The Roman villa at Ford Farm, Langstone, occupies a small (2.0ha) island of dry ground in a marshy area now in the shadow of the M4 motorway. The site was discovered by detectorists who uncovered a mosaic using a mechanical digger. It has since been scheduled as a protected ancient monument.
The main villa building appears to be a single range, about 12m by at least 38m and aligned rather south-west of east-west. On the east side were two rectangular enclosures on a rather different alignment, together some 60m east-west by 35m. There are indications of further structures to the north of the main buildings. The recorded finds were dated to the third-fourth century AD.
The villa would have been a magnificent establishment, the property of a local aristocrat, fitted for the reception of important guests, including provincial dignitaries and imperial officials. There would have been sumptuous dining and bathing facilities and the villa would have been surrounded by ornamental gardens and orchards. It may be assumed that the marshes were pastureland then as now.
Source: Williams 'Ford Farm Roman Villa: Geophysical & Topographical Survey' (2005) - unpublished report (copy in NMR)
John Wiles 20.02.08