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Roman Villas in the Upper Thames Valley
in the  Upper Thames Valley

Frilford Winged Corridor Roman Villa & its Owner -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • Most of the Romano-British people in the Thames Valley lived in simple farms or villages with single-roomed wooden round houses, like they did in the Iron Age.
  • The Romans built posh rectangular farmhouses out of stone (or at least partly of stone). They called them 'villas'. They had lots of rooms.
  • There are lots of different types of villa. The most common were:
    • Cottage Villas, which were simple rectangles. You went through each room to get to the next. Like at Alfred's Castle in Ashbury.
    • Corridor Villas, which had a covered walkway along one side. You could use this to get to all the rooms. Like at Barton Court Farm in Abingdon.
    • Winged Corridor Villas, which were like Corridor Villas but with two 'wings' of rooms sticking out on each end. Like at Cox Green near Maidenhead.
    • Aisled Villas, which were like big barns, sometimes split into rooms inside. Like at Knowl Hill.
    • Courtyard Villas, which had rooms on three or four sides of a courtyard. These could be very large.
  • Only the first four types have been found in Berkshire. These weren't as posh as the courtyard villas found in the counties next door, particularly in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
  • Some people think that the villas in the Thames Valley  were owned by the Roman government. So the farmers had to pay lots of taxes and couldn't afford to build big courtyards.
  • Berkshire villas still had lots of expensive Roman luxuries though:
    • Underfloor heating systems (called hypocausts) to keep you warm. These were often under the dining room called a 'triclinium'.
    • Window glass
    • Bath houses for keeping you clean. They were like modern steam rooms.
    • Cellars, probably used for cold storage.
    • Mosaics were pretty patterns or pictures on the floor made out of tiny coloured stones.
    • Wall plaster painted with colours (especially red), patterns or pictures.
    • Doors with locks.
  • Were there any Roman villas near you?


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