserved as it ought to be.

Thayer's Note: For a clearer and fuller description, as well as two very detailed plans, see this section of Chapter IV of John Ward's The Roman Era in Britain.

end of villas


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