WHITTON LODGE ROMAN VILLA
Map Reference ST07SE
Grid Reference ST08127131
Unitary (Local) Authority The Vale of Glamorgan
Old County Glamorgan
Type of Site VILLA
Broad Class Civil
Site Description Whitton Lodge is the site of a later Prehistoric settlement enclosure that developed into a Roman villa. There are no visible remains, but extensive cropmarks are visible from the air and the site was the subject of comprehensive excavations between 1956 and 1970.
The settlement consisted of a sub-rectangular ditched and banked enclosure, about 65m square, with an east facing entrance. It is thought to have been occupied from about 50 BC to the 4th century AD, at the close of the Roman period. Throughout its lifetime the settlement was characterised by changing modular layouts made up of from three to five buildings. Initially these were roundhouses, but later examples were Roman style stone buildings of some pretension. All were generally shortlived and as many as ten separate phases can be identified with individual buildings rarely lasting through more than two phases.
Examination of the aerial coverage for 1996 shows that there were perhaps two concentric outer ditches to the main enclosure, extending approximately 25 to 30m from its ditch. A further ditched circuit passed close by on the east and enclosed an outer court some 50m deep on the south. A paved roadway, about 4m wide, led from the main enclosure entrance and ran east for at least 80m. Where it crosses the outer ditches parchmarks indicate that there was a series of stone features, possibly bases for monuments of some kind.
The roadway aligns with, and passes between, a pair of rectangular ditched enclosures approximately 160m to the east of the main enclosure (NPRN 309451). It seems likely that these enclosures were involved in an extensive and complex villa landscape.
Sources: RCAHMW Glamorgan Inventory I.2 Iron Age & Roman (1976), 114-5
Jarrett & Wrathmel 'Whitton, an Iron Age & Roman Farmstead' (1981)
John Wiles, RCAHMW, 22 February 2008.
The site was discovered by H J Thomas in 1956 and consists of a rectangular area about 65 m by 60 m. Excavations were initiated by Mr Thomas in 1956-7 and revealed the existence of stone buildings grouped round a courtyard enclosed by a clay bank with external ditch. The site provides clear evidence of the transition from iron-age farm to Roman villa.
In the south east and south west angles of the yard were two houses, about 8 m square with rounded corners, neither was built before the 1st century A.D. From the early 2nd century, the farmstead was transformed into ranges of rectangular stone buildings around a central courtyard. Though disposed around the central courtyard, the stone buildings form separate units and do not present a normal villa plan. Remains of hypocausts were found but these were apparently never fired. Some walls were plastered and painted and although the buildings were not elaborate, they were substantial. Near the south east corner of the yard was a rock cut well 7.4 m deep; it was probably pre-Roman in origin, though it remained in use until the 4th century A.D.
Finds dated 1st to 4th centuries included pottery, bronze brooches and a bronze steelyard with notches for positioning weights. Two small moulded tablets of baked clay were also found, both stamped from the same die with the letters BOV.
RCAHMW., 1976. An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan, Volume I: Pre-Norman, Part II, The Iron Age and Roman Occupation. Cardiff: HMSO.
Lorna Leadbetter-Jones 2013